“The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.” (Ludwig Wittgnstein) Now more than ever this statement is our reality as we take part in a global community. The need to develop in our young learners’ intercultural understanding is critical to provide our students with the skills to communicate across and within cultures.
In the Japanese classroom the students are involved in intercultural language learning. This enables them to actively participate in their learning of not only Japanese culture and language, but also to extend and notice aspects of their language systems and culture. Students are involved in doing, thinking, noticing, comparing and reflecting. As they do this they are developing an understanding of their own languages systems. This strengthens their literacy and cognitive skills through thinking about language systems, analysing, problem solving and making connections in their learning.
All students study Japanese for one lesson per week. The classroom is colourful and inviting and has an extensive range of Japanese resources. The Japanese lessons are based on the students needs and what interests them. The interactive white board is used often to display videos and pictures of Japanese life and engage in interactive games that develop grammar structures and vocabulary that are being focussed on during the lessons.
Students practice Japanese with their peers and teacher and the emphasis is on intercultural communication. Students investigate why and how things are said and done in Japanese culture so that they are able to communicate respectfully and are culturally aware students.
Students have the opportunity to participate in Japanese language outside of the school by visiting the local high school and kindergarten and participating in quiz days that are held annually. Within the school the students will participate across curriculum areas on a number of occasions starting with being involved in Japanese sports on Sports Day in Term 1.