NORWALK — The California Association of Japanese Language Schools (CAJLS) will conduct a workshop and seminar to improve and develop teaching skills for teachers of member schools.

This year, the seminar will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Southeast Japanese School in Norwalk. The theme is “Effective Instructional Approaches to teach Japanese in the target language and reading strategies.”

Yoshiko Saito-Abbott, Yo Azama
Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott, Yo Azama

The keynote speakers are Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott of California State University Monterey Bay and Yo Azama, Japanese teacher at North Salinas High School. The presenters will demonstrate effective teaching strategies using only Japanese in the beginning classes to advanced levels. Additionally, they will share various engaging reading activities that will promote language proficiency.

Saito-Abbott is the chair of the School of World Languages and Cultures at CSUMB. She has been actively involved in professional development activities regionally and nationally. Since 1998, she has maintained a state and federally funded professional development project, Monterey Bay World Language Project, housed at CSUMB for world language teachers. Her area of expertise is in professional development of foreign language teachers. She has given numerous presentations and workshops on standards-based instruction, instructional technology, and second/foreign language acquisition, and has published through journals such as AATJ, CALICO, College Board, Foreign Language Annals, and Modern Language Journal.

Saito-Abbott has served as a member of the National Council of Japanese Language Teachers (NCJLT) and American Association of Teachers of Japanese; president of AERA (American Educational Research Association) Research SIG (Special Interest Group); advisor to the AP Japanese College Board; member of the AP Japanese and Culture CDAC (Culture Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee); and Japanese language representative to the World CDAC. She is also a founder of the Digital Stream Conference, which she chaired from 1998 to 2008. She established Texas Professional Development for Japanese Teachers, which certified teachers of Japanese for the first time in that state.

Azama has taught Japanese at the elementary school, middle school and high school levels, and has taught Japanese at all levels at North Salinas High School. He has published widely in the field of language education and culture, and given numerous presentations and workshops on teaching of Japanese throughout the U.S.

In 2012, Azama was named National Language Teacher of the year by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, and in 2011 he was named Outstanding World Language Teacher of the Year by the International Language and Cultural Foundation. He has received many more awards since beginning his teaching career in 1996. Azama has served on various committees, including the AP Development Committee.  Currently, he is teaching Japanese 1, 2 and 3 and AP Japanese.

The CAJLS seminar is open to anyone interested in the teaching of Japanese. The cost is $20 for non-members. A bento can be ordered for $10; deadline for requests is Feb. 1. Interested individuals may call Kimie Matsumoto at (562) 926-2536 or

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