Tuesday 17 May 2011


Today our Head of Department turned the tables on us, delivering a 10 minute slot in Japanese entirely in the target language. The lesson included a handout, IWB and miniwhiteboards, with whole class and group work included.

It proved to be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, he was happy to point out that we had coped with some fairly in-depth grammar including tenses, althouhg of course we are all linguists. Yet the discussion after the 'lesson' raised some interesting points about what it must be like to be a pupil in the language classroom, especially when we use target language.

I have no Japanese, and found the whole-class intro stressful, particularly when some others appeared to know a lot or 'get it' quicker than me. I was far happier and indeed quite enjoyed the challenge when presented with key vocab and a sentence to translate.

The reaction from the department was mixed in terms of how we felt as pupils, with some really enjoying it (including those who had a little previous experience of Japanese) and others sharing my feelings of stress. We all agreed that having some knowledge of pronunciation and basic vocabulary would have aided our comprehension and learnig.

Would I like to be a pupil in my classroom? I'm not sure, actually. I think I may be one of those who prefers to take things at their own pace, and process systems and patterns for myself. But at the very least, today's experiment has reminded me of the range of emotions felt by my pupils, and to tailor my teaching accordingly.

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