Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Naoko Matsuo

Assistant Professor/Language Studies Advisor

Professor Matsuo taught at Monterey Peninsula College, Robert Louis Stevenson School and Santa Catalina School.

Professor Matsuo taught English in Japan before coming to the U.S., and has been teaching at MIIS since 1992. She has also taught  at Monterey Peninsula College, Robert Louis Stevenson School and Santa Catalina School. She has published articles in Applied Language Learning, co-authored with Dr. Leo van Lier.

Professor Matsuo's current research interests include the use of technology in language teaching and development of Intercultural Competency component as part of the language requirement at the Institute. She has taken on the role of advising prospective and current students who have any issues related to language study for their graduate programs.


Japanese language and culture, pedagogy, Japanese for business, current issues in Japanese media


MA, TESOL, Monterey Institute of International Studies; BA, Linguistics, Nara Women's University, Japan

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

JALA 8365 - Business & Intercultural Comm      

This is an advanced Japanese course focusing on further developing oral and written communication skills that are needed in business/formal settings. This course aims to develop

1) the awareness of different speech levels and styles in different situations,

2) the ability to understand the Japanese used in a variety of situations and circumstances related to business and formal settings, and

3) the communication skills to attain such functions as explaining, stating opinions, agreeing, disagreeing, persuading, making presentations, etc. In doing so, we will also

4) increase the understanding of various intercultural communication issues, such as misunderstanding, cultural conflicts, caused by the language use.

The corporate culture, Japanese group mentality, work habit, etc., will also be touched upon in mastering the business language. This course is particularly recommended for those who wish to do an internship/work in Japan or with Japanese company, or those who work with Japanese natives, such as international students, study abroad settings, etc.

Fall 2017 - MIIS

More Information »

JALA 8370 - Current Issues Japanese Media      

This is an advanced Japanese course focusing on further developing listening, speaking, reading, writing, and communication skills by using authentic newspaper/magazine materials and TV/radio news. The students will watch and read on a regular basis the most current news of the events that are taking place in Japan. The students become familiar with aural/textual features of Japanese media (TV/radio news and newspaper/magazine) as well as terms and idiomatic expressions frequently used. Skills of understanding the TV/radio news, reading of newspaper/magazine articles are developed. Emphasis will also be put on enlarging kanji compound (??) knowledge and developing communication skills of summarizing and presenting the news content in one’s own words. By the end of the course, students will become accustomed to listening to the natural speed news (NHK broadcast and others) and get the gist of the news as well as some key details/points, and to pick up Japanese newspaper, skims through articles of interest, and read them without relying too much on dictionary.

Fall 2016 - MIIS

More Information »

JALA 8392 - Current Topics Up Close      

This is an advanced Japanese language course focusing on further developing listening and speaking proficiency through the use of NHK broadcasting program called “Close-Up Gendai”. The primary focus of the course is to further develop oral skills, but other skills such as reading and writing are practiced as well. Students will choose a certain topic/aspectof current Japanese society, politics, business, or international relationsbetween Japan and its neighboring countries, and do a mini background research on the topic prior to coming to class. In class, each student will be given the opportunity to lead the class on the topic, view relevant TV broadcasting on the topic, and lead the class discussion. JLPT Level 1 and 2 vocabulary and expressions, as well as advanced level grammar/structure will be exercised in class to aid the participants’ overall proficiency development.

Spring 2017 - MIIS

More Information »

JALA 8482 - Close-Up Gendai      

This course aims at developing overall Japanese proficiency by

1) choosing a topic/theme and conducting individual research on current political, economic, and social issues that Japan faces,

2) by watching and discussing an NHK program called 'Close-Up Gendai', and

3) by studying advanced vocabulary, expressions, and grammar/structure of the Japanese language.

The participants will choose topic/theme of their interest, and read authentic materials (academic paper, books, newspaper, magazines, web resources, etc.) extensively. In class, each participant will be given an opportunity to give short lectures on the topic, in which he/she summarizes the research and leads class discussion. Weekly journal, where participants exercise critical thinking and writing skills, will be utilized to aid their learning. Portion of the class time will be devoted to work on specific areas of the language, such as advanced grammar (e.g., particle use, conjugation words, etc), how to construct well-organized paragraphs/discourses, how to compare/contrast, how to state own views/opinions effectively, how to utilize charts, graphs, etc., in your speech/writing, and so on.

Fall 2017 - MIIS

More Information »

JALA 8492 - Intercultural Communication      

Spring 2018 - MIIS

More Information »

Faculty Program Tags