We are officially half-way through winter and half-way through the school year. Hopefully we can begin to find some fresh energy as we look towards the warmer days to come. This mid-point is a perfect time to pause and reflect on how your students are progressing. It is likely that some students are merging ahead in their learning of script whilst others may be lagging behind.
I was reminded the other day of how exciting learning to read for the first time can be. I had been showing a male primary student a few hiragana letters and then lined them up to spell basic words like sushi and sashimi. His amazement and excitement to realise that the letters spelt words that they knew was infectious. There is some concern that boys are often less motivated language learners than females, but deeper investigation reveals that this is often tied more to a lack of progress indicators than a lack of interest in the actual content.
Boys complain it is difficult to see the extent they have improved due to a lack of progress indicators (Pavy 2006). Without such indicators of achievement, their motivation wanes.
Pavy, S.(2006) Boys Learning Languages Babel, v41 n1 p4-11, 38
I have found that boys particularly enjoy kanji and find the visual meaning and the challenge appealing. I have watched students embrace their script studies via self-directed systems such as our Patch system. This system is available for hiragana, katakana, and two levels of kanji. It allows students to work ahead at their own pace and provides progress indicators as they pass each of the 15 levels. It can save teachers hours of preparation time and remove that nagging stress each day of needing to extend students on the spot who have finished the work faster than you expected. This systemic program of differentiation extends the students in a meaningful way.
As we approach the midpoint of the year, try to pause and reflect on one aspect of your students’ progress that you would like to improve upon in the coming months. Where possible, use a systematic approach that you can return to again and again.
If script is your goal, then you may be interested in our Patch system.
If improving student confidence in speaking is your focus, then you may like to try our Speaking stations game or develop your own. The speaking stations game aims to develop a growth mindset in your students and increase time on task in speaking skills.
Resources such as these are only $50. If the budget allows, it may be worth purchasing such an item rather than spending a few weeks making it yourself. Use the time instead to maintain your own well-being so that you can continue to inspire your students with your enthusiasm and energy.
All the best for the start of term 3!