Unforgettable Teaching Experiences

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is filled with biodiversity and rich in cultural aesthetics. The Gulf Coast is known for its beaches, seafood, beautiful landscapes, and booming gaming industry. I introduced Japanese language to students in the rural community, where there are limited opportunities to study Japanese language and culture.

Scroll Below for Video and Audio Presentations of Teaching Demonstrations

  • Teaching with Songs and Lyrics
  • Total Physical Response (TPR) Method “hold on to your chickens”
  • Bridging gaps – “the bathroom classroom”
  • Teaching the Japanese Simple Sentence – “little lambs make a big difference”

My first cohort of students in Mississippi met at Harrison Central High School, 2019.  What began as a full class of learners in collaboration with the Music Department, resulted in a 12-week case study with eight remaining students. I welcome the opportunity to share the experience in this portfolio, which includes Case Study materials from the MAFLT Course, FLT842 Reading in a Foreign Language

During the case study, several students struggled with learning to read the Hiragana syllabary. As an intervention, I introduced the song, For the Beauty of the Earth. They were excited to learn the lyrics, written in the Japanese script. The use of authentic material proved to be effective, and the learning activity resulted in very positive outcomes for the students and me.

Teaching with Songs and Lyrics

Classroom Activities for the First Mississippi Cohort

ちわ麗しく For the Beauty of the Earth

Total Physical Response

Classroom Activities for Younger Learners 2020

Permit me to offer a bit of humor: a chicken in one hand is better than 10 in a coop! For those who’ve raised chickens, you may certainly agree. These junglefowls are hard to catch and harder to hold. My analogy is that student retention poses a threat to all foreign language teachers. Students are hard to get and hold on to, often quitting language courses after short-term study. My teaching philosophy includes motivation. Motivating younger learners often means connecting language to their experiences. Using total physical response (TPR) is a method of making Japanese language an enjoyable past-time, a means to acquiring language proficiency, as well as encouraging autonomous life-long learning.

Click on my neighbor’s chicken…

In Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, I hosted the Japanese Language Summer Camp for a combined classroom of 3rd and 4th graders. My teaching experience with these learners is shared in the attached video (click on my neighbor’s chicken). The video has been edited and does not present the class in its entirety. To preserve privacy, visuals are blurred, but the original audio has been retained. I committed the learners to “can do” statements and the following learning goals.

  • Total Physical Response (numbers to 10)
  • Listening to hear the question particle か ka
  • Reviewing polite expressions and bowing (culture)

Students learn the first two writing systems and I used a themed-curriculum approach, but mainly focused on receptive skills and decoding. Students were also exposed to Japanese culture through pragmatic lessons in speech choice. For older students, participating in summer camp, my focus is on comprehensible input, where the learner is challenged slightly above their level of proficiency. Through the use of corpus materials, learners can access high-frequency words, such as those used in lyrics and role play.

Bridging Gaps in Language Learning Opportunities

The Bathroom Classroom

In the same Summer Camp, I supported a group of learners from the East Biloxi area. A work site, lacking funds to provide a classroom for my Japanese Language and Culture workshop. The principals offered me a “make-shift” classroom, an old inoperative toilet and storage room. Students packed this area, 8-11 yr-old and 12 – 18-yr-old, alternating groups met two-days per week, an hour per day. The room seated 9, with only two work tables. Some days we filled to capacity, with standing room only and no air conditioning; but the students just kept coming!

The Bathroom – Classroom
When there are no other rooms available

Compare-Contrast the Japanese Simple Sentence

Listen to Audio Files of Sheep Just for Fun!

View my Classroom by clicking on the Sheep.

To use the analogy of sheep and lamb: The two animals may have the same characteristics; the terms are often used interchangeably, and both words are nouns. However, like the Japanese sentence structure, compared to the English sentence, sheep and lamb are alike, but different.

Sheep in the key of B
Sheep in the key of D
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