from: Zheng, Guohe <...@bsu.edu> to: Jie Zheng Charles <...@gmail.com> cc: Dan Zheng <...@gmail.com> date: Nov 3, 2022, 4:44 PM subject: Acceptance Speech
Acceptance Speech of: 2022 IFLTA Distinguished World Language Advocate Award
It is a great honor to receive the 2022 IFLTA Distinguished World Language Advocate Award. The honor came to me as a surprise because I already retired in May from Ball State University, after teaching there for 25 years. I would like to thank Board members of AITJ for nominating a retiree for this honor.
Given the nature of the Advocate Award, today’s ceremony provides an occasion for me to look back at the paths that Japanese Education in Indiana has gone through in the past quarter century.
A few lines from my CV have highlighted the ups and downs of the paths. For example, one line says that “in the 3 years from 1999-2001, my colleague Dr. Tomizawa and I received $233,000.00 from Indiana Department of Education to train Indiana teachers in the development of Japanese culture curriculum in Indiana Schools including funds to take participating teachers and school administrators to Japan.” That project was completed in the summer right before 911. In retrospect, the pre-911 years were a golden age for World Language Education. Grant money seemed to be always available. All you need to do was to submit a proposal.
But 911 changed everything. And 911 was followed by the 2008-2009 recession, by the subsequent budget-cut everywhere. World languages, particularly less-taught languages such as Japanese, were on top of the budge-cut list, even program elimination. Moreover, due to the rise of China around the time, Japanese programs came to face the competition from emerging Chinese programs.
But Japanese programs in Indiana demonstrated great resilience in times of difficulties. This is shown by another line of my CV. In 2013, I co-edited a volume entitled Embracing the new phase in Japanese education in the United States, the Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Central Association of Teachers of Japanese. That volume included stories of how some Japanese programs were phased out in Indiana, or forced to switch to Chinese, but it included more stories of how Japanese programs were retained with increased enrollment coming unexpectedly from students from China, or with petitions by students and parents, out of their love of their engaging and inspiring teachers of Japanese. Another way to cope with the challenge was the launching of dual credit Japanese in Indiana in 2013, which attracted many high school students. I am very proud to have played a role in creating and supervising Indiana Japanese dual credit and in doing so have had the good fortune to know many excellent high school teachers and learned so much from them, particularly their creative application of technology in the classroom.
Covid-19 in the past 3 years proved another major challenge to us all. I am proud to report that there was no interruption of the AITJ-sponsored annual high school student Japanese competition called JOI, Japanese Olympiad of Indiana. In fact, the online JOI generated more enthusiasm and creativity from the students.
As I stand here at the end of my career, I want to tell teachers mid-way in their career, but particularly teachers who have just started their career, that, I am confident that, even though you may have new challenges down the road, the future of Japanese education in Indiana is bright. My confidence comes from my personal journey of the past quarter century. Thank you all.
from: Dan Zheng <...@gmail.com> to: Zheng, Guohe <...@bsu.edu> cc: Jie Zheng Charles <...@gmail.com> date: Nov 3, 2022, 4:58 PM subject: Re: Acceptance Speech
Wow, nicely written! Thanks Dad for sharing this story, it was new to me and interesting. Congratulations again!