The Ability to Collaborate indicated by `rdo

Wakasa High School

Moritoshi Iwamoto


@Each time we participate in this international exchange program, ASEP, and hear the stories from the pioneers of this project, we can realize again how lucky we are to experience this wonderful event. Itfs easy to say that two different schools can produce one presentation in collaboration, but in fact we had some difficulties. However, it is fascinating that we can interact with each other as deeply as we work hard, and we can be moved as much as we interact deeply. While preparing our presentation, we sometimes focus on just the task in front of us. But when this meeting was coming to the end, we could notice the enormity of our partnership. This time we, SanMin-Wakasa team, could win the Platinum Award. Now I will reflect on these elements, inspect the meaning of this collaboration again, and reveal the effect on all participants in this activity.


QDDinner Party with Japanese participants only

@At the beginning of this party, which was held on the first day of our arrival in Kaohsiung city in Taiwan, Mr. Kageto, who is one of the initiators of this project, gave us a speech. He talked about how important it is to collaborate and interact with others in a different society like in Taiwan, and indicate the direction of the ability we Japanese need to master as an international person. Each student sat around various tables and enjoyed talking with students from other areas in Japan. This party was a very valuable experience for the participants that marked the beginning of this international event.


RDPrior interaction using ICT(Information and Communication Technology)

The exchange between our school and San Min high school had started about 1 month or more before we arrived in Taiwan. The communication via mail between the teachers started in the middle of October, the information of the participation pupils was shared, and the schedule was adjusted. And the students started with self introductions using Skype in the middle of November. The fact that in these modern times we can see each other as we communicate helps greatly to develop a very meaningful relationship. It is because the relationship which was originally the exchange of written communication is now enhanced into one with real, visual communication. Contact was made once a week at a time convenient for all involved, and it was conferred on Skype.

It was not possible to communicate only through Skype when the topic was still in discussion with a detailed presentation manuscript to be written. After our first conference via Skype, a mailing list (henceforth ML) with all members including teachers was set up and played a major role. The content was sent to several members with individual mail being sent to all members by ML. Being able to share information saved a lot of time, and led to all members' motivation improving. The content grew fast in a short term though ML with it first starting from an easy self introduction.

Contributing to ML was not something the students were accustomed to, and they were shy at first. Therefore, we started the system where first the student in charge translated into English the content that all members thought about, the teacher checked the English, and the student sent it in order. But sometimes we had no time to check, and there was sometimes some confusion after they sent mails. However, I think that they realized the importance of studying accurate English through that experience so it was good for the students. The conference had been discussed well on Skype by five people in total around one leader of 2nd grade when the teachers did not attend it. It had been understood that other students' varying ideas or opinions easily came out and were accepted as the direction of the presentation was roughly talked about among the leaders and teachers.

Excluding ML, I was also helped by studentsf individual tool, Facebook, to get the information on each homestay etc. The intimacy of a personal connection with such an external tool became one of the biggest elements to getting over the initial conflict before finally cooperation in such collaborating work.


SDThe significance of using ICT

I really feel that only the five days stay in Kaohsiung, Taiwan became enriched and a high-quality experience as a result of using ICT prior to the preparation. Having already had some contact beforehand, experiencing some friction while exchanging opinions with ML, and being guided to get over them while considering other party's opinions made the exchange activity in Taiwan more successful and meaningful. Actually, in spite of communicating with difficulty on ML, San Min students tried to take our opinions into consideration as much as possible, so we felt understood by them. That experience is created by only this kind of activity. Thanks to the guide teacher they could return the opinions with sympathized insistence based on the attitude "Insist while esteeming other party's opinion". Thatfs also why I feel very indebted to Jill who was the advising teacher at San Min HS.




