The Language in Teaching International Law Relevant to Japan

Kent Anderson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter seeks to answer a seemingly straightforward question: Does combining disciplinary education and advanced language learning compromise the pedagogical objectives of either? I answer that question by introducing a case study of a course I have taught for five years which combines advanced legal education within a Japanese language context. My eventual conclusion based on this experience is that you 'can have your cake and eat it to' - that is, achieve both disciplinary and language objectives - but in the full model that I have pursued it can be costly and requires significant institutional commitment. While the purpose of this book is to explore the connection between Japanese language and Japanese studies education, I pursue the question of this chapter more broadly. On the one hand, my course and its lessons can be applied to any target language not just Japanese; on the other hand, I am not operating within a Japanese studies framework but rather a substantive legal education environment. With that in mind, the lessons here, while particularly pertinent to Japanese language and Japanese studies education, are equally applicable to teaching English language through economics and so forth. As such, while I think this chapter provides useful and valuable pedagogical information about combining language and disciplinary studies, I am not sure it conclusively resolves the tension between Japanese language learning and Japanese studies learning which I believe is more of a contextual debate. This paper is a practice note, more than a traditional research essay. The methodology is necessarily personal and anecdotal, rather than objective and quantitative. Since 2005 I have taught an undergraduate law course 'International Arbitration and Negotiation Moot Competition in Japan' in the ANU College of Law. The culmination of this course is a two day mooting competition in Tokyo where my students compete as the only foreign team against the top Japanese universities. The competition happens to be in Japanese, and my students happen to be learners of the Japanese language. As such, Japanese language learning is an integral, albeit incidental, part of the course. Given this situation, the challenge the course provided me from the outset was how to create and structure a curriculum that served both my primary legal education goals while recognizing and servicing both the students' and my ambitions for Japanese language learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBridging the gap between Japanese Language Education and Japanese Studies: Towards Content-Based Foreign Language Teaching and Learning
    Editors Chihiro Kinoshita Thomson, Seiichi Makino
    Place of PublicationTokyo
    PublisherCoco Publishing Co.
    ISBN (Print)9784904595091
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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