Language Resident Name: Miki Saigo

Day and Date: December 3, 2019

Language and Level: Advanced Japanese

Class theme/topics discussed:
Face expressions, gestures and emojis

Goal of the class:

  • Talk about emotions and certain situations to use gestures/emojis
  • Learn cultural differences about gestures and facial expressions

How did you structure the class?

  • Warm-up: Greetings and announcements
    – Cultural events
    – Lunch Table attendances
  • Activity I: Emojis
    I give students Handout of emojis and briefly explain what “emojis” are. In pairs, I ask students to discuss (i) what kind of emotions/meanings the emojis represent, and (ii) in what kind of context people would use the emojis in a message. After a while, I ask the questions to the whole class and discuss together. If needed, I explain cultural backgrounds of some of the emojis. I also ask if there are other emojis that students often use.
  • Activity II: Gestures
    I show a list of words/situations on the screen (“to call,” “thank you,” “when you meet your friends” etc.) and ask students to think of gestures they might use in the situations. Students work in pairs, and when they are done, I ask them to act out each gesture. We talk about cultural differences found in the gestures.
  • Activity III: Discussions
    In pairs, students discuss the following questions:
    1. Are there other gestures you use/ have seen? (To give examples at first, I mention a couple gestures that I have seen in American TV shows.)
    2. When you travel abroad and you don’t know the local language, what do you do? (It could be gestures or other ways to communicate.) For example, when you’re at a store or in a taxi?

What technology, media or props did you use?

  • Handout with pictures
  • PowerPoint slides

What worked well in this class? What did not work?

We had lively and interesting discussions throughout the class. Students enjoyed talking about emojis more than I had expected. I think it was a good topic for our generation. The first few emojis in Handout were meant to be basic expressions (e.g. smile, laugh, cry etc.), but they developed way more than that and had a huge discussion (e.g. “It is a fake smile you make when you don’t like something,” “You don’t use this crying face when you are actually sad,” “It could be happy tears”). Moreover, students in this class had culturally diverse backgrounds, so it was interesting to compare the cultural differences in gestures (e.g. how to count with your fingers in China).

How could this class be improved/ modified?

I was going to do another activity (storytelling by using emojis), but students spent a long time discussing emojis (which is fine because they enjoyed and talked a lot). Depending on the audience, however, I would use another activity to adjust the time.

Handout & Slide (Activity I):