December 8, 2016 at 1:11 am #105
Hello students! My name is Hitomi Meyer, and I am the teacher here at NihongoForum.
I lived in the US from 2012-2016 and first started teaching at the Japanese Language School of Philadelphia. I taught Japanese and math to 4th and 5th graders for 2 years. I also taught Japanese to adults at the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia for 4 years using the Genki 1 and 2 textbooks. I myself studied English in Japan for many years, and then I took ESL classes before enrolling in college in the US. I know how hard learning a second language is, let along using it every day!
I love teaching Japanese and I love my students, so I decided to continue teaching Japanese remotely after moving back to Japan in 2017. I like games, birds, and learning about different cultures. I am so happy to share Japanese life and language with you.
The importance of writing with your hand
I worked in an elementary school and taught kanji to 4th and 5th graders. The students who did their homework (writing the same kanji over and over again by hand) learned new kanji more quickly than the others. Using your hand reinforces your memory and helps to memorize kanji. Learning the proper stroke order can help your kanji look neat. There are many websites which can tell you the stroke order (here’s one).
The importance of recording
I lived in the US for 4 years and faced many situations where I knew I could answer the question, but the words just wouldn’t come out. Even though I knew the grammar and vocabulary, sometimes I just couldn’t produce a sentence. It’s because I had not practiced speaking. Reading, writing, and listening are very different from speaking. I think speaking is the most difficult part of language. To improve your speaking skills, you have to keep speaking correct Japanese. I have seen people here who cannot speak a single word despite living in Japan for over 5 years. This is because they haven’t practiced actually speaking Japanese.
Recording is a very helpful study method because you can listen to it by yourself. You will notice your own speech tendencies, like your tempo. I recorded my own voice when I studied English too. It was embarrassing to listen to at first, but it was important in becoming able to actually use the language.
Getting someone to check your grammar, pronunciation, and writing/speaking style is also very important. Even though Japanese pronunciation is simple, sometimes people might not understand you. Some words are a little difficult to pronounce. Also, intonation and rhythm are very important in Japanese, just as they are in English. If you learned Japanese primarily from anime, movies, and listening to Japanese friends speaking casually, you may have picked up some strange and unfortunate speaking habits. You need to learn proper Japanese to have proper conversations and not come across as rude or ignorant.
I hope you’ll let me help you!
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