In the classroom with Communicative Approach, students are involved in real and meaningful communication at all levels. For example, students often do activities such as interviews, discussions, or research presentations inside/outside our classrooms to perform their Japanese, rather than quietly doing grammar exercises on the textbook. When doing activities in such authentic situations, students’ natural “strategies” for learning and communication are optimized, which facilitate them to learn to communicate real meaning. As a result, lessons are more student-centered and use plenty of authentic materials, with emphasis on the “meaning” rather than the “form” of the Japanese language.
UNDERSTANDING & CAN DO STATEMENT
In our classrooms, teachers ask students lots of questions on every aspect of the Japanese language, but the students will not be given the answers on the spot. Instead, they are expected to observe/analyze the language system/patterns by themselves, discussing with their teachers/classmates or using resources such as textbooks, dictionaries, Internet to reach the answers with their own effort. By doing it, their intellectual or linguistic equipment is exerted, and thus they gain “real” knowledge. In this type of classroom, teachers are not really a “teacher” but a “guide or facilitator” for the students, as the leaning spontaneously takes place within the students with their own skills and abilities.
TEACH WITHOUT TEACHING
Students should not only gain knowledge of the Japanese language, but also be able to utilize that knowledge in their daily/actual encounters. For this purpose, we adopt “Can Do” statements in our evaluation system. Can Do statements describe what students can “do” (not just “know” or “understand”) in the skills of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (e.g. I can talk with friends and colleagues about travel plans or party preparations, etc.). The purpose of these statements is to present accessible information for the students. The statements can help to facilitate discussions/reviews between the teachers and their students about what they have accomplished and what they still need to develop.