If you want to learn Japanese in a class, how do you find one? There are a lot of choices that you may be confused about. It is something you will spend a lot of money and time on, so you may be anxious about whether you can find the right class for you. In this article, we will show you how to find the perfect Japanese language class for you and the characteristics of the most popular Japanese language classes in each area. By reading to the end, you will know how to choose the best Japanese language class for you!
- Research on the Internet
- Points for choosing a Japanese language class
- Effective Methods of Learning Japanese
Research on the Internet
First, we will tell you how to look up on the Internet. You can use search engines, which are familiar to us all, to find Japanese language classes and other classes held in your neighborhood. We have compiled a list of ways to gather information from local community centers, social network services, and word of mouth as ways to do your research.
Local Community Centers
First, we will show you how to gather information on Japanese language classes offered at community centers and educational institutions. To find Japanese language classes in your neighborhood, first search for “Japanese language class ○○ (place name). At the top of the page, you will often find a website with information about Japanese language exchange places in that area. Use this as a reference to check whether the place is easy to get to and the class’s learning policy. There should be a wide variety of Japanese language courses at universities, local Japanese language schools, volunteer Japanese language classes, and classes where the main focus is on experiencing Japanese culture such as kimonos. Please check them first.
Once you find a Japanese class you are interested in, the next thing you should be concerned about is its reputation. Is it really the place I imagined? To eliminate such concerns, try using social networking services and word-of-mouth sites. If the Japanese language class you are interested in has an official social networking service account, it is a good idea to check it and also look at the real voices of learners using hashtags and location information. There are also sites that compile reviews of Japanese language classes, so check what kind of comments have been written. Of course, you cannot be sure if the reviews are true or not, but it is a necessary step to choose a Japanese language class that you are satisfied with.
Points for choosing a Japanese language class
Some of you may not know what to check even if you look at official websites and word-of-mouth. Here are some pointers to help you find the right Japanese language class for you. Let’s look at three points in order: target age and level, class format, and instructor qualifications and experience.
Target age and level
Let’s look at the target age and level. First, you need to check whether the class is for children or adults. Then, check the level of Japanese targeted by the Japanese language class. There are classes for beginners, which start from zero-based learning of characters, and levels that allow students to read hiragana and katakana in one step, and from there move up to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. In order to choose the class that best suits your age and level, it is important to know your current level. In addition, think about the level you would like to achieve. If you want to start from zero and work your way up to advanced level, but the Japanese language school only offers beginner level classes, you may need to change schools.
For more information on Japanese language levels, please refer to the following websites.
・JF Japanese Language Standard
・NPO Japanese Multi-Reading
Secondly, let’s look at class format. The two main points are online or face-to-face instruction, and group or individual instruction. It is best to decide according to your learning style and objectives. For example, the advantage of online is that it does not require commuting time. You can study anytime and anywhere, so you can devote your spare time to learning Japanese. On the other hand, those who want to interact directly or ask questions in person may find it less enjoyable. In the case of face-to-face instruction, there is the hassle of commuting to school, but you will often feel closer to the teacher and other learners. In addition, in the case of group instruction, there is the benefit of learning from the questions of other learners and of maintaining motivation by learning together. Conversely, the advantage of individual instruction is that you can ask questions and express your opinions without worrying about other learners, and you can proceed at your own pace. It is a good idea to consider the ideal class you are looking for.
Instructor qualifications and experience
Thirdly, we will review the qualifications and experience of the instructor and explain how to choose the class that will provide the best instruction for you. As for qualifications of Japanese language instructors, check whether they have completed a four-year university or graduate school majoring in Japanese language education, whether they have the Japanese Language Teaching Proficiency Test, and whether they have taken a training course designated by the Japanese government. If they have one of these, they have extensive knowledge of Japanese language education. Regarding experience, it is also helpful to know whether they have taught using a medium such as English or a direct method in Japanese. If you feel more comfortable if they have a long history of teaching, it is also a good idea to see how many years they have been involved in Japanese language education.
Effective Methods of Learning Japanese
Now that you know more about Japanese language classes, aren’t you wondering how you can learn Japanese more effectively? From here, we will introduce some learning methods and effective practice methods that will help you learn Japanese. First, we summarize how to learn grammar and vocabulary effectively. Next, we will also explain how to acquire practical conversational skills.
Learning Grammar and Vocabulary
First, we will introduce how to learn grammar and vocabulary efficiently. As a resource for self-study outside of class, some popular apps such as Duolingo are a great way to learn grammar and vocabulary in one place. We also recommend using YouTube grammar instructional videos and self-study reference books or workbooks. It is effective to read through the book first, review it the next day, review it a week later, and review it a month later, and so on. It will help you retain it more effectively if you input again when you think you are forgetting it. Please check this article for a detailed summary of the learning method.
Acquire practical conversational skills
When you are studying grammar and vocabulary on your own, don’t you want to try using them in real conversations? To acquire practical conversational skills, it is effective to use conversation practice in class and language exchange events. However, there is often a problem that conversation practice in Japanese language classes alone does not provide enough opportunities for output. In the case of group instruction, it may be difficult to speak only for yourself because you are concerned about other learners. For such people, we recommend a language exchange event. Instead of a one-way relationship of teaching and being taught, you can take turns speaking each other’s language, so you can output without hesitation. It is also attractive for practical conversation because you can talk to each other as if you were friends, not as Japanese language teachers and learners.
Deepen your cultural understanding and communication skills
Even though you are learning Japanese, Japanese culture is inseparable from the Japanese language. Exposure to Japanese culture and customs will help you learn Japanese more effectively and deepen your communication skills. For example, Ohanasi Kagawa‘s language exchange events focus on culture as well as language. There is no fee to participate, and the ease of taking the course online on weekends makes it a popular choice. Japanese and English learners are paired up one-on-one and switch between English and Japanese every 15 minutes, so they can enjoy talking to each other without hesitation. Rules are set up so that all participants can feel comfortable, so even those who are new to online events can feel at ease. Please check it out.
That said, you might still not be confident in your Japanese speaking ability. You’re not sure how to study Japanese. For people like that, we are currently offering free Japanese language consultation and free lessons for a limited number of 10 people each month.
You don’t know how to study Japanese. If you are interested in taking Japanese lessons to solve what you don’t understand, please feel free to join us.
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We have introduced how to choose the Japanese language class that is right for you and our recommendations. There are many options for learning Japanese. It is important to clarify the goal you are aiming for and the points you want to emphasize. Please refer to the above points, word of mouth, and experiences to find the best method of learning Japanese for you.