ILE Grant Projects & Recipient Profiles (2019-2020)

ILETC is proud to support the following researchers and project with an Innovation in Language Education grant in the 2019-2020 academic year: “Implementation of the Can-Do-Based Approach in Japanese Classes at Hunter College of the City University of New York: Developing Student Autonomy”

Brief Description

This research project is a qualitative study on the outcome of incorporating Can-Do statements in three sections of Beginning Japanese and three sections of Intermediate Japanese courses in the Japanese Program at Hunter College, during the Fall 2019 semester. Can-Do Statements describe what communicative tasks learners can perform, rather than what linguistic knowledge they have, and are known to promote students’ self-reflection. The purpose of this project is to investigate the benefits of incorporating Can-Do statements in Japanese instruction: to research what overall changes the approach brings to the class, and more specifically, whether it helps students reflect on their ways of studying, and their attitude towards learning.  

Narrated PowerPoint

Watch the video here.


Dr. Maayan Barkan is currently serving as the director of the Japanese Program at Hunter College, where she has been teaching Japanese language courses since 2007. She completed her doctorate in linguistics at the Graduate Center (CUNY) in 2018. Most recently, she published “The important role of pragmatic strategies in L2 Japanese teaching and learning in the 24th Princeton Japanese Pedagogy Forum (PJPF) proceedings in 2018, and she presented Experimental design: Methods for investigating main-clause omission in Japanese and Hebrew at the International Pragmatic Association Conference in Hong Kong in 2019.


Yoko Sakurai currently teaches at Hunter College and The New School. She received her MA in Applied Linguistics and Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language from Ochanomizu University in Tokyo. From 2012 to 2018, she taught at The Japan Foundation in New York, and developed courses in which the Can-Do Statements-based approach was implemented. Most recently, she presented a “Can-Do Crash Course” at the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Convention in 2019. She is also a certified ACTFL OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) tester.