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Year 9 Japanese

Guidance for parents

What will students be studying in Japanese this year?


Building on the foundations laid in Y8, students will broaden their vocabulary and learn a wider range of structures, so that they can build extended sentences, refer to past events and ask and answer questions. Specific topics covered include describing oneself and others, a past holiday, talking about activities we do, food and shopping. Lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing and the continued focus on oral as well as written communication, aims to equip students to really be able to use the language now and in the future.  We will be also learning about cultural aspects such as table manners.  This is be practiced by going to a Japanese restaurant in the Summer Term by ordering the food, and say the greetings at the table and to use chopsticks.

Expectations of Students in Japanese

The Y9 Japanese course takes place after school for an hour each week with an additional 35 minutes lunch time lesson on a different day of the week.  Most of the students sit for the GCSE exam at the end of Y10 although it is possible to leave it until Y11, if the student is not ready.  In view of its accelerated nature students have every opportunity to develop their ability to be independent learners.  To this end self-assessment is an important element of the course.  The starter of each lesson is especially important to both the teacher and the students to ensure that they have understood the previous lesson’s work.  Students should not worry unduly about making mistakes, especially in oral work as that is an important step in the learning process. Students’ written work is marked using the MFL department’s marking codes adopted for Japanese which identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction so that students learn to redraft their own work. They will usually be given the opportunity to do this and to ask any questions in lessons.

What are the major assessments this year?

Apart from a mini test every 3 or 4 weeks, which includes Kanji test, there will be an Oral exam/presentation ahead of the Y9 End of Year Exam.  The Listening Test is done during lessons for each topic.

What will the current performance grade be based on and what do the levels mean?

The students’ 4 skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing) are assessed regularly, both in class and by homework exercises.  The current performance level in Japanese is lower compared to other subjects simply because the students have to learn a writing system that is totally new to them.  Therefore, even if a student’s grade in Japanese is lower, it does not mean she is a weaker at the subject.  You should be guided by if she is on track or not.  Although this is only the second year of learning Japanese, by the end of the year your daughter will be fully equipped to proceed to GCSE should she wish.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

Your daughter should seek advice from her subject tutor who will help identify the precise aspect of the course that is presenting a problem and be able to suggest ways to aid understanding of grammar or alphabets learning.  The Unit Two book is supported by tutorial videos on line.   These can be found at

www.japanese4schools.co.uk  where the students can do extra work sheets to go with the book.  Also, the students have an opportunity to be entered into the Language Perfect Championships twice a year where they can practice the Unit 2 book as well as Katakana, Kanji, and other vocabulary.

How can I support my daughter in Year 9?

The best way to support your daughter is by taking an interest in her work in Japanese.  No prior knowledge is required!  Indeed if you have never studied Japanese you might find it interesting for your daughter to share some of her learning with you, as this is a powerful way for her to re-inforce her knowledge and understanding of the subject.  It is alsways a good idea asking her to explain what she has been doing in class, testing her on the vocabulary she has learnt, and looking through her book with her will help her consolidate her learning. Do encourage and praise her for her efforts. Please support your daughter’s efforts to use her own language in her written and oral work rather than relying on Google translate. Electronic translation tools give strange translations.  Getting used to use her dictionary is encouraged.  We use Oxford Beginner’s Japanese Dictionary.  

What kind of independent work should my daughter be completing?

Although your daughter will be set regular homework targeted at a specific set of vocabulary and grammar, she needs to take responsibility for regular revision of all aspects of the subject. The homework should be done at home and not just before the lesson at school or on the day the homework is set and not doing anything until the next lesson.  This is especially important for your daughter’s progression.  It is good practice to spend a few minutes looking through the lesson notes as soon as possible after the class, and then again a few days later, rather than forgetting all about it till the next lesson! This is particularly true when it comes to learning new vocabulary and grammar. It does not need to take a long time but will help to keep the language fresh in the mind.

Whom can I contact for further advice and information?

Mr.Moren has oversight of the twilight language courses and will be pleased to follow up any queries.  peter.moren@newsteadwood.co.uk

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