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Miss_igirisu
October 30th, 2009, 15:08
I don't know what hedding this goes into but I'd like to talk about teaching methods and stuff for a sec.

1. When my kids (JHS1) have a converastion in the textbook, they put katakana "readings" over the top of the words. Do you reckon they should do this? I'm sort of in the camp that says that they shouldn't; much like how if a kanji has furigana I'll just read the furigana without looking at the kanji, I think that my kids wont learn as fast with this crutch. But at the same time, students who have less confidence are able to read and particiate. Hmm...


2. Ok, so I get that classes are very grammar translation minded. This week the letters from my British JHS with which I set up a pen pal link, came in the post so I handed all the letters out. The kids (mainly JHS3) instently started translating the sentences. I believe that you shouldn't be thinking "oh, what's that in my mother tongue" all the time, you should be fucussing on understanding what the sentence means. If you are constantly thinking about your mother tongue, you can't become fluent. That's just my opinion, but it's based on the fact that I am more fluent in Japan on days when I'm hanging out with loads of Japanese people and don't use English a lot. At times like that I don't even think about English, to the point that I find it hard to revert back. I want my kids to be like this, but does anyone believe that it's better for them to translate everything?

patjs
October 30th, 2009, 17:44
1. The katakana is of course not a good idea, but a lot of these kids simply are just not at a level where they can ditch it yet. Especially in their first year, you can't really get around it. Also, some of the kids will put katakana just as a reminder for tough words, but it's used more as a guide rather than full on katakana-english.

2. I agree with you here, but again they are young and the teachers run the classes basically as "here is a bunch of English. Now I'm going to give you a full translation in Japanese. Memorize it for the test." I think with Japanese learners as well as foreign learners of Japanese, the people who stop thinking in their native language (think in native language, translate word for word to foreign language) are the ones who sound the most fluent.

wicket
October 30th, 2009, 17:55
1. katakana is not like furigana - at least with furigana you'd be pronouncing the words correctly. try to get them out of this habit.

2. obviously it's better your way, but your kids don't have the luxury of being surrounded by the target language every day. just try to build it into your teaching methods - e.g. when making flashcards of nouns, use pictures rather than the english word [i'm sure you're already doing that, but it's the only example i can think of right now!]

Miss_igirisu
October 30th, 2009, 18:06
1. katakana is not like furigana - at least with furigana you'd be pronouncing the words correctly. try to get them out of this habit.

2. obviously it's better your way, but your kids don't have the luxury of being surrounded by the target language every day. just try to build it into your teaching methods - e.g. when making flashcards of nouns, use pictures rather than the english word [i'm sure you're already doing that, but it's the only example i can think of right now!]

1. I have no choice, the teacher gives it to them like that. It's just mu musings on the subject.

2. Of course, they can't be surrounded, but by giving them a British friend their own age I'm giving them a chance to experience more real English. I think I'm going to tell them to flat out not translate it. This is one thing where I can do what I want and I want them to make the most of this...

word
November 9th, 2009, 11:53
A comment about 1.

I've been teaching some of the kids at one of my elementary schools the phonetic alphabet (the version used in New Crown, anyway. It sucks, but that's what they'll be using for the next three years, so...). I see these kids once a week, and I've been hitting two to six new sounds every week. I started with the most difficult ones (r-l, b-v). I start each lesson with a quick review of each sound, add a few more, and do some game or activity that focuses on the new sounds, but involves all previous sounds. At the moment, I've focused a little more on listening ability, rather than speaking ability, but I have them practice pronunciation, also, and I plan on moving into more pronunciation soon.

Thus far, my lessons have been successful (imho). The kids remember the sounds, they can hear the differences (r-l still occasionally gives them problems, but the vast majority of the kids can discern the difference now), and they can duplicate the appropriate sound when presented with the symbol. They can even join sounds to pronounce simple words.

My JTEs are not particularly enthusiastic about these lessons. They are not actually involved in the classes, but when I discussed the lesson plans, they felt that teaching phonetics was far too advanced for fifth- and sixth-grade elementary students. Both of my JTEs learned the phonetic alphabet in college.

All the research I've read seems to indicate that the younger the kids are when they learn phonics, the better they'll be able to discern and articulate them. I can't teach the phonetic alphabet to very young students, of course, but I do practice listening and speaking phonetics with them, and my older elementary kids seem to be picking up the alphabet pretty easily.

