Problem­Posing Method in the Brazilian Community in Japan

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Instituto Paulo Freire - Itália/ II Encontro Internacional do Fórum Paulo Freire
The number of the foreign residents has been rapidly increasing since the middle of 1980's in Japan, because of the lack of laborer in the areas of construction or production in the factories. The foreign residents or workers are mainly from Brazil and Asian countries like South Korea, China or Filipine. The descendants of Japanese Brazilian and their families have been officially admitted to enter and stay in Japan without any immigrational condition since 1990, most of them working as cheap labor. Until the end of 1999, we have accepted about 250 thousands Japanese Brazilians and their families. In Toyota­city where the head office and main assembly factories of Toyota(Car Production) are located, a big Brazilian community has been formed in which 3 thousands Japanese Brazilians living. Almost all of them work in the factories of Toyota as sub­contracted, having a lot of difficulties in daily life and at job places, such as lack of basic information, illiteracy in Japanese, exploitation by wicked employer or discrimination against the immigrate workers. In the community, there also have a serious conflict between Japanese and Brazilian residents. The problem­posing method in the language instruction, already developed and applied by Nina Wallerstein in ESL(English as a Second Language) in U.S.A, has been applied in the classes of Japanese Instruction as a Second Language in that community. We tried to integrate acquisition of the Japanese language proficiency with humanization of their life in the community. First, we studied to find the problems in the community and at their job places. Through those studies, we chose several basic themes like as prejudice, case of emergency, participation in the community activity, creation of community center for immigrate workers, isolation, influence of immigrate workers to local economy, garbage dump problem, traffic issues in the community, accidents at the job places, illiteracy in Japanese, use of telephone, health issues, communication in the hospital, education for their children, discrimination, gender issues and dream. In the classes of Japanese as a Second Language in Japan, generally there exists functionalism. The Japanese language teachers try to teach Japanese as just a neutral instrument. Therefore they don't think that their activities have political aspects and that the learners are dehumanized by "teaching(=domestication)". Our experience is attracting much attention among the educators or community workers who try to make the multicultural society more just and humane.
Artigo em inglês apresentado no II Encontro Internacional Fórum Paulo Freire, realizado na cidade de Bologna, Itália, entre os dias 29 de março e 1 de abril de 2000.
NOMOTO, Hiroyuki