Monday, May 18, 2009

Translating English to Japanese in the Classroom  

The English in the Eigo Noto is very basic--some of the students will know the meaning already from juku or other practice. Even if the students are seeing/hearing the language for the first time, it is important to train them to guess the meaning for themselves, not to rely on the teacher to tell them.
So before giving students the meaning of something in Japanese, simply ask if anyone knows what the meaning is. Since meaning often depends on context, you have some options:
  • explain or demonstrate how the language is used in a situation that the students are familiar with
  • show a flashcard or refer to pictures in the textbook
One teacher I saw on TV said he never tells his students an answer. Instead, his technique is to provide the students with the materials they need to find the answer themselves.
I try to remember that someday, when school is finished, a student may be in a situation and need to find the answer by themselves. It is for this time that our training in the classroom needs to prepare the students.

What next?

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