PicR:At San Min HS


TDOn-the-spot Collaboration

(1) Activities on the 1st day

@We practiced the presentation together for, essentially, two and a half days. In the morning of the first day, we started preparing. There were 3 advising teachers, Jill from San Min HS, Monzen and me from Wakasa HS. At first we decided each student's roles, united groups, and then practiced announcements. At that time, our conclusion was not fixed yet. Jill soon started the presentation practice while making students announce the Introduction and Drama 1 teams whose scripts had almost been completed. Seeing it, Monzen assisted with the pronunciation guidance and cared about Wakasa students. I consulted about the method for the unity of each script (Questionnaire Analysis, Drama 2, etc.) with leaders and Jill, and designed or restructured the script to connect them. At that time some lines were changed and some parts were cut. When the script idea was completed, the students were made to demonstrate it all. We couldnft help deciding to cut down some original content after coming to agreement with each other when the time limit of each part went over greatly. It was the Questionnaire Analysis that was cut down easily, so the original 11 questions became five items eventually.

On the afternoon of the day when the flow of our presentation was decided, we finally thought about the conclusion. Students memorized and practiced pronunciation of their parts. The leaders, Jill, and I discussed the conclusion considering each opinion. One of Wakasafs suggestions was not suitable for the content of the presentation and was rejected. And one of San Min suggestions, which had too many items to show, was also rejected as part of the conclusion. And how the three remaining conclusions were connected and presented to the audience was talked about.

I describe in detail that the first suggestion eLetfs become a master of appreciation.f became shortened to eMaster appreciation.f The second suggestion eLetfs make the atmosphere around us good by showing our small consideration.f became shortened to eBegin from small consideration.f And they became the initials of "Make a Better World" they were the last decisive words. "WORLD" of the third suggestion was decided to eLetfs use Words Of Respect Leading to a Decent society.f And then we started casting students and discussing effective ways to express the conclusion. When deciding on them, we checked standing positions, formations, and necessary tools. Since the content of the presentation became almost clear on that day, the students could take the script home and practice their part.


(2) Activities on the 2nd day

Because it was on Sunday, and the schedule started that students would spend the afternoon with their host families, the practice was scheduled only in the morning. It took more than 13 minutes when performing it all. So we unfortunately had to decide to cut down the Questionnaire Analysis again. However, as they could perform within 11 minutes after several tries, students felt relieved in some measure and came to focus more on polite pronunciation, gestures, and the importance of feelings express their ideas to tell the audience than the speaking speed.

On that day, Jill guided the whole presentation, Monzen advised the students on pronunciation, and I assisted in making the PowerPoint (henceforth PPT) as it was the presentation guide. It was natural for us to play each role and perform our tasks efficiently. The students who had already remembered the script made props for the conclusion. However, the rehearsal was repeated over and over and the practice ended at 3:00pm, which overrun the schedule of time 1:00pm greatly. It troubled the host family.

@Jill entertained us, and we went sightseeing in Kaohsiung city in the afternoon. She took us to the top floor of the 85-storied building and the biggest night market in Kaohsiung. We enjoyed the culture and the climate there. We were really grateful for this experience.


(3) Activities on the 3rd day

There was a press conference around noon on the 3rd day, and we rehearsed twice in the real stage in the morning till then. It was revealed that we had more problems in the standing position, the voice clearness, the delivery of the microphones, and the gesture. The video taken at that time was seen by all members after the conference, and we readjusted the standing position and PPT composition. Moreover, we already instructed that the speaking speed should not be rapid to some extent, but another problem turned up. The students had forgotten the lines because of the pronunciation worries. As a priority order, we confirmed that firstly the lines should be firmly remembered, and secondly the pronunciation is cleared. And it was confirmed that the memorization and the time limit were the top priority. At the next stage where we had some room with time, we gave them the significance of how it appealed to the audience. It was designed by a speed adjustment, restating lines of detailed intonation mistakes, and effective gestures etc.

The words have the persuasive power in the words only after a speaker could really comprehend the contents. To lead students to use easy gestures while speaking made students think about the proper gestures that expressed their words clearly. This process I think is a necessary task to help students comprehend their lines deeply. However, it is necessary to tell students that there are some lines which don't need gestures. Thus, the practice on the final day had continued after the teachers had gone to the dinner party, and we heard that it was about 7:00pm when they finish.


