Global AP Empowerment Seminar: Session 1
The first session of the four-part Global Empowerment Seminar was held at Kanagawa Sougo High School on October 17. The aim of the Seminar is to give high school students the opportunity to discuss in English important issues connected to the core theme of “Progress” which is the focus of the World Café to be held at the high school later this year. Four Seminar sessions will be held so that students will have both background content information and discussion skills which they can use during the World Café event.
One key approach of the Empowerment Seminar is team teaching which combines teachers from Kanagawa Sougo High School and Kyorin University. The first session of the Seminar was led by Sugawara-sensei of the high school with assistance from Ruth Fallon of the Kyorin University Inokashira Campus Writing Center. The focus of this session was “Women’s Empowerment” with an emphasis on the progress that women have made toward gender parity in professional work and within their societies.
Those attending the Session included twenty-four high school students, two student interns at the high school and one other faculty member from the Department of Foreign languages at the high school. Students were divided into small discussion groups and had enthusiastic discussions on points such as:
• What is the “glass ceiling” and what changes are taking place in “cracking” or “breaking through” the glass ceiling in various professions?
• To what extent is Japan making progress in achieving gender parity in the workplace?
• What barriers exist in Japan and other developed countries that limit women’s participation in business, politics, research, and other professional activities?
• What aspirations do young Japanese women have for the future, and how do these aspirations indicate “progress” in the empowerment of women in the future?
Since the focus of the seminar was clearly relevant to the thoughts and dreams of high school students, both male and female, the discussions were both lively and stimulating. Teachers and interns were monitors of the students’ discussions and often contributed thought-provoking comments to further spark students’ ideas on these topics. Overall the results of the Seminar were extremely positive, prompting students and teachers to think more deeply about the important issues of gender empowerment and progress.
Seminar Session 2 will be held at Kanagawa Sougo High School on October 31. The theme will be Refugees and Immigration and the session will be led by Seki-sensei from Kyorin University, with cooperation from Sugawara-sensei. Session 3 will focus on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will be held on November 14 at the high school. The final Session of the Seminar will be held on December 22 at the Kyorin University Inokashira Campus.