Shino Iwashita is the voice behind the computer screen for the department of foreign languages and literatures, recording vocabulary lessons for the Web in Japanese as part of the Student Titan Employment Program (STEP).
Name: Shino Iwashita
Role: Japanese instructional intern
Department: Department of foreign languages and literatures
Major: Elementary education and English as a second language
Hometown: Kumamoto, Japan
What specific tasks do you do for your internship?
“My job is to create the Japanese language exercise site through the website called “smart.fm.” The Japanese language department has their own account, and students who are taking Japanese classes go to the Web page and practice their Japanese. I record Japanese vocabularies and put them onto the website for each lesson, so students will be able to listen and learn pronunciation and practice vocabularies.”
How is the internship benefiting your education?
“Being an education major, this internship allows me an opportunity to learn to develop teaching material, such as using technology to learn languages. Also, it has been educating to me to learn how to contribute in a language classroom.”
How is the internship benefiting your future?
“This internship is definitely benefiting my future. Making this website helps me brainstorm ideas for teaching in the future. It also offers me an opportunity to experience using a technology to teach a foreign language.”
How is the internship benefiting your department?
“Putting a voice for each vocabulary is time-consuming; however, the department will use the exercise pages from the website that I create now and in the future. Doing this job for the department allows the Japanese professors to have more time to prepare for classes. Hiring a native Japanese speaker creates a high-quality website because I can check pronunciations and edit words.”
What has been your favorite part of the internship?
“I like this job because I can learn about constructing a Web page. I also can see who is using the Web page, and I feel like I am contributing to help students improve their Japanese.”
Have you faced any challenges? If so, detail how you overcame them?
“When I record my voice, I face difficulty translating some parts into English because some Japanese grammar doesn’t have meaning in English. For instance, when we count an object, we use a specific word to count them, called a counter. For example, persons have their own counter. However, the pronunciation of this counter changes based on how many people are being counted, both the consonants and the tone. So without a number to determine the pronunciation of the counter, it becomes difficult to pronounce the recorded counter correctly for the student.”
The Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) offers students quality educational experiences while providing faculty and staff members with needed assistance in areas such as media services, student-faculty research, supplemental instruction, library assistance, instructional technology and academic computing support, and Web page development and maintenance. The program is funded through a one-time investment of $500,000. More than 110 students are funded through STEP.
Photo by See Xiong.