Japanese lecturer Dr Taeko Imura has won the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Griffith University Teacher of the Year. The award was presented at the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Awards at the Gold Coast campus on November 5.

From the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science, Dr Imura is passionate about teaching and watching her students develop and learn.

“I love to see my students keep trying and never give up. A lot of them already know Japanese from high school and, or exposure to, Japanese through anime, manga and games from a young age,” she says.

“Other students don’t know much Japanese at all so we start from the basics.”

But no matter the skill level, Dr Imura said the most important thing about learning a new language is persistence.“It’s not something you can cram for, it must become part of your life.”

Dr Imura is celebrating not only her teaching excellence award but also the 30-year anniversary of her arrival in Australia from Japan. She joined Griffith in 1991 and then completed her Masters and PhD.

“I am very honoured to win this award, it means a lot to me and other language teachers who have been working so hard to foster students who can communicate with empathy, respect and openness with other people to make a difference.”

Over the years Dr Imura has seen many changes in the way students study Japanese language and culture.

“Technology has definitely transformed the way students learn and it opens up many opportunities.

“In the age of information when students can find reliable resources online, teachers need to shift from imparting information to facilitating students’ learning. I strongly feel that controlled teaching for controlled learning does not well align with the new generation of learners.”

Dr Imura, who also won an Arts, Education & Law Group Award for Excellence in Teaching, is one of many Griffith lecturers who were recognised at this year’s awards.