Pronunciation of the word “one” is as important as it is vital. Therefore, a great degree of teaching is required.
As most students revert to lesser pronunciations such as “wun”, “wuhn”, or “won”, it is the duty of the teacher to repeatedly yell “one” while pointing to the written word.
In addition to pronunciation of the word being of higher difficulty for the Japanese students, up until the late 1800s there was no concept of “1” or “0” in Japanese, lending to their concept of teamwork. If they used Katakana to write “team”, it would look like “chiimu” (チーム), but still wouldn’t have an “i” in it because it would have two “i”s.
If the student is unfamiliar with the concept of 1 and 0, it is best to draw an image of a group of people. Ask the student to provide names and short backgrounds for each image of a person. After that has been established, explain that they are all dying, and use a red marker to represent blood, and a black marker to cross out their eyes or draw widows. With one person left alive, say the word “one” and have the student repeat. Draw a representation of death for the final person and say “zero” and have the student repeat. This will help the student to associate the numbers with the concept.
Japanese English learners are a unique group of people in that there is very little student-teacher touching within the classroom. If the students travel abroad, they are often shocked at the amount of touching and embracing that occurs in other school systems.
To ease the student into the concept of touching, it is best to start early and often. Any negative reactions must be strongly reprimanded, and positive reactions praised and rewarded with snacks.
If dealing with a female student, start by complementing her on her skin complexion before laying your hand on her forearm. As most Japanese, she will recoil at first, but persistence is key. As your level of trust increases, you may grip her forearm for several minutes at a time as a demonstration of trust between the two of you. When dealing with male students, it is best to compliment their knuckles, but not to use your fingers to touch them. Start with your own knuckles and gently tap theirs while saying the alphabet.
Students who have been taking classes for years often reach the point where the entire class is spent in a warm, non-sensual embrace with their teacher, only breaking the embrace to take notes or write on the board.
We’ve all had multiple instances of students crying in classrooms, and it never gets any easier to deal with. Crying is a selfish, one-sided behavior that the students resort to when they no longer wish to express themselves with words. Great care must be taken in these situations to get the student to convey their true emotions.
If a student is beginning to cry, tell them to stop firmly, but not menacingly. Place several word cards on the table representing emotions and have the student point to all of the emotions that they are feeling. Often, their lack of vocabulary is what makes them cry instead of flustered, confused, frustrated, annoyed, confounded, perplexed, or enraged. By pointing to these words on the table, the students can let you as a teacher know how they feel, and then you can find the root cause of their crying.
Many teachers have not been properly trained to deal with crying students, despite encountering them on a monthly basis. Sure, it is much easier to throw a book against the wall and storm out of the classroom, but that will not make you a better teacher. Always do your best to pretend you are sympathetic during the class. You can always cancel all of the student’s future classes and cut off contact later.
In Japanese, a rough concept of “ogre”, “demon”, “devil”, and “Satan” are all combined into a single word; oni(鬼).
An oni is a large, horned orge that lives in the underworld and eats pickled beets. It often carries a club, or a stone axe. The first oni to be photographed was by the then-emporer Meiji’s court photographer in the year 1871, although this was later determined to be the court entertainer who had dressed himself in a goat hide.
Due to the confusing amalgam of concepts surrounding oni, many students have a difficult time distinguishing between devils, demons, and orges. To combat this confusion, bring a dictionary into the classroom and have the student copy down the meanings of all of the words. Next, have the student define an oni in Japanese, then translate the definition. With all of the definitions now in English, have the student highlight all of the common words which are shared amongst the definitions, and then finally cut the words out and glue them onto a seperate piece of paper. This new paper now contains the correct definition of “oni”.
This activity can also be performed for other mythical creatures such as tengu, kappa, sentagai, kusobaba, and kusojiijii.
Some students familiar with English gain their abilities through the workplace, bringing a wide range of vocabulary to the classroom. These words can be specialized to the point of being unusable, and corrections should be made to allow the student to accurately communicate with people outside of their industry.
About 12 years ago, we had a doctor who specialized in endoscopic medicine, and performed biopsies on cancerous tissue on a weekly basis. He was dismayed that when talking to native English speakers, he was unable to be understood. This was corrected by moving away from the Latin and Greek that his words were based off of, and converting them into English.
For the sake of clarity, endoscopic became “inside looking”, and biopsy became “living medical examination or inspection”. Many more people began to understand what he was talking about, and therefore held a higher opinion of him.