We hardly know where to begin when profiling Noriko Coyle, this week’s #TeacherTuesday. Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, she’s been teaching the Japanese language and culture to 9th through 12th graders at North Penn High School for the past 18 years. She also advises the International Friendship and Advanced Japanese clubs.
Says Nori, “I am a huge believer of cultural competency and I’d like to think that my students feel safe and excited when they enter my classroom.” Her goal is to have students “truly experience Japanese culture so that they become good ambassadors and break down cultural barriers to promote understanding in today’s very diverse society.”
In addition to daily language learning, her students take part in monthly cultural activities they can’t do anywhere else. From an authentic Tea Ceremony, to a traditional New Year’s celebration — with kimono demonstration and genuine Japanese food preparation including octopus dumplings — to Haiku writing and calligraphy, her lucky students are immersed in cultural opportunities year-round. They even learn a Samurai hat origami craft, take a national Japanese exam, and attend the Philadelphia Convention of Japanese Language at Villanova University.
During the summer of 2014, some lucky students traveled with her to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto and went to Akatsuki High School in Mie prefecture where they met host families.
We salute Nori for her creative ways of approaching the subject matter and students — and expanding cultural understanding — and say thanks for being such an inspiring teacher.