Service Learning Japan

Click Here to Complete the Program Interest Form


This four-credit, four-week long course combines service learning and study abroad.  It offers an opportunity to teach English at Nishi High School and Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS) while being fully immersed in the Japanese society.  Students 1) assist Japanese teachers of English in regular classes and 2) conduct lessons while in full charge of the class.  Additionally, students are encouraged to offer help to students in upper-level courses and to participate in extra-curricular activities at KUFS.  A Truman faculty will accompany them throughout the program.  In classes prior to departure, students learn about teaching English at Japanese schools and about Japanese culture/society; over the service learning, the students and faculty meet daily to discuss their teaching experiences and amend their teaching. Pricing information will be made available when the program is approved. Please contact the program directors or the Study Abroad Office if you have any questions.

What You’ll Study

Course Name: Service Learning in Japan
Course Number: JPN 350
Credits: 4.0
Pre-Requisites: There is no prerequisite or language requirement.  Courses preferred to have been taken include Japanese Language and Linguistics (JAPN 340), Introduction to Linguistics (LING 238), English Linguistics for the Classroom (LING 250), Principles of Second Language Teaching (CML/LING 308), or Practicum: Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (LIN 412).
Degree Fulfillments: This three-credit service learning course may count for a Japanese Minor elective course, the “Electives Courses” area of the BS Linguistics  major, the “Program Requirements” area of the Linguistics Minor, or the “One of the following” area of the Applied Linguistics Minor.  It fulfills the Intercultural Interconnecting Perspective of the Liberal Studies Program.
Click Here to See the Complete Course Syllabus.

Course Objectives

Course Objectives: Enhancing global awareness is essential to Truman’s liberal arts education.  This course provides opportunities for transformational experiences in this area: students teach English to speakers of Japanese, a language diametrically different from English, in the Japanese society that holds cultural norms markedly different from those in the US.  Moreover, by way of coping with the linguistic and cultural differences, students improve problem solving and communication skills.  Students can also enhance their leadership ability by conducting classes while fully in charge and by making unique contributions to extra-curricular activities.  Finally, the combination of academic and field experiences enables students to critically analyze the academic materials and learn to creatively apply them to the real world.

Course Outcomes: By teaching English to Japanese speakers at high school and college in Japan, students will demonstrate:

  1. the ability to linguistically analyze English and present that analysis in ways accessible to Japanese high school and college learners;
  2. the ability to flexibly apply teaching principles and techniques learned in class to real-world learners;
  3. the ability to adapt problem solving and communication skills while assisting Japanese teachers in teaching English to Japanese learners; and
  4. the ability to lead volunteer student groups by designing and teaching “mini-classes” fully in charge.


Course Materials

  1. The Japanese Mind: Understanding contemporary Japanese culture. Roger Davies and Osamu Ikeno. Tuttle, 2002;
  2. Techniques and principles in language teaching (3rd edition). Diane Larsen-Freeman & Marti Anderson. Oxford University Press, 2011;
  3. Course packet/handouts, including “The Monitor Model” in Second language acquisition: An introductory course (4th), Susan Gass, “Phonetics” in An introduction to Japanese linguistics (3rd ed.), Natsuko Tsujimura; and
  4. Online resources:
      1. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program teaching resources website (
      2. Tips For Teaching English to Japanese Students (
      3. Teaching Resources and Links on the Internet (

Your Instructor

Dr. Masahiro Hara
Professor of Japanese | MC 315

Let Us Know You’re Interested!

Due to world-wide travel restrictions, the Study Abroad Office has delayed opening the application and deposit process for the “Service Learning in Japan” faculty-led study abroad program for Summer 2021. However, we are asking interested students to COMPLETE THIS ONLINE INTEREST FORM in order to better understand who is considering programs this year and keep you up to date with the most current information about applications, deadlines, and program changes. Completing this form does not commit you to participating in a program or create any charges on your student account. It will only be used to help our office better communicate with interested students to facilitate your application process.