I have been teaching Japanese language for over six years, and have worked with people from various backgrounds. About a few years ago, I noticed significant differences in learning styles between this artist and engineer that I tutored individually. I had worked with them for sometimes, and used different teaching methods during their lessons. This artist student enjoyed engaging in interactive activities and it was very important for her to write down everything I say and created flashcards with images. I was quite impressed with her creativity in learning a new language. It was overwhelming for her to go over grammars so it was important to do more activities and brainstorm the overall point of learning that specific chapter. On the other hand, my engineering student was extremely detailed oriented and he was much more comfortable with reviewing grammars and drilling them in structured lessons. He asked very detailed questions on grammatical rules and how these rules apply to certain words. Working with both of them helped me develop different teaching styles and I guess that’s the benefit of having a personal tutor. If I was a classroom teacher, I would not have been able to customize my lessons based on learners.
I itemized things that I did to help them learn Japanese, and it seemed to work for them.
For an artist student:
- use different colors and images in learning new words.
- involve extensive activities and use conversation based on various situations.
- create a sentence using new words
- always explain the overall purpose of each chapter before going over specific grammars.
Learning grammars is essential to become fluent in a foreign language but helping her learn them through visual and interactive exercises worked well for this person.
For an engineer:
- create a very structured lesson each time.
- analyze grammars extensively and explain how they are applied to verbs and adjectives.
- learning grammars in specific orders that are logical to him and explain if he couldn’t answer correctly.
- fill in a blank worked much better than asking him to answer freely.
I am interested in learning more about left brain and right brain, so thought I should share my experiences with you. Well, I think the most important thing is to enjoy learning Japanese language so I would always encourage my students to adopt their own learning styles. Whatever works for them, they should use. 😀
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