November 15, 2017
In the article (Part 1), we had talked about three important things that people learning Japanese should keep in mind.
<1> Motivation does not last
<2> People are forgetful
<3> Retention rate according to the study method
This time we continue to discuss this topic related to learning Japanese.
<4> Take a balance of reading, writing, listening and speaking
Often listen to people who are learning a foreign language, like to practice speaking, but do not interested in studying grammar or practicing listening. However, taking a balance of each category is important in learning a foreign language. Especially people who are living in their own place to learn foreign languages, writing and speaking practices are probably not enough.
For example, there are many people studying Japanese for the Japanese language proficiency test (JLPT). However, most of the Japanese learners are not fluent in speaking, even if they are N1 qualified. On the contrary, there are a lot of foreigners living in Japan can speak fluent Japanese, but may not be so familiar with the basic grammar.
If there is a significant lack of writing and speaking practices (output), you are recommended to increase the opportunities of using Japanese.
If there is a significant lack of reading and listening practices (input), try to practice more reading and listening, even though the work might be boring.
<5> Don’t read Amazon reviews when choosing textbooks!
Many people will probably read online reviews, such as reviews from Amazon, before purchasing self-study textbooks. However, this method is not highly recommended because most of the reviews are simply written by common people, rather than experts, so the comments are very subjective. What’s more, common people will not take a few textbooks to make a detailed and objective comparative analysis, so this kind of information may not have reference values.
Instead, two methods are suggested as follows:
- Ask a professional Japanese teacher
- Ask a bookstore specializing in selling Japanese textbooks (SHOGAKUSHA, BONJINSHA, etc.)
Large bookstores like KINOKUNIYA, are also not highly recommended. As the bookstore staffs are not familiar with Japanese education, they may just introduce you the bestselling textbooks. However, the bestselling may not be the best. It is difficult to obtain appropriate advices from large bookstores. There are a variety of Japanese textbooks and learning materials available in specialty bookstores in Japan. It’s worth checking out!
The following site is recommended. A lot of teaching materials for learning business Japanese with commentary are available.
In addition, this site is particularly recommended to people who are learning IT business Japanese.
<6> How to find a good teacher?
What kind of teacher is a good teacher? It is difficult to say unequivocally because it varies from person to person. There is a very useful question that can clarify a Japanese teacher’s experience. Ask your teachers: “How many textbooks you are used as teaching tools?” If your teacher just answer one textbook, then you should be careful. In my opinion, a good teacher “can use appropriate materials and curriculum in accordance with student’s level and needs”. In other words, a teacher who has long experience in teaching Japanese, the number of textbooks using in teaching should be increased steadily. I know several Japanese-teaching experts who use more than 50 Japanese textbooks. If a Japanese teacher use more than 20 Japanese textbooks, he/she should be very enthusiastic about teaching Japanese.
We sincerely hope the above information is helpful to you.
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