Japanese 'Sensei' Gives U-46 Students Language Lesson

By Williams, Kendra L. | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 3, 1998 | Go to article overview

Japanese 'Sensei' Gives U-46 Students Language Lesson


Williams, Kendra L., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kendra L. Williams Daily Herald Staff Writer

They do not always understand what Norihiro Deguchi says, but the students in Streamwood High School's world languages academy are happy to listen to him.

Deguchi, 33, a Japanese language teacher visiting the United States, has spent the past two weeks providing what some call an important "new voice" for Streamwood's students.

"Kids tend to think (foreign language) is only a classroom exercise unless they meet people who speak it," said Carol Ruth Kimmel, the resident Japanese teacher at Streamwood High School. "Even if they don't understand everything he says, they see ... it's not an effort."

This is the first time a native Japanese language teacher has spent more than a few hours in the academy, which students from throughout the district can participate in by admission only. Designed to give high school students a head start on college, the program provides intensive study in languages and international relations.

Deguchi appeared at home in the academy, darting around Kimmel's second period class Wednesday with seemingly boundless energy.

First, he donned a kimono, a traditional Japanese dress, and showed students a dance the Japanese do once each year to welcome back dead spirits.

Next, he took turns telling a traditional Japanese fairy tale called, "How the Witch Was Eaten," which is similar to the "Puss-In-Boots" story.

When students used flash cards to prepare for an adjectives test, he ran from their sides to the board, and nodded and clapped when they answered correctly.

In an interview after school, Deguchi, who speaks little English, said his experience at Streamwood High School has shown teens are teens, regardless of culture. …

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