This was basically an experiment on my part. I'd noticed the students writing (and speaking) kana versions of the words they encountered, and I wanted to see if I could break kids of this habit before they hit junior high. If they can look up a word and speak it more or less correctly based on the phonetics presented, I figure that they'll have an advantage as they begin their junior high lessons. What do you guys think? Has anyone else had any experience teaching phonics? Do you think I should continue this experiment? Sometimes I think I ought to focus a little less on "teaching" and a little more on having fun in the classroom... I'm just curious to get some of you guys' input.

Miss_igirisu
November 9th, 2009, 12:23
I dunno about this one... When I taught English in summer schools back home they would be some schools that said I had to spend 10 minutes a class on pronunciation and phonics but actually I never did it.
Although I think what you're doing with your kids is great, I think the best way to learn pronunciation is by actually using the language with native speakers, and surrounding yourself with the language. I certainly havn't ever had any phonics lessons with Japanese (which is arguably less difficult than English in terms of pronunciation but..) but the way I learn is by listening to lots and lots of native speakers. Instead of spending time learning what a shwa is, I'd rather my students to be using English and lots of it.

But I don't know, like I said I'm pretty anti-phonetics anyway.

Edit*
But in relation to my initial question, I'd rather the kids read the actual words and understand how to say them, instead of reading the furigana. Just like people putting romaji over haragana when you start to learn Japanese, the earlier you break this terrible habbit, the better, in my opinion.

word
November 9th, 2009, 13:19
Actually, I don't want to keep doing it. My goal is to teach the entire phonetic alphabet before Christmas, then just continue to reinforce it in the following lessons. I wish I saw these kids more often; I wouldn't be spending so much time on it. I only see the kids once a month at my other elementary, so I usually just do games and stuff for them.

I dunno, it was just something I thought I'd try. I'll probably be here long enough to find out if it was a good idea or a completely retarded one...

P.S. I still put romaji over kana... It's a bad habit, I know. I'm trying to stop, but it's haaaaard...[/whine]

Taurus
November 9th, 2009, 13:20
Although I think what you're doing with your kids is great, I think the best way to learn pronunciation is by actually using the language with native speakers, and surrounding yourself with the language.

I think that's fine, but how many of your students do that? I teach at a low-level SHS and I am amazed that none of the students have ever been picked up on their inability to say certain sounds, or the way they add katakana sounds to English words (eg. I am notto interested in English or whatever).

I think I'm correct in saying that the research suggests that it is difficult to correct an accent after it has been established. I wish someone, earlier down the line, had given these reluctant learners simple instructions for making English sounds - like, 'stick your tongue out when you say 'the'', or 'push the back of your top teeth with your tongue when you say 'lettuce''.

It is something that I am trying to do now with my students (with the addition of diagrams on the board, of a mouth and tongue!). It seems to meet with mixed results, depending on the determination of the students, but on balance, I think the improvement in pronunciation is good enough that I think it is worth persisting with.

Miss_igirisu
November 9th, 2009, 14:47
I don't know for sure since I never did so much research into phonetics and stuff, but from talking to other friends who learn languages, accent and correct pronunciation comes from listening to native speakers, as I said before. I don't particually mind if my students say "Heee izu a boyii", and in fact in 1nensei (JHS) classes I find myself spelling things out to struggling kids like that (a good example is the class I just had. A girl couldn't read "thank you" so I was holding up 3 than 9 fingers as a hint for her). But I want them to read the English, not read the katakana. As soon as they learn to do this, their English will excell.

kyoryoko
November 10th, 2009, 11:12
I honestly think now that I read these forums and reflect on my experiences thus far. I think my JTEs dont want the students to even understand english. They seem to treat it as some secret code that only learnt individuals can use.
I think they are afraid that when a students learns too much of it they may become better than them and may mock the teacher on pronounciation or something. I think its the same for all the teachers no matter what subject here. Its such a negative learning environment. Thats why when I teach my teachers look at me like I'm some clown performing tricks or something though all I'm doing is making my lesson enjoyable...

WIth that said I am in no means qualified to even be a teacher so maybe I've got it all wrong and my Japanese counterparts are rightfully laughing in my face.