Through project work students are given a chance to put their acquired knowledge to use, by using practical Japanese outside of the class to research, plan, and prepare a presentation. As an example, we will take a look at a beginner’s group who chose to make a presentation about “Wagashi” (Japanese sweets).
First, students decide someplace they’d like to go to or something they’d like to experience based on their interests. This group decided to go to a Wagashi-making event held at a long-standing Japanese sweets shop in Kyoto.
Choose a topic
After experiencing it first hand, students decide which specific topic they’d like to research further. This group chose to present themes such as:
- How to make Wagashi
- History and ingredients
- Interview with a Wagashi artisan
- Ingredients and shapes of Wagashi
Once the topics have been decided, it’s time for research. Students put their Japanese to use outside of the classroom to conduct interviews, surveys and research through the internet. This group went around to famous Wagashi shops in Kyoto, interviewing employees and Wagashi artisans.
After all the research has been conducted, students gather their information to create a manuscript and slides for their presentation. Then comes practice; Group members check each others’ pronunciation, mannerisms, and volume of voice, making sure everyone is well-prepared.
Other classes gather to watch the presentation. This way, students are able to fully show the hard work and effort they put into their project. Once the presentation is over, everyone in the group feels a sense of accomplishment that they made it through to the end.
Finally, the group receives feedback from the class. By watching a video of their presentation they can see themselves objectively and look back on the efforts they made from the beginning to the end.