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Raising Bilingual Kids in Japan
Raising Bilingual Kids in Japan




Raising Bilingual Kids in Japan

There are many ways of raising bilingual and multilingual children, along with the associated challenges, while living in Japan. Attend two presentations integrating research on second language acquisition with first-hand experiences raising multilingual children in Japan.

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Time & Location

2024年7月13日 14:00 – 17:00 JST


About the Event

Challenges of Multilingual Families

Montserrat Sanz Yagüe

Kobe City University of Foreign Studies

Monolingual families are all alike; every multilingual family is multilingual in its own way”. Following this Anna Karenina principle, we will argue that raising multilingual children is a complex task that involves many factors, decisions, and adjustments to the environment. The result is that there are no two multilingual children alike and that families need to understand the general principles underlying bilingualism to make their own decisions at every stage. This talk combines an account of the personal experience of the speaker—a mother of three multilingual/multicultural children— with reflections on the general issues discussed in the literature on bilingualism. The different results achieved with the three children serve to illustrate the topics involved in raising multilingual families, including some language impairments in children with special needs.

Montserrat Sanz Yagüe (Spain, 1966), graduated with a degree on English Philology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She has a Master in Linguistics and a PhD in Linguistics and Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester (NY). In 1996 she became a professor at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, where she teaches Spanish and performs research on theoretical linguistics and L2 acquisition processes.

Various Paths to Bilingualism Whilst Living in Japan

Frances Shiobara

Kobe Shoin Women's University

Bringing up multilingual children raises numerous challenges from home language, schooling, literacy, study abroad to finally higher education choices. This presentation will incorporate research in second language acquisition against the backdrop of my personal experiences raising three bilingual children in Japan. Firstly, I will cover a variety of examples of ways you can provide plentiful and rich language input for your children whilst living in Japan. Secondly, I will outline some of the choices in schooling you can take from pre-school through high school along with ways to enhance literacy to improve test scores. Finally, I will cover different paths that can be taken for higher education and how to get there.

My three children have all taken different paths to university education incorporating Japanese public school, Japanese private school, international school, Japanese university, foreign university, and study abroad. The aim of this presentation is to provide parents and educators with information on a wide range of choices that can be made when raising children rather than a one size fits all approach. In addition to raising three bilingual children, I am also director of The Foreign Language Education Center at Kobe Shoin Women’s University and have supervised numerous students taking part in study abroad programs at university as well as helping to set up St. Michael’s International Saturday School program for elementary school students in Sannomiya. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers and I welcome any input from the audience.

Frances Shiobara has been living and teaching in Japan since 1989, and she has been teaching in higher education for over 30 years. She is currently Director of the Foreign Language Education Center at Kobe Shoin Women’s University, Japan. She was previously Chair of the Department of English. She also set up and teaches in an International School English program for elementary school students. She has a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics from Temple University, Japan and a Doctor of Education from The University of Liverpool, UK. Her main areas of interest are teaching English to young learners, gender equality in higher education and attitudes to technology in education.

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