Japanese lecturer challenges pupils to a dance-off

09 August 2016

A University of Canterbury lecturer in Japanese has challenged hundreds of Canterbury high-school students to a Japanese pop dance-off.

Japanese lecturer challenges pupils to a dance-off

University of Canterbury lecturer in Japanese Dr Masayoshi Ogino has challenged hundreds of Canterbury high-school students to a J-pop dance-off.

A University of Canterbury lecturer in Japanese has challenged hundreds of Canterbury high-school students to a Japanese pop dance-off.

Dr Masayoshi Ogino of the Department of Global, Cultural and Language Studies in the School of Language, Social and Political Sciences, at the University’s College of Arts, says that he put the dance-video challenge together as a symbol of collaboration between learners of Japanese, beyond schools and institutions.

“I have been exploring project-based and collaborative language learning, and I came across collaborative dance videos by Japanese learners on YouTube, which inspired us to create one with local high schools and the University of Canterbury.”

The video project is embedded in the NCEA Japanese workshop at the University of Canterbury (UC) in which 269 secondary school students (Years 11-13) from 17 schools participated in learning the choreography and dancing to a Japanese pop song.

The UC workshop was organised by the University’s Japanese programme, with the support of the Canterbury Network of Teachers of Japanese, with 28 UC student volunteers acting as teaching assistants and student mentors.

The primary aim of the workshop was to increase students’ confidence and competence in dealing with assessments in National Certificate of Educational Achievement, and to boost their engagement with both the local Japanese-learning community and authentic Japanese culture, Dr Ogino says.

“The learning of additional languages needs to be more valued in New Zealand, and this project contributes to its advocacy, as it raises the visibility of Japanese language learning and language learners beyond schools, institutions, Christchurch and New Zealand. “

“It was a great opportunity for students to show their enthusiasm about Japanese culture. Dancing together to a Japanese pop song is more than just fun; it connected learners of Japanese and created a sense of belonging to a Japanese learning community beyond the walls of classrooms, schools and institutions.”

Last year’s video attracted more than 11,000 views, and for a short while topped the Yahoo Japan’s Eizou Toppikusu ranking. Now in its third year, the video has been posted to the Japanese Studies Aotearoa New Zealand Facebook page and has gained over 82,000 views, 1,500 likes and has been shared by over 420 people.

Dr Ogino is hoping that the dance video project helps motivate people to get interested in Japanese culture, and encourage learners to improve their language skills.  This seems to be the first collaborative dance video on this specific song by learners of Japanese in the world, Dr Ogino says.


The UC dance video, Odoru Ponpokorin, can also be found here: https://youtu.be/R-mfi0VYAoA

For further information please contact:
Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168 | margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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