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    【国際コミュニケーション学部】Improving English Speaking through the Model United Nations

     

    【2021年3月9日】

    Japanese students trying to learn university-level English are faced with the challenge of improving all four of their skills of communication (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing). It is often difficult to balance improvement in all four areas. If students focus too much on mastering everyday English conversation, they risk not spending enough time improving the academic writing and reading skills needed to succeed in university classes. Conversely, if students emphasize their reading and writing of academic English, there is a danger that they will not achieve the conversational fluency needed to carry out professional and interpersonal relationships with foreigners. How does one maintain a balance in developing these four skills and still leave enough time to study other academic subjects?


    One solution to this dilemma is to participate in academic-related extra-curricular activities such as the Model United Nations (MUN). Started among American university students in the years immediately following World War II, the hundreds of MUNs that now take place every year have make it an extracurricular event popular among university students from across the world. MUNs are usually multi-day conferences where delegations from different universities hold a mock United Nation session centered around various committees, plenaries, etc. based on the United Nations format itself. In preparation for these conferences, student delegates are expected to write position papers where they lay out the position of their nation with regards to specific international issues. Over the course of the conference, delegates are then expected to work with and/or debate other “nations” (i.e. students from other schools) on the topic. The MUN simultaneously develops students’ research skills, professional writing, public speaking and debate abilities, as well as deepen an overall understanding of international relations, politics, economics and current events.


    Recently, MUN has become popular among Japanese university students. Many conferences are held in the country every year, and several are held in English. This provides Japanese university students with an opportunity to increase their professional and academic skills while also expanding their fluency in English. MUN has become particularly popular in the Kansai area with several universities specifically supporting students’ participation and preparation. As seen in a recent post on this homepage, KUINS students have also had some success in this area. (https://www.kuins.ac.jp/news/_10990.html) Moving forward, it is likely that KUINS students will continue their interest in this extra-curricular activity. The Faculty of Global Communications is particularly well-suited to prepare students for the Model United Nations as it develops both students’ fluency in English as well as academic writing, research and public speaking skills. Under the guidance of the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Yorizumi Watanabe, students also develop a deep understanding in international relations and trade; they also gain practical knowledge through extracurricular activities such as the student-led Diplomatic Issues Study Group. (https://www.kuins.ac.jp/faculty/english/news/_11034.html). Through an English program that emphasizes academic reading, writing, and conversation skills, students are also able to continue such academic activities during their semester abroad. Finally, through the Faculty encourages student’s autonomous learning capacities by providing them with ample opportunities to conduct independent research be it through their Freshman seminars (see picture) and the two-year long research seminar course. In these courses, students are encouraged to challenge themselves by presenting on international relations topics in both English and Japanese.


    If you are a perspective high school student who would like to participate in the MUN and improve your English ability at the same time, consider joining us KUINS!

     

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