Stanford e-Tottori is a distance-learning course sponsored by the Tottori Prefectural Board of Education and the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai and Superintendent Hitoshi Yamamoto of the Tottori Prefectural Board of Education were instrumental in its establishment. Offered for the first time in 2016, Stanford e-Tottori presents a creative and innovative approach to teaching Japanese high school students about U.S. society and culture.
Stanford e-Tottori instructor Jonas Edman recently recognized three of his top performing students for their exceptional coursework. They are James Banville (Tottori Keiai High School; Principal Shigeo Nikaido), Hana Hirosaka (Tottori Higashi High School; Principal Masato Omuro), and Kosei Kamada (Tottori Nishi High School; Principal Eiju Yamamoto). Since the launching of Stanford e-Tottori, Edman has encouraged his students to think in an internationally minded manner—that is, to consider different points of view and to realize the importance of diversity and cross-cultural communication. Reflecting upon his former students over the first two years of Stanford e-Tottori, Edman noted that “James, Hana, and Kosei were always open-minded to various points of view and demonstrated strong critical thinking skills… and I was also impressed with their regular attendance in class despite their extremely busy schedules. I am so proud of all of the Tottori students’ accomplishments, but those of James, Hana, and Kosei especially stood out.”
Each of the honorees received a plaque from SPICE/Stanford University, and Edman expressed his hope that this honor would help them with university admissions as well as inspire them to someday study in the United States. As part of the admissions process to Waseda University, Banville spoke about what he learned in Stanford e-Tottori during an interview. He was admitted to Waseda and will begin his freshman year this spring. Hirosaki and Kamada are now in the midst of the university application process and they, too, plan to showcase their participation in Stanford e-Tottori.
Takuya Fukushima, Office Director of the English Education Advancement Office of the High School Division at the Tottori Prefectural Board of Education, expressed his profound gratitude to Edman and feels that these honors have made Stanford e-Tottori more visible in Tottori Prefecture. “With wonderful guidance and skilled facilitation, Edman-sensei has done a great job to foster the students’ interest and participation in discussions… the students’ positive attitude and willingness to participate in lessons was something that I had been long waiting for. It was the moment when I could feel, ‘Oh, Stanford e-Tottori rose one step higher.’”