TALENT, Ore. — An already bilingual classroom at Talent Elementary becomes tri-lingual for the day. The Japan-America Society of Oregon designed a special “on the road” program to teach kids about life in Japan.
The students in Mrs. Kuriyama’s class can speak English and Spanish, and on Friday they were speaking some Japanese. Three Japanese women joined the class for a few hours to take the students through the daily routine of a Japanese student the same age.
The volunteers showed the students what they eat for breakfast, what they pack in their backpacks, what they wear to school and what books they read while at school. On top of that, the students learned how to count to ten, and some Japanese phrases, but the classroom’s teacher says learning about other cultures is more than just a language benefit.
“I don’t want them to be afraid of people who are different from them. I want them to get to know people and decide whether those people are going to be their friends due to their personality, not the way they look or the way they speak,” Shannon Kuriyama.
Before coming to Talent Elementary, Mrs. Kuriyama taught in Japan. In Talent, she teaches a two-way immersion class, meaning part of the time she teaches in Spanish and the other part she teaches in English, so the students are learning both.