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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Seminar connecting to the world through sociolinguistics

Tatsuya Kikuchi
March 2011 Graduate from the School of International Liberal Studies

The seminar's motto is "balanced variety." The smile of students in this group photograph reflects the seminar atmosphere.

This seminar is taught by Professor Masakazu Iino, a specialist in sociolinguistics. The motto of the seminar is "balanced variety." When it's time to play, everyone enjoys themselves to the fullest. However, everyone works seriously during classes and when conducting research for graduate theses. By creating a distinct division between study and leisure, both research and leisure are made more fulfilling. Seminar classes are conducted mainly through reports given by each student on individual research. During each class, several seminar students give a presentation on the progress of their research. In response, the professor offers incisive feedback and advice, and other students also provide a variety of opinions. In each class, passionate debate unfolds following the student presentations. This debate guides individual research to further improvement.

Since there are foreign students from Korea, China and Taiwan, English is often used for communication during seminar classes. Incidentally, graduate theses are written in English. Although the fundamental theme of the seminar is sociolinguistics, a variety of other topics from general society are handled, such as globalism. For example, the topics of 2010 graduate theses ranged widely from "language policy in Australia" and "language problems in nursing care given by foreigners" to "the linguistics of fortune telling" and "discourse analysis of the ideal family as portrayed in Ghibli films." The professor gives detailed guidance on survey methods and composition which matches each individual topic. Many graduates gain employment at global corporations or enter graduate school at overseas universities.

Passionate debate is held during the seminar.

Furthermore, activities in Professor Iino's seminar do not end in the classroom. In January 2011, students took a field trip to Thailand and held exchanges with students at Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University. Exchange was not limited to simply conducting joint classes together. Instead, seminar students spent their leisure time together with Thai students almost every day. As a result, students were able to directly experience the lifestyle of young Thai people in the same generation. For example, students gained an understanding about the way in which Thai people think and current trends in Thailand. Additionally, the Professor Iino's seminar features overnight activities, extracurricular activities to the ocean and mountains, and early morning trips to Tsukiji Fish Market. Such events are an opportunity for seminar students to communicate, plan and actively conduct activities outside of the classroom. I highly recommend Professor Iino's seminar for students who wish to give meaning and enjoyment to the rest of their student life.