This spring 2019 semester, Seton Hall undergraduates are offered a new study abroad course that provides firsthand access to elementary, middle, and high schools and universities in the Tokyo area. The three-credit undergraduate course, EDST 3900 Comparative Education Studies—Tokyo, Japan, will be led by Dr. Bryan Meadows and Pfr. Dan Aronoff, both of the College of Education and Human Services.
Dr. Meadows, co-instructor, shares, "We are really excited about this course because of the access to Japanese schools. This is something you don't normally get to see when traveling abroad. So, I think it's an exciting opportunity for Seton Hall students."
Students enrolled in the course attend class sessions on campus during the regular spring semester. In the sessions, they examine public education practices in the United States and then compare them with education practices in Japan. The class sessions will be supported by readings, online research, and expert guest speakers.
As the semester draws to a close, the group embarks on an 8-day study abroad visit to Tokyo, Japan (May 22-May 30, 2019) where they participate in four school visits: an elementary school, a middle school, a high school, and a university. During the school visits, Seton Hall students observe and participate in classroom instruction, interact with teachers and administrators, and visit extracurricular clubs. At the university in particular, Seton Hall students engage with their Japanese undergraduate peers in fun, interactive dialogue.
While school visits are the central focus of the trip, the travel itinerary includes a series of cultural and historical excursions around the Tokyo area. These excursions provide additional insights into Japanese society and culture. Excursions include the Edo-Tokyo History Museum, Skytree Tower, a morning bus tour of Tokyo, and a Japanese tea ceremony. There are even plans for an evening visit to Tokyo Disneyland.
Dr. Meadows explains that "the unique contribution of this course is the access to public schools in Japan: What do the classrooms look like? What do students study? How do schools in Japan address the same challenges we face here in the United States? These are the kinds of questions students will be able to answer following the trip—and they will be able to do so based on their firsthand knowledge."
The course is open to all Seton Hall undergraduates. There are no course prerequisites, and Japanese language ability is not required. The course, EDST 3900, was recently approved for CORE III designation.