There are a variety of settings in which Japanese language for children with Japanese backgrounds (Japanese Heritage Language, JHL) is taught and learned in the United States.
Some JHL students study at community-based schools that are typically run by non-profit organizations and are sustained at the grass-roots level through support from local stakeholders. Japanese language and culture are also taught within public educational institutions in the United States either as world language subjects, or under the umbrella of dual-language immersion Japanese programs. JHL students are enrolled in these programs, though their curricula are not designed around the students’ unique position of familiarity and experience.
The landscape of JHL education in the U.S. is further complicated by the fact that there are many students with Japanese backgrounds who learn Japanese as kokugo (国語) at hoshuko (補習校), supplementary Japanese schools which are supported by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. This lack of uniformity and articulation between JHL programs and learners creates challenges for educators to provide classes and resources that suit their student’s specific needs.
JFLA is proud to unveil this first step in bringing all players in JHL education throughout the United States closer together. One of our tools is our free-to-register community forum (Chat Café), where users can ask for help and exchange ideas with one another. We hope this platform will assist both guardians as well as educators of JHL learners throughout the United States.
JFLA welcomes and appreciates any advice, suggestions, or requests sent to us in the interest of improving this platform. JFLA will continually update the site to keep it ever more informative and beneficial to parents and educators nationwide.