Summer Week 5-6

Classes have been going well. The students (who have survived) are very keen to study grammatical points as well as conversational phrases. I have been feeling less stressed about teaching the beginners course because this is the second round of teaching the same contents for me. Also, the students are nice, honest and frank, which has facilitated our interactions.

For the upper beginners course, I have found that there is a huge difference between the students’ skills. Some are obviously at the intermediate level with good literacy skills, some still cannot read symbols. As the week goes on, the differences become clearer. I came to use romanised materials and focus on how they can enjoy pair activities while feeling relaxed.

Summer Week 4

One of my students told me that she has been struggling to keep up with the lessons and that she wanted me to explain every single detail of the target sentences. As a poor excuse, I would say that it has not been easy to pay attention to the understanding of 14 students. But I tried to analyse why she found it so difficult to learn. There might be other students who feel the same way. It might be something I’m lacking.

For the other class, I give much information without using slides and I take time for each activity. I will also try to teach her class more slowly next time. Obviously, I need to prepare a reference of grammar explanation and make some activity materials. Like I felt in the last semester, this has two sides. I would like to help their learning as much as possible but it actually requires a huge commitment.

There are five more weeks until I finish all of the lessons. I will try my best because it would be wonderful if they found it interesting to learn the language!

Summer Week 3

Little by little, I have been learning how native English speakers learn and understand the Japanese language. I also found that I need to slow down the pace of lesson and make sure that students fully understand the content of the target language. As a consequence of intentionally spending more time on each activity, I think that the students grasp the grammatical structure of phrases and sentences, which might be an essential part for adult learners.

The classroom usually has a U-shape desk arrangement for 20 seats. But today, there were two column arrangements for each 10, and we used one column for ten of us. It actually worked very well! I was able to stand and talk closer to the students than usual. They looked more relaxed, and I was a bit surprised about how desk formations affect the class environment. I have learnt the two key things for Beginners language lessons: slow down and be close to them.