【The Nonaka Method】The Important Method: For those students who don’t like Japanese…

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(Note: The following is an instruction for Japanese teaching setting)

Are your struggling with students’ behaviour in your Japanese class?

One of the fundamental reasons for their “misbehaviour” in the class is that they don’t feel Japanese is important to them!

Everyone has a unique set of values (hierarchy of values), 1st important, 2nd important, 3rd important,….., the least important whether or not you are conscious of it.  If you live the most important thing in your life, you don’t need external motivation to take action and you will automatically get inspired to take action.  You will be disciplined, reliable and more focus on  it.  But, on the other hand, if it is the least important to you, you would need external motivation (e.g., reward or punishment).  You will be hesitated, frustrated, and procrastinate with it.

What if learning Japanese is the least important to the student?   Do we need to give up teaching him/her Japanese?

The answer is NO.

We could help the student make Japanese one of the most important values by linking his/her values to learning Japanese!

The method is simple.  All you need is to ask your students (that could be everyone or just those who have behaviour problems):

  • How is learning Japanese important to you?
  • How is learning Japanese good to you?
  • How does learning Japanese help you make your dreams come true?
  • How does learning Japanese fulfill your most important things?
  • etc.

If your student is stuck and he/she does not know how to answer, use my template (The important method 2).  Or if your student pretends to be a “good” student to write “beautiful” generic answers (e.g., I can make lots of Japanese friends. / I can get A without study, etc.), I would recommend you to encourage your students to use The important method 2.

Before starting this task, please make sure to ask your students to write their core identity (the most important thing in their lives) and their future dreams (what you want to be, what you want to do, what you want to have) on the top of the sheet.

【Task 1】Write down at leats 5 Japanese activities you can enjoy in our Japanese class or outside Japanese class.

The purpose of this task is to help your students discover many Japanese opportunities in their daily life. The more they find Japanese opportunities they can enjoy, the more link they can find between them and Japanese things.

If you have a time, maybe you could ask students to share their stories of when they encounter Japanese culture.

【Task 2】How can learning Japanese help you?  Can it help you do what you want to do?  Can it help you have what you want?  Complete the following sentences by thinking of your core identity and future dreams.

The purpose of this task is to connect their individual highest values or dreams with learning Japanese.  Learning Japanese does not necessary mean self-introduction, origami, etc.  The process of learning Japanese contains a variety of development through many input and output including learning memory strategies, improving logical thinking, improving high order thinking, deepening cultural understandings, improving communication skills, etc.

Learning Japanese does not necessary mean self-introduction, origami, etc.  The process of learning Japanese contains a variety of development through many input and output including learning memory strategies, improving logical thinking, improving high order thinking, deepening cultural understandings, improving communication skills, etc.

What students can do is to write their idea after “it can help me….” based on their core identity or future dreams.  For example, let’s take a look at the first one.

If your student wants to be an AFL player, he might write learning memory strategy is important for me because it can help me memorise information of the other team, skills, and techniques of AFL, and diet information to be a great AFL player…

If they cannot write by themselves, you could ask some questions like, “Tom, what would you like to be in the future?”  “An AFL player!”  “OK, in order to be a great AFL player, what do you think you might have to memorise?”  “Well, new skills or technique….”

Questions1Questions2

I would like to recommend you to encourage your students to write at least 20 answers from the above on a piece of paper!  Please do not use a computer or tablets since writing with a hand enhance more brain activities.

It would be ideal that they complete this sheet within 45 min (30min!).  But generally speaking, it takes 30 minutes to 2 hours on average.  So what I would normally do is to ask them to answer a couple of points at each lesson.

And if student is stuck, maybe your student could do:

  • Ask students questions related to their future dreams or core identities such as “In order to be a great dance, how is improving communication skills important to you?”
  • Expanding one benefit to more benefits.  For example, “if you learn patience, what is good for you?” “I can be also patient for my friends.” “OK if you are patient for your friends, what will be good for you?” “Well, I can have the better relationship with my friends.” “If you have a better relationship with your friends, what will be good for you?” “I can avoid a fight or bullying with my friends!”
  • Asking benefits in the seven areas of our life: Spiritual benefits, mental benefits, learning/vocational benefits, financial benefits, familial benefits, health benefits, and social benefits, etc.

And most importantly, you, as a teacher, would also need to find enough benefits to teaching such a “difficult” student.  If you find enough benefits to teaching those students, you will be grateful and inspired to teach Japanese more!

 

Thank you and Arigato,

Tsunehiro Nonaka

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