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「日本に住む外国人に対して日本人は何をすべきか」

日本語学科3年生必修の副専攻語学・英語の「会話・作文」の授業で執筆された作品の一つを紹介します。ブラジル人学校の事例から日本・日本語における問題点を指摘しています。このような問題を英語で論じることができるのも,日本語学科ならではです。

What should Japanese people do for foreigners living in Japan?(中村夏帆・日本語学科3年)

 Iwata city in Shizuoka prefecture has decided to give money to Brazilian schools there. This is because the Brazilian schools are considered similar to cram schools so the Brazilian schools have to pay money to use the gym of their city for Physical Education. Iwata city has decided to pay the gym fees for the Brazilian schools. It is an unusual thing.

 I have studied English, how to teach second languages, and how to teach Japanese to foreigners for about two years in university. And now, I don’t understand what teaching second language means because one of my professors said that teaching Japanese as a second language is different from teaching it as a first language. I understand that we must not press habits, rules, and feelings on foreigners. In addition, my professor said that we had to understand that Japanese are the strongest in Japan. We have to be considerate and kind to foreigners because over two million foreigners are living in Japan. Signs, TV news, newspapers about their city life, and so on written in their own languages are very necessary for them. However, the Japanese government doesn’t do enough. For example, the government shifts the responsibility onto volunteers to teach the Japanese language. And, the government says foreigners have to assimilate.

 I disagree with this opinion. I think that Japanese people should help foreigners preserve their language and culture, especially for their children. It is important for Brazilian schools to be recognized as regular schools. These schools are very different from cram schools because they are essential for foreign children living in Japan.

 A Chinese man who is working with me at my part-time job goes home at just nine o’clock p.m., even if the store is very busy. None of the Japanese workers go home at that time. I guess he hasn't assimilated Japanese ideas about helping coworkers but most of the staff are angry about his actions. Should I tell him? If I do, am I forcing him to be Japanese?