Whether you’re looking for a Japanese teacher for yourself or for your son or daughter, there are certain criteria you should consider. Here, language teacher Carol Beth L. shares her tips to help you find an effective Japanese teacher….
As you’re looking for a Japanese teacher, remember—not every teacher will be the right fit. Some teachers are able to work with a wide range of students, while others prefer to work with certain types of students. No single teacher is a perfect fit for every student. Here’s how to find the right Japanese teacher for yourself or your child.
Where is the teacher located? If you or your child will be taking in-person lessons, it will be much easier to schedule lessons if your teacher lives close by. Your teacher’s location is also an important consideration if he or she will travel to your home to teach lessons. If you have to set up a location to meet, make sure it’s a convenient location for everyone.
Some students may prefer to take Japanese lessons online. If this is the case, make sure you have a secure internet connection and sufficient knowledge of computers. Studying online isn’t for everyone, so if you’d prefer an in-person tutor, look for teachers in your area.
2. Compatible Needs and Goals
Why are you (or your child) studying Japanese? Whatever the reason, your teacher needs to be on board with this, too. Student and teacher goals don’t always have to be the same, but they definitely shouldn’t conflict. Being clear about a student’s goals will help a teacher structure his or her lesson plans to focus on the most relevant and important aspects of the language.
Does the teacher have a sense of direction? Does he or she have materials on hand and in an accessible place? Does he or she remember where you were in your studies the previous week? Of course, even good teachers may have temporary memory lapses from time to time. But, as a general rule, your teacher should be ready to go and lead the lesson, while also being attentive to your specific needs. The teacher should be prepared with a lesson plan, and have supplementary activities and assignments to promote learning.
4. Varied Teaching Methods
Regardless of the structure of the lessons, few student-teacher pairs can maintain momentum without variety. Though language learning does require a certain amount of repetition, it also involves comprehension and output in both spoken and written form. Even in a conversation class, there should be some variation between listening, speaking, and conversational activities.
Your teacher may have sufficient teaching materials, but this also gives him or her an opportunity to be creative with additional resources. A teacher can use Japanese news and culture to help you develop real-life connections to the material you’re learning, or he or she can incorporate fun games and learning activities in your lessons. It’s important for your teacher to use variety of teaching methods to keep you motivated and interested in learning.
As a student or parent, you may have some specific things that you’d like to find in an instructor. These general guidelines, however, should give you an idea of the must-have qualities you should look for in a Japanese teacher. Ready to start learning? Find a Japanese teacher near you.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She also studied Japanese in high school and college. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!
Photo by City Year