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As a comprehensive educational institution comprising schools from kindergarten through graduate school, Aoyama Gakuin provides education and research consistent with "The Educational Policy of Aoyama Gakuin." "Christian education," "English-language education," and "International exchange" are the main pillars that support the integrated education of Aoyama Gakuin, with each school holding fast to history and tradition while developing activities that are full of life.
Aoyama Gakuin is a Christian school with separate institutions at every level from kindergarten through graduate school. Our mission is articulated in the Aoyama Gakuin Educational Policy, which forms the ground for academic endeavor in the entire school.
At Aoyama Gakuin the student body at each level is formed by the graduates of the previous level together with students who enter by examination.
All graduates of the Kindergarten and the Elementary School who so desire may advance to the next level. In principle, graduates of the Junior High School may advance to the Senior High School and more than 95% of them choose to do so. While some graduates of the Senior High School elect to enter other colleges and universities, more than 80% continue on to Aoyama Gakuin University or Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College.
Students from the Women’s Junior College may also be considered for transfer into the University following two or three years of study.
Worship of God forms the basis of every aspect of life at the kindergarten, including childcare and education. Through daily worship, children feel the presence of God reflect on themselves, think of friends, and recognize the blessings of nature.
The elementary school aims to provide a broad education based on the Christian faith. Students are provided with opportunities to learn God's word from the Bible and pray at various occasions.
Students learn that each of us is a precious being loved by God and that we should respect ourselves and others as individuals.
The senior high school is committed to an education which is Biblically and morally focused.
Students should enjoy life and nurture friendships through Christian activities that teach what all people have in common.
Aoyama Gakuin is a Christian university that is committed to providing a character-building education based on Christianity. The center of such education is the university worship services held daily at the chapels. At the university, an introductory course in Christianity and many courses related to understanding Christianity are available.
By using picture books in different languages and dolls of different skin colors, the kindergarten provides children with opportunities to "meet the world" in day-to-day childcare.
Children also participate in such activities as writing letters to the two foster children of the kindergarten sponsored through Child Fund Japan and selling cookies they baked in order to donate the proceeds to charity. In this way, the kindergarten gives importance to experiences in which children turn their attention to other children in the world.
In April 1963, when overseas travel had not yet been liberalized in Japan, 21 students of Aoyama Gakuin Elementary School departed for the United States. This was the beginning of international exchanges by the elementary school.
Since 1994, the elementary school has been exchanging students with Good Shepherd School in Australia. At present, some sixth-graders are staying with families of students at the Australian school and engaging in various school activities such as English lessons, canoeing and horseback riding. Since 1992, the Amateur Radio Club has been engaged in exchange activities with Tianjin Hexi Children's Palace and the Shanghai Sports Bureau in China through mutual visits. Some children and an escorting teacher also participate in the Aoyama Gakuin CFJ (Child Fund Japan) program for visiting the Philippines which is conducted jointly with the junior high school and university.
The Junior High School places great importance in recognizing the cultural diversity which exists in our modern world today. Here lies the significance of multicultural awareness and understanding for our students through intercultural exchanges. Currently, the Junior High School has an exchange program with Immanuel Lutheran College in Brisbane, Australia and Ewha Women's University Junior High School in Seoul, South Korea. In addition, our students can participate in the Aoyama Gakuin Child Fund Japan program to visit the Philippines. Furthermore, there is an annual exchange day between our students and the students of Tokyo Korean School.
The senior high school offers a homestay program in a suburb of Toronto, Canada, every year during the summer vacation. The school enjoys sister school relationships with the Leys School, an English public school in Cambridge, and Liceo Legnani, an Italian state school in a suburb of Milan. Every year, several students participate in exchanges with these two schools under short-term student exchange programs.
The kindergarten does not have a specific time allocated to English-language teaching in the method known as early education. Children develop their understanding of English and different cultures in a natural way by seeing picture books written in English in the library and meeting with visitors from abroad.
It was around 1946 when English-language education was started at the elementary school. At that time, foreign missionaries gave dynamic lessons to teach English through playing games, without using textbooks. Proceeding in that spirit, the elementary school today encourages students to actively listen to and speak English by developing an interest in the foreign culture behind the language, which results in learning to read and write English. The English-learning environment was further enhanced in academic year 2008 when an English class was introduced for first graders using the original textbook "SEED." For students in the fourth and higher grades, English is taught in small classes in a comprehensive manner using the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) room.
Teaching English as an international language requires cultivating and nurturing the spirit of our students to view the world at large and contribute to society beyond cultural and physical boundaries. With this in mind, English is taught as a means to function and flourish in our global society. Lessons are presented to develop a good balance of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Efforts are made to encourage and motivate our students to realize the importance of English and more importantly to develop a personal interest in English to support their future roles and endeavors in this world.
At senior high school, compulsory English classes are organized in three levels, according to the degree of language proficiency, so that each student can receive instruction suited to their academic ability. Some of the compulsory subjects in the first year and the third year are taught by native English speakers. English ExpressionⅡ(academic writing) for third-year students, in particular, is taught by a native English speaker in a unique manner using an original texts. In addition, a wide variety of courses are available, such as a class to discuss, summarize and make presentations about current topics, a class to dub movies into Japanese and a class to read literary works. While emphasizing the importance of mastering the basics, the school seeks to teach languages not as mere intellectual knowledge but as part of a lively culture.
An English-language education program of the English Literature Department titled "Coordinated English Program by Foreign Teachers" was selected as a "Support Program for Distinctive University Education" for 2003 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In this program, 11 native English speakers with diverse cultural backgrounds hold classes in the form of study topics, taking up subjects that are important for present-day Japan and/or the entire world. Through these classes, students develop the ability to read and write English as well as make presentations and participate in discussions in English. Only English is used in the classes, and all classes use the same self-developed teaching materials for each course. Teachers cooperate with each other in order to ensure that the examinations, homework, content and progress of the course are the same for all classes.
Under the university-wide common education system "Aoyama Standard," the English language is taught as a skill to enable a smooth transition to specialized courses. Each college and school gives specialized courses in English with a view to cultivating students' English-language proficiency and the international way of thinking that they require to play an active role in the international community. They also offer unique English-language education programs. The Department of English in the College of Literature introduces the "Integrated English Program" (IE Program) in the first and second years of study. In this program, classes are taught in English by mostly native English speakers in small classes organized according to academic level. At the School of International Politics, Economics and Communication, most classes are taught in English with an emphasis placed on oral communication classes. For the purpose of enhancing students' international communication ability, the School also seeks to comprehensively develop students' abilities in listening comprehension, oral expression, reading comprehension and composition using such topics as international issues and current events. The College of Science and Engineering has introduced an e-learning system for technical English and other classes and offers students an environment to learn at home in addition to taking classes at the university. It also provides students with opportunities to learn real-life English through a short overseas study trip which is independently organized by the College.