Dr. Yasuko Makita-Discekici was named the 2018 Distinguished Teacher during the Glenbrook South Honors and Awards ceremony on May 24. She started at GBS as a Japanese teacher about 14 years ago, after a distinguished teaching career across the globe.
With a BA in English Literature from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan, and a MA in Linguistics and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Southern Illinois University, Dr. Makita is responsible for the entire Japanese program at GBS. She teaches all class levels.
In 2016, Dr. Makita was selected to be a mentor teacher for the JLeap program, which included hosting a teaching assistant from Japan at GBS for two years. She was recently chosen again for this honor – one of only six teachers in the nation. Earlier this year, the GBS Japanese program was selected as one of eight U.S. school to participate in the Kakehashi Project which included an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan for 22 students.
“Makita Sensei provides her students with inspiration to work hard,” one student noted. “She teaches how important learning cultures is to understanding our world around us. Never before have I seen classes so motivated, so kind, so fun – in a way that still challenges us to the best of our ability.”
Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel said Dr. Makita “infuses in her students a deep appreciation for Japanese culture.”
“She single-handedly oversees and instructs the Japanese program at GBS,” Dr. Fagel said. “She facilitates her students’ language learning to extremely high levels of proficiency.”
Dr. Fagel noted that Dr. Makita also “has an outstanding professional reputation” in the Japanese language education community.
“She brings great pride to our school,” Dr. Fagel said.
Danita Fitch, instructional supervisor for the World Languages Department, said Dr. Makita is always creating new experiences so that her students understand the Japanese culture more deeply.
"We are amazed at how much one person's dedication can accomplish, especially when done in such a humble and caring way," Fitch said.