May 15, 2022
NLIS is starting a new program, called Track 2, for the students who do not speak Japanese in the home. Up to now, all NLIS children have been studying Japanese only in Japanese with Japanese texts with no English translation. While the children are able to study the weekly kanji tests and even make good grades on the five to ten characters, it’s become clear that some are learning the shapes of the kanji without learning the meanings. Because of this, we are starting a new program from Wednesday, May 18, called Track 2. All students will remain in the class with the Japanese teacher; however, for the Track 2 student, the structure will be different. Please see below for the Track 2 plan.
1. Simple conversation with the entire class in Japanese for 5 to 10 minutes.
Track 1 students, those who speak Japanese at home, will continue to learn with their teacher using the Japanese National textbook and workbook.
2. Track 2 students will be given hiragana practice/review sheets and work at their desks independently. Sometimes they will drill with each other in class. After successfully memorizing all the hiragana, the next stage will be katakana, and then kanji. The kanji practice will have the English meaning attached. This should take 10 to 15 minutes in the class.
3. Next, the students will use the class computers and their headphones to complete a lesson using: https://schools.duolingo.com/ Students will work on their lessons on the computer for about 15 minutes. They will love this, by the way!
4. Last, they will start studying for the level N5 Japanese proficiency test. See https://www.jlpt.jp/e/ This first level (N5) tests hiragana, katakana, 100 kanji, reading, and listening of basic conversations in daily life. The test is voluntary, but we hope that parents will consider signing them up for the test when we give word that they are ready. It is offered two times a year in Yamanashi, usually at Yamanashi University on a Saturday, and it is ￥8,500. We ask the parents to pay in the same way that parents pay for the English Eiken tests. After passing the level N5, the students will have another goal – level N4 and then level N3. The completion and passing of the N2 test allows foreigners to attend a Japanese college in Japanese. It will probably take hard work and at least 2 years to pass each test up to N3, and longer for the higher tests. I believe the older students will be able to pass the N5 and N4 quickly since they already know hiragana and katakana.
The goal is to learn Japanese with meaning. I’m excited about our new plan and expect to see good results because of these changes. If you have any questions about your child taking Track 2, please tell your child’s teacher. We plan for the children to start from this Wednesday.
Principal of New Life International School