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I just got my results back.... and I PASSED MY INTERMEDIATE JAPANESE PLACEMENT TEST! So now I can actually take a real Japanese class at college O_______O
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But hey, if you think a class is a good idea, Kisshu, don't let me stop you
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I dunno. There are some pretty good arguments against language classes. Antimoon has a good article on it here
OK, so I read that article. I agree for the most part with what they're saying. However, they are avoiding one golden rule:
You get out what you put in.
When you are a student of any subject, your teacher will give you the necessities. They are there to help you through the program and answer your questions. If you follow this along like a sheep, then you will pass the class but not get as much out of it as you could have.
Excellent students know how to make the most of their time outside of class. Know how to use their resources, to find study partners or learn who the TA's are and approach them with problems. In the case of language study, to find conversation partners either from class, elsewhere on campus, or even on the internet.
It's all about the goal of the student. If your goal is just to pass the class, then you are -not- going to learn what you hoped to learn. It's not going to just soak into your brain as the instructor lectures. It's the student's responsibility to be proactive and utilize what they learn each session.
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Haha... well I think it'll help lots since my speaking/listening skills are nonexistant.
Well lets hope your school has a good Japanese program, because after six semesters our listening/speaking skills are still non-exsistant. Not that I'm bashing Japanese in the classroom or anything, I've had/have great teachers and I have learned a lot taking the class and I am glad I have taken them.
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I dunno. There are some pretty good arguments against language classes.
I think it depends a lot on the individual and the class, but I've personally found language classes to be overrated for me personally. I have a number of reasons why this has been so for me.
When I have an early morning class, not only does it significantly reduce the value I can get from the class, but it also leaves me tired and disinclined to work for the rest of the day. If I have early morning classes every day this can reduce my learning ability for the whole weak.
When I have homework I tend to procrastinate. Very badly. This is especially true when the instructions for the homework have been vague or the homework isn't very interesting as is often the case. Not only would much of that procrastination time have been used effectively had I been self studying, but I tend to procrastinate till the very last minute leaving me the very minimum of sleep and feeding back into 1.
I've never been in a class that's really been the right level for me. This means I have to slow down to the class's pace and is also demotivating. There is also an incentive to not do more work than I have to. When self studying you are only challenging yourself so I tend to work much harder.
Much of the work done in class isn't a very effective use of class time in my opinion. This includes things like reading comprehension, kanji writing practice and some of the grammar explanations and listening exercises. All of these things can be done very effectively at home. Having a teacher to answer questions is useful, but when we have such a great forum as this it's not essential.
I have to say I have had benefits from the speaking practice and roleplays etc. in classes (although they could have done with a lot more of it) and being expected to write paragraphs and remember kanji but I'm still not sure that standard classes are the most effective way to train those skills for me.
In any case, I know a lot of people can get great benefits from going to classes so I'd never advise anyone against going if they have the chance, I just wanted to say why I don't think they are always best for everyone in every circumstance.
I think the biggest benefit of classes is nothing to do with learning the language but more to do with meeting other people (ie your classmates) who share a common interest and a common goal.
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P.S. I've just had emails telling me my Genki study books have just been sent lol, I'll finally be doing some proper studying rather than learning from a silly 15-minute or 45-minute a day Japanese book...
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I took French in High school. All i remember is "Je ne parle pas le francais."
Well, if you are going to learn one sentence, I suppose that is the one to learn . Unfortunately French is about the least phonetic of the major romance languages (errm... depending on whether or not you consider Romanian major), so who knows if you'll be understood if you pronounce that as it is written. I was actually set to the task of "TA"ing French when I was in the 8th grade... basically they sent all the useless students into the library and let me try to teach them French. That ended when I smacked someone around a bit for making one too many "piss in the piscine" jokes.
Most language classes are useless because they fail to provide the one thing that they can uniquely provide- feedback. I don't need help to learn to read a language- if I'm really concentrating on it I can learn more in a month than would be covered in a semester of an intensive course, and learn it better. The same is true of listening, if I have enough material to listen to, though that is harder to put on a schedule.
The template is set by junior high- classes are inherently adversarial, the instructor pitted against the student. By the time I went to Uni I was a bit older than the average student- I wound up opting out of the classroom almost entirely. I showed up for the tests, and for a few classes that really were useful. And I showed up for my language classes... attendance was required for those. My experience in them was not pleasant, though I suppose I did hear a lot of Chinese, at a time when that was otherwise difficult. The one thing I did not get, and the one thing I would have valued, was feedback.
If you need your hand held through the process of passive language acquisition you need to grow a pair, as far as I'm concerned. The problem is that Uni students are generally still juveniles in this respect. They have to be smacked around a bit, and that smacking around takes up all the energy that could be spent on learning the language- the program I went to spent half the class time on tests to make sure you had read the material, and then passed people who hadn't, much.
There are only two things that I need help with when learning a language. They are pronunciation and usage (grammar is subsumed in that heading). Unfortunately, these are important things. And, while I could have written parts of AJATT, or whatever it is, myself (I was thinking about doing so, though my thunder has been stolen now )... its author underestimates the amount of feedback children get. The only way to help me with those things is to ruthlessly correct me. Every minute a class spends "teaching" me a language rather than correcting my usage is a wasted minute.
So, classes are potentially very useful. Few are as useful as the same time spent with some books, or a TV show. From what YT says, it sounds like some schools are getting better, but until schools assume that their students will take responsibility for things they can do on their own, classes will be more punitive than instructive.
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Most learners need classes because they are unable to organize the material and come up with a study plan, and they need external motivation to do the work. Obviously not everyone falls into these categories, but judging from the number of people who come in here and declare that they will learn Japanese, and then disappear after 10 posts, it's not an idle concern. I can see people not being happy with specific classes, but I would never make a sweeping recommendation that someone should completely avoid all classes without even trying them.
From what YT says, it sounds like some schools are getting better,
I don't know about that -- OSU's program has always been rather idiosyncratic in a lot of ways. The heavy focus on oral work in OSU's program is due in large part to the difficulty of learning to speak a language on your own. (However, many students do not appreciate this and just complain that we don't teach enough kanji.)
its author underestimates the amount of feedback children get.
Children do not rely on explicit feedback to learn language; in fact, they tend to steadfastly ignore explicit feedback and refuse to incorporate any corrections into their speech. Adults don't have the luxury of learning the same way as children do, though.
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I have to say, each person has different and special needs usually unique to that person. Some do better in a structured, organized environment. Others, do better in a less structured, less organized environment.
Some classes offer extra materials and some campuses have a "japanese" house, where you are required to spend a certain number of hours a week (should you decide to join) using Japanese only and building your conversation ability. This also gives you a small "immersion" experience that can be fun for some and downright intimidating to others.
Some people like the solitude of individual study, where they determine what they want to learn and others like to be told what is more important to learn.
The thing here is to determine where you are kisshu. Take advantage of every opportunity and then dtermine if that is going to benefit you or not. It's like trying new food. If you don't try it, you will never know what it tastes like. However, if you do try it and find it unappealing, you don't have to eat it any more. If, on the other hand, you try it and you like it, you can come back for more.
What I am saying is that we can over analyze and make the whole learning experience a sterile, percentage based, numbers thing and that would certainly turn most people off. Rather, think of your education as a living breathing thing that you nurture. By trying new things you can see what makes the "plant" grow better and what stunts it. Then apply that "fertilizer" and move forward. Pretty soon, you will have a very solid knowledge and nothing will be able to hold you back.
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