5,Texts and Teaching Aids
It is often said that a language text is only as good as the teacher using
it, but there is really no substitute for carefully worked-out materials
that the teacher knows very well.
We have developed out texts over the years from actual practical teaching
and avoid pitfalls - such as the untimely introduction of difficult vocabulary
- that necessitate explanations in the student's own language. The objective
is to force students to think in Japanese as much and as soon as possible.
Our basic text has been set down in a common-sense, logical order that
pays careful attention to degree of difficulty and usage in daily life.
lt is modelled along direct method lines and lessons are conducted almost
exclusively in Japanese. We focus on teaching you the essentials of dail
conversation so that before very long you can handle many of the regular
expressions and vocabulary necessary for simple daily activities.
From data obtained from students in the past, we estimate that by the end
of 150-180 lessons you will competent enough to manage your social and
domestic affairs and much of your business in Japanese.
But, as any language teacher will tell you, a teaching method must be as
alive and as flexible as the language itself if it is to cope with new
problems and develop new techniques. For this, constant background research
is needed to provide teachers with new approaches to problems and with
a pool of new materials. At Nihongo Institute this is supplied through
the work we put into our quarterly magazine にほんご (Nihongo), a unique publication
specially for students of Japanese. In producing its articles,which include
interviews and cover such topics as daily life, culture, history and traditions,
all with careful explanations of grammatical problems and vocabulary, we
find ourselves constantly getting new ideas and approaches which we are
able to employ in improving our teaching methods and techniques.