According to research, bilingual children significantly outperform those who speak only one language. Children also love learning another language. Here at SJIS we make language learning fun, but also relevant for children. Below is a snapshot as to what students are learning in my classes this term:
In our Kindergarten classes, the students are learning the date/day and weather in Japanese. We use various strategies such as calendars, flash cards, videos, charts, songs, dances, and so on. Some students learn visually through the use of the smart board, and other students recite songs and dance. Thus the students are not only learning languages but are also developing problem solving skills in their daily language lessons.
Year 2 Nihongo 3 class (for native Japanese speakers)
This class is studying the topic “How to…” this term. We are able to create so many different learning opportunities from this simple topic. ‘How to make a pop up card?’, ‘How to play games?’, and so on. Through this topic students are learning to read and write ‘instruction text’ types and lots of new practical vocabulary and structures. We visited Kindy classes to show them how to make Origami Kabuto for Children’s Day. Speaking, listening, communicating, and caring were the practical skills practised through this experience.
Year 3 & 4 Nihongo 1 class (Beginner level)
In this class we have been creating a book called “My Family’s Country”. We are living in such a fantastic, multicultural country where almost every family has several original countries from which their family members are related. The students were requested to ask many questions in order to find their family’s country of origin. While discussing this in class they are learning the location, language, nationality, climate, and nature of notable places, and a lot more. I am hoping that this topic encourages the students to have conversations among family about their origin and to make them proud of their culture and identities. Furthermore, the students are learning a lot from each other about other countries!
Years 5 & 6 Nihongo 2 class (Intermediate level)
In this class we have been learning ‘Common Sense’ in different countries and their cultures. In different cultures, sometimes different actions have different meanings that we do not expect. The ordinary rule in the house or at the table can be different. The safety drills we have at SJIS is different from the ones in Japan where we mostly need to concern earthquakes. I hope this study will be a great opportunity for the students to widen their insight of the differences in each community as well as understanding the background of their culture in order to respect them.
SJIS Japanese Language Teacher