(4) On the day of ASEP Meeting

On the meeting day, though several students made a few speaking mistakes on the stage, it was almost the same performance as practices in relation of the required time. Assuming all students stood ahead at the Conclusion part, we made the PPT to display our key words above the center of the screen, and the screen under played the role of the light to shine on the students. Jill, Monzen and I were all pleased with the success without any major mistake.

When it comes to presentation method, the type was different between the high school team and the university team. But I learned a lot because each team had good points. It is natural that the aim of a university presentation is how to analyze the concept deeply to show a concrete proposal, compared with a high-school presentation that comes from the viewpoint of enjoying international exchange. However, each team appreciates each otherfs efforts, high school students feel that university students present in a more socially acceptable style as requested in ASEP, and university students might be able to recall the feelings they had at the start of international exchange by seeing the appearance of high school studentsf happily collaborating. From such a viewpoint, this project will be able to be called an activity that had the connection which resulted in the cooperation between students of the same age in the world and students from different age groups, which means that this activity has enormous potential.


(5) Farewell Party

After ASEP ended, it might be this party that has the strongest impact on students. After the ASEP award ceremony, of which the evaluation is all about, this party was held to show appreciation for new friendships formed and praising each other. The border of the team and the school had already been removed, and there was evidence of ASEP participants uniting as one. It is one of the big reasons why students want to participate in ASEP again. I have only a word of thanks to San Min high school as the host school that accepts everything and exceeds expectations, and all performers and persons concerned. I know San Min teachers and students are behind the scenes in pivotal points of each event. It was their hard work that led to this wonderful meeting being a success. I felt happy to participate in this event and thought seriously that we should do our utmost to repay the hospitality received from people in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan next WYM.


(6) At the airport on the last day

Finally, at the last airport the students were in tears when it was time to go our separate ways. Seeing the students hugging and promising to reunite with each other was impressive no matter how many times I have experienced it. Every time I am surprised at the height of the quality and success of the project, considering that it was for such a short time, only a four-day exchange. It was a moment when I could feel the root of this exchange and assured our minds would be connected next year.

PicS:After ASEP

PicT:Presents from SanMin

PicU:At the airport



Sponsoring ASEP(Asian Student Exchange Program) is the education bureau in Kaohsiung city in Taiwan. WYM(World Youth Meeting) that is the sister program also has received the backup of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. They are the projects in which high government officials are invited. Then, why are they supported by the government in each country?

I occasionally doubt some things while teaching in high school. How much do my English classes for the entrance exam remain in students' minds? I have spent my daily life feeling faintly puzzled at the current state of studying. At the beginning I would talk in English happily and gradually changed into one of the tools for the entrance examination. Today, however, it is impossible to delete the examination guidance in this age. Yet, we mustnft lose this type of project that focuses on English as a tool to connect the world as one, which indicates the direction of the world education in the future. The theme that exists in the core of both these projects is global peace, and international contribution. The phrase like ethere is one earthf is often used in the presentations, and the new age will truly come when the world is united as one. What lessons can we give to these brave youth who will become leaders in the next generation and send them out into the new world? It is the projects that transmit such pure feelings that the people, including the government, in any country try to think about such things.

We left Japan at the end of the year, the busier time in the country, and come back just before the New Year. The collaboration in the home is also important. And the collaboration with San Min high school becomes possible only if we have it. A long time and experience are needed to understand each other even if the collaboration scale is smaller: 9 students in San Min and 5 students in Wakasa this time. And the number of such young people who learned by experience goes up to several thousands in total in the ASEP history. Though it might be a very small number seen from the world, the story will be possible that such small number of people find the means of survival with the power of collaboration skill in a wavy age. I will continue to tell students of the irreplaceable skill and the invaluable experience to be gained by them in the future, which leads me to repay the favor.