America in the Schools (AIS) is designed to promote sensitivity and respect for cultural diversity by educating elementary school students in Japan about the daily life, language and culture of America. Many Japanese people hear about the U.S. through the media and movies that may not always be representative of everyday life. News headlines involving violence and racially-biased crime can create an unappealing image of the U.S. for those with no other context of understanding. As a consequence, children can form very limited and inaccurate views of America that can result in reduced interest in studying in the U.S. when they reach college age. By bringing American life to Japanese students at an early stage in their academic career, a resilient foundation can be cast that will promote awareness as well as encouragement for further English language and American culture studies—the youth are the future of the U.S.-Japan bond on all levels.
AIS is a 45-minute presentation introducing American school life
AIS presents a day in the life of a Japanese-American child using real-life visual and audio aids. Common items used by American children in everyday life are shown in comparison to those used by Japanese children. This elementary school presentation allows the Japanese student to compare his or her experience to an American counterpart. The diversity of the American classroom along with its strength and challenges is a prominent theme in our presentation. Showing diversity as a strength can create a positive impression in Japan where workforce diversity is an essential part of Prime Minister Abe’s economic recovery plan.
This project is made possible by a generous grant from the
AIS-JIS Pen Pal Program
AIS' partner program, Japan in the Schools (JIS), consists of 6 PowerPoint lessons. Three of these lessons make up the Japan In A Suitcase Program, which introduces students in Washington to basic Japanese culture. The remaining three lessons make up the Japanese Language and Culture Visits (JLCV), which are immersion lessons for Japanese-learners in Washington state. In the span of one year, JIS visits over 100 classes and presents one of the 6 PowerPoint lessons. (For more information, visit Japan in the Schools.)
After the AIS lesson, if your students are interested in becoming pen pals with American students, we will match your AIS class with a JIS class.
Please note, however, that JASSW will only assist in matching classes. After being matched, both AIS and JIS teachers must discuss further details independently.
AIS consists of three materials: a PowerPoint slide show, teaching notes, and a student worksheet. All are free to download after registering. Registration is also free. Please make sure your classroom speakers are working properly.
More details can be found here.