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The purpose of the SGH program:

In today's world, as society, economy, and the globalization of culture rapidly evolve, there is growing international unity. In addition, due to great advances in science and technology and the complex and rapid change of society, new challenges have arisen that can not be addressed using only previously accumulated knowledge and technology. In order to respond to these issues, new globally competitive specialized skills and knowledge in respect to human resources are required. Due to societal changes in the 21st century, it is an aim to be an active leader in the global community and an important objective to achieve this is the development of human resources.

Our SGH research agenda:

To identify global challenges that Hokkaido industries face and provide solutions through the development of its human capital.

Our SGH outline:

Under the theme of "Hokkaido of the future”, we plan to promote internationalization in cooperation with universities, government and private companies to acquire international cultural awareness, industrial, and environmental skills.

Research overview:
・Agenda
・Surveys (fieldwork)
・Hypotheses and Analyses
・Presentation, Dissemination and Evaluation

To nurture interdisciplinary global leaders who actively work within the international arena.

Research Details

The SGH Program prepares students to be global citizens by having them conduct investigative and evaluative research. The focus will be on understanding current global issues, exploring new challenges, analyzing diversity, taking assertive action and developing the ability to think critically.

(1) Foundation - Investigation, Analysis, Discussion, Imaginative Scope

Understanding different cultures and fostering open-mindedness.
Our school’s teachers as well as guest lecturers, e.g., teachers invited from schools like Hokkaido University, will take part in cooperative fieldwork with participating institutions to conduct a deep study on cross-cultural society.
Valuable experience gained through such domestic and overseas training will additionally enhance one’s sensitivity to be more culturally concerned.

(2) Application - Problem-Solving, Diversity, Implementation

Personal Research
Students will decide on a topic of interest and take on an individual research theme.
Example: “Food”, “Tourism”, “Territory”, “Post-war”
Concerning ourselves with topics that are familiar to Hokkaido, we are able to engage in a cultural discourse, think from a global perspective about the challenges at hand and finally find resolutions to these problems..

Group Research
A central research theme will be decided within the group, analyzed and discussed through exchange of opinions.

International Fieldwork
Collaborative research and discourse with participating institutions.

(3) Development - Reporting, Negotiation, English Communication

Students will formulate their own thesis and depending on their language skill level will choose to report on it in English or Japanese.
The paper should demonstrate a clear argument with well-written and comprehensible sentences.
Participants will take part in various competitions both from within their school and off-campus.
A graduation thesis will be composed as well.

(4) Evaluation - Performance Assessment
All aspects of the research and development process are part of a quality assured and verified evaluation program.

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Review of the Fieldwork at Akita International University

Thursday, August 20, 2015 / Thursday, August 27, 2015

 Thursday, September 3, 2015

 

Today’s Theme

  1.  Cross-cultural Understanding
    Share information and analyze problems by examining the first group’s fieldwork activities at AIU
  2. Critical Thinking
    Share information and analyze problems by examining the second group’s fieldwork activities at AIU

1.Details

Thursday, August 20

During their fieldwork at Akita International University, the students of the 1st group made presentations on cross-cultural understanding, and the students of the 2nd group on critical thinking.  Both groups made their presentations in English. 

After watching 6 filmed presentations, students discussed each group’s presentation, sharing frank opinions and suggesting proposals for improvement.  The discussion included questions from the teachers, which helped the students to become aware of issues and have even deeper understanding of them.

Thursday, August 27

Following the previous week’s activity, students watched another 6 filmed presentations, and discussed each group’s presentation.

Thursday, September 3

Each group made a summary of their presentation at AIU in their preferred format including PowerPoint and a wall poster.

Fieldwork at Akita International University

1st Group Sun 02/Aug/2015 – Wed 05/Aug/2015

2nd Group Sun 09/Aug/2015 – Wed 12/Aug/2015

Fieldwork Goals

  1. Joint research with a Super Global University
  2. Opinion survey of overseas students
  3. Lectures by an AIU professor on skills required in the global age
  4. Discussion with AIU postgraduates and overseas students

1.Details

Outline

As part of our SGH program, 68 of our high school 1st year students visited Akita International University, which is designated as a Super Global University. The first group went from August 2nd to 5th, and the second from 9th to 12th.  One of the aims of the visits was to conduct research on Hokkaido tourism by interviewing AIU overseas students.  Our students used English and communicated with them.  They collaborated with AIU overseas students, undergraduates and postgraduates in group work during their visit.  Through programs prepared by AIU, the students learned practical skills to communicate in English and make presentations in English.  It was clear that what they learned was reflected in their final-day presentation task, and that their presentation skills improved.

Program

  1. Interview overseas students
  2. Short presentation
  3. Basic skills for presentation
  4. Expression of ideas in English
  5. Basic skills for critical thinking
  6. Skills for effective presentation

2.Activity Participants

Day 1

On day 1, many of the students looked nervous, but with friendly and enthusiastic help from AIU students, they quickly opened up to each other and started to work on their tasks.  They were encouraged by Professor Uchida and his assistant students’ repeated message, ‘Get your idea across with the words you know.’  They also had a campus tour and a sports activity in the gym, which helped the students feel at home and use English as a communication tool in an authentic environment.

