Japanese Studies Program @ York University  ヨーク大学日本研究科

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Language Study

Language study involves not only passive aspects [memorization, recitation, drills, pattern practice, etc.] but also active and creative aspects [analysis and comprehension of what is said or written, synthesis of what is learned, and communicative application of the language in actual situations]. In this course communicative aspects are strongly emphasized so that students will be able to function in actual conversation. Therefore, tutorials will not be conducted in such a way that the instructor gives lectures and drills and the students respond to him/her, but instead the students are encouraged to interact with both the instructor and other students in the class in actual communication [active participation]. Those who are not familiar with this type of individualistic, heuristic, and creative language study will need to change their views and learning strategies very fast. In order to help students to become communicative, classes  focus on synergy and empathy in language learning.
There is no one way to study language that is good for every one; every person has a different learning style and strategy. Try out various ways and find the best method and system for you as soon as possible. The following are some suggestions.
  1. Good preparation and review are very important. Always read the explanation of the textbook and the Lecture Notes in order to be familiar with the dialogues, important grammatical items, and new vocabulary before going to the class or LAB.
  2. Try to use what is learned in the class and elsewhere in your own way. Repeating the utterances presented in the textbook alone is not sufficient. Think of situations where you can say what you want to say and how the other party may respond to you.
  3. In recitation and drills always be aware of what you are saying with what purpose. Automatic recitation in LAB without knowing what you are saying is good only for pronunciation practice. Please try to put your feelings into what you are expressing - empathy.
  4. Please learn vocabulary, phrases, structures and characters in synergistic ways, so that you can make a quantum leap (1+1=5, 6, ...) in language learning.
  5. Do not try to review everything at once. You will not have time to go back to review all the lessons covered. A steady accumulation of the knowledge and use of the language is the only way to proceed in language study. You cannot cram everything overnight for the test either.
  6. Make use of weekends for review. When you review, focus on the items difficult to understand, and make sure you understand all the important items involved in the lesson every week. It is helpful to change your review method to avoid boredom.
  7. Study with your friends in your class and if you should miss a class, make sure you get all the information from them. Oral performance will benefit greatly from practicing with your friends or other Japanese students on campus.
  8. Viewing Japanese TV programs and video tapes is helpful for listening comprehension and understanding of sociocultural aspects of Japan.
  9. You can take advantage of TEL (technology enhanced learning). Please become familiarized with the use of computers, software, E-mail, Chat, video-conferencing, web research and presentations, on-line tests, etc.

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