A teacher from southwest Iowa is being named as an "educational ambassador" for a trip to Japan next month. Kelly Frascht teaches English and sociology at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs. Frascht and 39 other teachers from across the U.S. will be touring the island nation, from busy urban cities like Tokyo to tiny rural villages.
Frascht says: "We’re going to be there for two weeks. They have an itinerary set up for us to help learn about the culture. I hope to bring back a greater understanding of how the Japanese culture affects the rest of the world economically and socially. That’s my goal." As part of the Toyota International Teacher Program, Frascht and the others will learn about Japan’s past and present, explore global issues and experience the culture firsthand. She’ll also be talking with Japanese students.
Frascht says, "I hope so. I think that’s kind of the goal, for us to share information and share a little bit of our culture as well." The program focuses on four themes — history, education, environment and technology — and how these affect industry and society. She says her only apprehension lies in the fact she’s still learning to read and speak Japanese, a relatively difficult language to master.
Frascht says: "I am a little bit nervous about the language barrier. Toyota has done a great job of providing us with literature to read so that we can have a better understanding of their culture and their language. However, I am aware that not being fluent in a language is going to create some barriers. We have some guides with us who help with that problem."
Her trip will run June 22 through July 7. The tour will include visits to schools, factories and sites of historical and environmental importance, along with discussions with well-known authors, historians, educators, environmentalists and business leaders. When she returns, Frascht says she’ll share her insights from the experience with her students, colleagues and community.