high school students in classroom listen to a lecture on an overhead screen
Students in Kyoto Otani's Global Class listen to a lecture from UC Davis Instructor Frank Dutton

An Immersive English-Language Program for Japanese High School Students

International Programs at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education has established the first partnership of its kind with Kyoto Otani High School in Japan to launch UC Davis English as part of its year-around curriculum to help its students with academic English and academic skills.

A Distinct Curriculum

As part of a new course at Kyoto Otani High School entitled Global Class, 10th and 11th grade students have the opportunity to learn English from UC Davis instructors throughout the academic year in Japan and participate in a four-week custom program on the UC Davis campus at the end of the academic year.

“This is an exciting partnership for us,” said Hitoshi Iiyama, principal of Kyoto Otani High School. “The benefit of having UC Davis instructors design the English-language curriculum along with the opportunity for our students to travel to UC Davis annually where they can put their learning to use and immerse themselves in U.S. academic culture is invaluable.”

A distinct component of this partnership is the curriculum. Designed by academic leaders at UC Davis International Programs, the curriculum of UC Davis English is an integrative approach that utilizes technology in the classroom to focus on four main skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Unlike most English-language education in Japan, which relies on the conventional “Grammar-Translation Method” and includes only a few hours per week with native English instructors, UC Davis English applies a highly communicative method and is taught entirely by UC Davis instructors who live in Japan throughout the academic year.

high school students in classroom

Promoting Cross-Cultural Understanding through Education

“The Kyoto Otani program is a wonderful opportunity for UC Davis instructors and their Japanese peers to collaborate and create—with student input—the best courses possible for the Global Class,” said Frank Dutton, current UC Davis instructor teaching in Kyoto Otani’s Global Class. “In doing so, the UC Davis and Japanese instructors, in a true cultural exchange, learn different pedagogical approaches and help the students become better prepared for a globalized world that demands strong English proficiency.”

Now in its second year, the program has 31 students participating. All students enrolled in Global Class will travel to UC Davis annually, in both 10th and 11th grade, for separate four-week custom programs to further their English-language skills and experience academic life at a top-rated American research university.  As a Buddhist School, this special arrangement aligns well with Kyoto Otani High School’s mission of human education with respect to cross-cultural understanding and a global mindset.   

What Student's are Saying

Feedback received from Global Class students has been positive, citing improvements in their English comprehension and their English speaking and reading skills. “I can now understand English better than before I entered high school. I especially feel that my reading skill has improved,” said one participant. Students also enjoy the unique opportunity to interact with UC Davis instructors. “Our instructors are so friendly and kind that I enjoy studying English more than before,” said one participant. Another student added, “I was able to experience the joy of communication thanks to the classes in which I was required to speak actively.”

"I enjoy studying English more than before"

Despite having to transition to teaching remotely due to COVID-19, UC Davis instructors have maintained engagement with the Global Class students. As one student commented, “My ability to improvise has improved thanks to the conversations with my teacher. My teacher also provides various activities on Zoom, and I enjoy learning remotely lately.”

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