Although geographically far removed from many parts of the world, Japan is visited by millions and millions of people every year.
This is partially because of Japan's relations with the western world, but also because people are attracted by the culture and history.
Have you always been drawn to the land of the rising sun? Has Japanese culture always fascinated you?
Maybe what fascinates you most is that the Japanese archipelago has managed to open up to the world without abandoning its traditions and culture.
While most of your classmates are looking for a direction in school, you already have yours mapped out; you want to become a Japanese teacher in your own country.
Speaking the Japanese language - nihongo in Japanese - is a major asset in the context of globalization and trade where states and companies compete in the large global market.
By speaking Japanese you will be able to take a different career path, and one that is not open to the vast proportion of the world's population; teaching Japanese.
However you still have several questions:
- where and how should you train in order to teach Japanese?
- the best way to make your students progress
To become a Japanese language teacher, it is necessary to:
- take classes to learn Japanese
- learn Japanese literature
- perhaps do a language exchange with Japan.
Here is a Superprof list for what it takes to become a Japanese teacher.
How You Can Teach Japanese Lessons Where You Live
The are plenty of great reasons to learn Japanese. But because it is geographically a long way places like Europe, North America, and Australia, you can sometimes struggle to find somewhere to learn Japanese near to where you live.
More and more students are learning the Japanese around the world, for a variety of different reasons. Some study Japanese to learn about Japan, others have a desire to live and work there, whilst there are some students who simply want to test themselves by learning a language with a different writing system.
Whatever your motivation is (and being motivated is important when learning any language), there are many learning structures offering Japanese language classes.
Since the mid 1990s, students have been more and more interested in learning the language. This has to do with the number of young people taking trips over to Tokyo and falling in love with Japanese.
As a result, there is a higher demand for qualified teachers for this language.
This testifies to the growing prestige of becoming a Japanese language teacher in your own country.
The Japanese Embassy website where you live will list many organizations teaching the Japanese language. Depending on where you live you might find some high schools and some colleges, where getting a degree in Japanese is an option. Some of them you can also go on to get a Master's and PhD in the language. This will definitely mean you can work in Japan after you've graduated if you so wish.
Students who have not studied Japanese in school can learn Japanese online, or with a private tutor in the comfort of you own house. Some of the best ways to learn Japanese are as follows:
- Asian and oriental language schools
- private associations in most major cities
- Japanese cultural centers
- Private lessons: through specialized organizations like Superprof with native speakers, bilingual tutors, or graduates of a Japanese program.
- Japanese lessons online: there are some sites where you can (sometimes) learn Japanese quickly and for free
So, does your son or daughter want to become a Japanese teacher? Where should he or she study the language? Or should they learn Japanese online?
The Necessary Training in Order to Give Japanese Classes
Even if Japanese is your mother tongue, speaking Japanese is not enough to teach the language and you will normally be asked to have a degree to teach the Japanese language.
You must master the Japanese alphabet - kanji, hiragana, katakana -, Japanese writing, grammar, vocabulary (in Japanese, Yamato-Kotoba), the phonetics of Japanese, as well as be able to transmit all this to your students.
A BA in Japanese Language and Literature
Learning Japanese for business reasons is causing more people to want to speak the language, and a lot of universities in the western world are now offering Japanese degrees to reflect this.
Obviously if you want to study in a big city such as London, New York, Toronto, or Sydney, your chances of finding a suitable course will increase. But most big towns and cities might have something you are looking for so be sure to contact your local university to see what they have on offer.
A BA in Japanese is usually open to beginners. It will help you:
- to acquire language skills in Japanese
- to learn about Japanese history, literature, language, and culture.
Classes are centered on written and oral knowledge of the language.
With this degree, the focus is on learning syllabic writing and understanding the kanji.
The diploma allows the student to become a confirmed Japanese speaker, as well as improving his or her knowledge about Japanese civilization and history, pronunciation, grammar, syntax, as well as the Japanese lexicon.
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
Much like the TOEIC and TOEFL for second language English speakers, the JPLT is the test to pass if you are looking to validate your language skills in Japanese.
What does it consist of?
It is called "Nihongo Nōryoku Shiken" in Japanese.
The JLPT means tan internationally recognized diploma, which may be required to enroll in a Japanese university, for those who want to go to Japan before teaching back at home.
The test is divided into five parts and has five levels. Candidates must answer a standardized multiple-choice test in the "Minna no Nihongo" form (a common method for learning Japanese).
Level 5 (beginner in Japanese), candidates are asked to know 80 kanji and 600 vocabulary words.
At level 1, the hardest level, the candidates must master approximately 2,000 kanji and 10,000 words of vocabulary.
The tests consist of kanji reading exercises, listening comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary.
Do you think you already have enough knowledge in Japanese? Would you prefer to speak Japanese rather than learn how to write in the language? Go to Japan and experience linguistic and cultural immersion!
Japanese Courses for Traveling to Japan
Traveling feeds youth, they say. It also introduces people to their passions and helps with neuron plasticity. Some people decide to learn Japanese for a trip to Japan, whilst others actually decide to move to the land of the rising sun to learn the language itself via a language exchange program.
Indeed, a language exchange program in the land of the rising sun will speed up your language learning process if Japanese is not your mother tongue.
Japan is 98 percent indigenous. In other words, you will experience a complete linguistic and cultural immersion, which will help greatly in your understanding of the Japanese language.
Moreover, when you return from your trip to Japan you will feel the need to share the beautiful language and culture with your friends and family.
From Sapporo to Fukuoka City to Kyoto, here are some language programs you should look into:
- ESL, studying abroad
- Japanese Institute located in Tokyo: Intensive Japanese courses for all levels (beginner, elementary, intermediate, advanced)
How to Earn a Living from Your Japanese Skills
Note that if you are an advanced Japanese speaker, it is very easy to become a private Japanese tutor by using the Superprof website.
No degree is required for tutoring, you will "just" need to be competent enough to teach your students.
You can travel to the students in your city and teach them the basics of the Japanese language:
- Japanese alphabet
- basic vocabulary (say thank you - arigato - in Japanese, hello - ohayo - or I love you in Japanese)
- understanding of kanji, hiragana katakana.
You can set your own prices, but obviously the higher your level of Japanese, and the more experience you have, you more you should realistically charge.
For example, mention what your courses consist of:
- oral conversation
- pronunciation and phonetics
- kanji recognition exercises, hiragana, katakana
- reading and writing the syllabic alphabet
But, can you survive with the Japanese language if you don't choose to be a tutor?
You could become an interpreter or a translator and translate from Japanese to English. You could also become a tourist guide.
News, novels, mangas, tourist brochures, scripts... There are many possible choices offered to you if you are a full bilingual.
For example, if in addition to loving Japanese, you also love Japanese culture, start your own business and translate mangas for example.
The benefits of learning Japanese are almost endless!
You need to know roughly 2000 kanji to get started. So let's get going! Find japanese classes london here!
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