Promoting collaborative learning for well-being among elementary, junior high and high school students in Senegal and Japan (EDU-Port Supported Project 2022: EDU-Mo Co., Ltd.)


■Project Summary

EDU-Mo Co., Ltd. focuses on Education for International Understanding mainly in Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, where our office is located. Currently, we are providing Japanese language teaching to students from 17 countries around the world, both remotely and face to face. This EDU-Port Japan Supported Project focuses on the Republic of Senegal. Japanese and Senegalese elementary, junior high and high school students learn from each other about domestic issues in the two countries and explore solutions from the students’ perspective, thereby contributing to the internationalization of their respective regions.

■Activity 1【Interacting with a Senegalese resident in Japan】

As it was the first time for any of the elementary, junior high and high school students participating in the activities on the Japanese side to interact with anyone from Senegal, they came to Tokyo where they befriended Mr. Niang, a Senegalese resident living in Tokyo, while walking around the city with him. They asked questions freely using what English they knew, such as “Why is your skin a different color?” and “What kind of snacks do people in Senegal eat?”

Furthermore, with the cooperation of another person from Senegal, they regularly hold online exchange meetings.

■Activity 2【Self-introduction by app】

The elementary and junior high school students from the Groupe Scolaire Keur Mame Arame in Senegal, and the high school students from Fukushima Prefectural Koriyama High School and elementary and junior high school students from Hiroe Juku, a private cram school, in Fukushima who participated in this project, filmed simple self-introduction videos in English and shared them on the Flip app. In this way, they were able to get to know each other before they started any actual activities.

■Activity 3【Study session with a Senegalese resident living in Japan】

Mr. Niang came to Fukushima for a study session so that the students could acquire basic knowledge of Senegal and schools in Senegal. At times, the elementary school upper graders translated from English into Japanese and taught the lower graders what was being said. Kindergarten students who were at Hiroe Juku also participated in the study session and listened with great interest to stories about Senegal, a country they had never heard of before. At question time at the end, the students asked a lot of questions and everyone seemed to have a good time.

■Activity 4【Local school visit】

When Mr. Niang went back to Senegal for a temporary visit, he visited the Groupe Scolaire Keur Mame Arame school. He recorded a video of himself talking with the teachers and students as well as filming the school and shared the video on the app. The Japanese elementary, junior high and high school students were surprised at how different the school was from their own.

■Future plans

In October 2023, Mr. Niang will come to Fukushima again for a second study session at Fukushima Prefectural Koriyama High School. Although internet access restricted in Senegal and other internet environment sometimes prevent the exchanges from going smoothly, the students are motivated to get involved. Going forward, the students will research social issues in their own country and present a summary of their findings to each other. After that, they will summarize their ideas on how to solve the social problems of the other country. Finally, the participants will think of and present solutions to their own country’s problems from a broader perspective, while referring to each other’s ideas. We hope that the circle of cross-cultural understanding will expand from this minimal unit of local communities.