Sayoko Maeshima – NY Shukan Seikatsu Article

2014 September 8
by SWIRLsite

Language Education is like a Kaleidoscope                                            March 1, 2014 (Saturday)

“Words are ‘living creatures’, so that’s why we don’t lose interest.”, said Sayoko Maeshima, who starts her day by reading 5 to 6 pages of the newspaper. She scours the newspapers looking for information on current affairs and other cutting edge words for her classes. When Maeshima, who likes cooking, says, “I just give out the recipe, if you buy the ingredients and don’t cook, you can’t eat,” it immediately hits the students. She also encourages, “It’s the same as cooking, you become better with practice.”

In 1984, the same time her sister-in-law came to New York to study abroad, they longed for this city’s energy together. Years later the two of them crossed borders. While working day-to-day as and editor and reporter, she went to ESL classes at a university in New York. She was moved by the entertaining staff and then decided to become a Japanese professor. Without a doubt, Maeshima, who likes work that have to do with words, thought in her upper elementary school years theater lovers in Shuji Terayama’s “Kokoro no Koibito” was her calling.

At the time of the bubble heyday, when the Japanese “fever” was high, Maeshima-san just finished her Japanese teacher training courses and was immediately hired as a Japanese professor.  Her students were mostly businessmen, and she ran around their workplace teaching Japanese. About the time she was freed from the collapse of the super-busy bubble economy, her daughter was born. When Maeshima taught the Japanese language and culture at her daughter’s elementary school, it was very fun. Currently she works as a professor at the language school Hills Learning and serves as a homeroom teacher at Lyceum Kennedy Supplementary School.

The learning objective is to clearly teach Japanese to non-Japanese adults and lead Japanese children raised in America. She thought teaching two groups with different requests would be hard, but she joyfully said, “The angle of words that overlap and differ can be enjoyed like a kaleidoscope. In my mind, I synchronize those two.”

Recently, I’m interested in the word, “bilingual”. What do you even need to be “bilingual”? Maeshima thinks, “How about if a Japanese professor like me shows not an academic but lifestyle indication, then studying will be enjoyable for parents and children.” She faces students of all levels and needs. Born in Osaka.

(Translation by Haley)

(Photography by Kaoru)


(Original Text – Courtesy of New York Shukan Seikatsu)

言語教育は万華鏡のよう                  2014年(平成26年)3月1日(土)









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