Effective Classroom Communication
It is the aim of all Japanese teachers to give their students a learning experience which they find enjoyable and satisfying. The learning experience occurs largely in the classroom, so we must look for the most effective ways of building meaningful communication within the classroom, in the hope that learners will extend their skills and understandings beyond the classroom.
These webpages give teachers some useful strategies for promoting use of the target language in the classroom and thereby helping their students to become confident and effective communicators in Japanese.
Benefits of using the target language
In school, language lesson time is limited, so it is important to use the time effectively and expose learners to as much language as possible. The classroom setting provides an opportunity for learners to relate the language they are learning to a real life situation.
Presents teacher as a role model
If the teacher conducts the lesson in the target language, it gives learners a strong message that their language study is valid. If the teacher does not use the target language, learners may get a mixed message about the value of their study.
Creates an authentic intercultural environment
If the target language is used in class, learners are able to participate meaningfully in intercultural experiences and to learn to communicate in inter- culturally appropriate ways.
Provides rich and varied Japanese input
If the teacher provides rich and varied Japanese input in class, learners are encouraged to experiment in purposeful interaction in Japanese and thereby build their skills and confidence.
Sue Palmer is a leading primary school teacher in NSW. Here she shares her teaching philosophy and her ideas for effectively using Japanese in class and encouraging students’ language use.
What language do we use in class?
Teachers and learners use Japanese for a wide range of purposes: greeting, asking and responding to questions, exchanging information, expressing feelings and opinions, performing and responding to learning experiences. (AC: Japanese)
Classroom language can be developed from basic expressions and set phrases to less structured and more spontaneous language. Using the target language as often as possible will promote this development.
The following four sections offer a step by step guide for promoting Japanese use in class. We have included a checklist at the end of each section to provide teachers to reflect on their classroom practice.