Day 2

 Day 2 was the day when they interviewed AIU overseas students.  As they faced their task, they struggled, with their prepared questions failing to follow up.  They had prepared interview questions about ‘Hokkaido Tourism and Industry,’ but some of them had difficulty in delivering their questions and conducting discussions further.  In their presentations based on their interviews, they also realized how difficult it could be to talk in front of an audience.  Later on in the day, however, as they learned practical skills for making presentations and got to know their interviewees better, during their second interview attempt, they started to enjoy communicating more positively.  Although one group found it difficult to complete their presentation based on their interview comparing the overseas students’ native language, religion and customs with those in Japan, thanks to the dedicated support from the adviser students, they were able to put their presentations together in time.

Day 3

 Day 3 was the final presentation day.  In stark contrast to their performance on the previous day, each group delivered their presentations in grand style.  They had made dramatic progress in presentation skills, as well as their research on the SGH themes.  They had a valuable experience in enriching their positive attitude towards their SGH activities hereafter.

3.Result Report

From Students’ report

  • Through exchanging thoughts with overseas students and making presentations on this fieldwork program, I think I have learned to become more proactive.
  • It has been a good opportunity to think how a global leader would think.
  • I was glad to be able to understand the overseas students’ English.
  • At first I was worried, but by using the vocabulary I knew, I managed to make myself understood, and I started to have so much fun that the three days passed very fast.  I thought, ‘English is fun!’  It was a really satisfying fieldwork.
  • When asked about their impression on Hokkaido, most people mentioned good food and the Snow Festival.
  • I want to study further about why Japanese people lack the ability to think critically and what can be done to overcome it.
  • I want to study further about differences between how people think in Japan and in other countries.
  • The program made me think seriously about how you can draw attention from an audience when making a presentation.
  • I learned that it is important to have a multidimensional perspective.
  • The lessons by Prof. Uchida were fun, deep and absorbing.
  • The overseas students expressed their emotions in many ways, and I was grateful that they made an active effort to talk to us.
  • I learned that Japan’s 6-3-3 education system is not universal.
  • Some of the overseas students were deeply interested in Hokkaido tourism.  Effective advertising would bring more visitors to Hokkaido.
  • I was deeply influenced by the AIU students’ communication skills and enthusiasm.

Economic conditions in Hokkaido and the tourism trade

June 25th, 2015

Research Theme

  1. Economic conditions and a view of industry in Hokkaido and the challenges it faces.
  2. On the current situation, challenges and future prospects of tourist attraction for Hokkaido in contrast with foreign countries.

1.Lecturers

Hokkaido Tourism Promotion Organization Business Plan Promotion Department

  International Promotion Group

 Chief  Yukihiro Fukushi

Hokkaido Economy Department Tourism Bureau

 Chief  Jyunichi Kaya

2.Details of the lecture

Part 1: Economic conditions in Hokkaido.

Because Hokkaido’s agriculture and mining industries are the largest for the whole country, the primary sector is traditionally very strong. On the other hand, the secondary and tertiary sectors are weak. Recently, positive growth has been accomplished despite the Lehman shock and the national recession. However, the number of farms and farmers has decreased sharply even though Hokkaido provides 1/4 of the whole countries fishing industry and 1/8 of its agricultural output. Recently, some recovery has been seen according to statistics, however the average income per family in Hokkaido has fallen below the national average.

Part 2: Hokkaido’s policies for attracting foreigners.

Due to a declining and aging population, the expansion of tourism plays a major role in regional revitalization. The tourism sector encompasses a wide range of interlinking industries (hotels, transport, retail and food). These industries have an important economic impact on local revitalization and the creation and maintenance of employment. Therefore the potential influence the tourism industry exerts on the economy as a whole is very strong.

Moreover, about 90 percent of tourists in Hokkaido in 2013 were from Hokkaido itself, tourists from outside Hokkaido amounted to about 10 percent and foreign tourists contributed only about 2%. There is huge potential there to invigorate the regional economy by increasing the number of foreign tourists.

2.Results

After the lecture, students were asked for some comments

【Regarding the presentation, what would you like to study further? 】

  • I want to examine what approach countries such as France and the United States are doing for tourists. And, I want to examine the differences to Japan.
  • I want to investigate the reason why the number of foreign tourists from Asia has suddenly increased.
  • I want to investigate what dissatisfaction and uneasiness foreign tourists are experiencing when they come to Japan.
  • I want to investigate what Japanese people living in foreign countries think and what foreigners in Japan think?
  • I want to examine what foreign tourists think of Japanese service and people.
  • I want to investigate the influence that aging and the falling birthrate has on Hokkaido.

【 What problems occurred to you? 】

  • How Japan could increases the number of tourists.
  • How the problems of agricultural and fishing industries in Hokkaido can be solved.
  • I want to think about necessary reforms aiming at attracting foreigners.
  • Central Hokkaido has experienced a 50% increase in the number of businesses. Differences arise with too much centralization, and I wonder whether a 2nd and 3rd city could be established.
  • Manufacturing accounts to 50% for just the central part in Hokkaido. I want to think whether industry can be expanded away from just central Hokkaido.
  • I want to think how tourists can be attracted by solving problems that arise from the difference of culture.
  • I want to think of a way to stop emigration from Hokkaido.
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