Years 7 and 8 Band Description
The nature of the learners
Students are beginning their study of Japanese and typically have had little prior exposure to the language and associated culture. Many will have learnt an additional language in primary school, while some have proficiency in different home languages and bring existing language learning strategies and intercultural awareness to the new experience of learning Japanese. Students’ textual knowledge developed through English literacy learning supports the development of literacy in Japanese. Skills in analysing, comparing and reflecting on language and culture in both languages are mutually supportive. Students may need encouragement to take risks in learning a new language at this stage of social development and to consider issues of how the experience impacts on their sense of ‘norms’ associated with their first language and culture.
Japanese language learning and use
Students are encouraged to speak, listen to, read and write Japanese in a range of interactions with the teacher and one another. They use modelled and rehearsed language and gestures in familiar contexts and begin to use learnt language to express their personal meaning. They experiment with sounds and use high-frequency words and expressions, gradually broadening their range of vocabulary and language functions. They develop knowledge of Japanese word order and of grammatical features such as particles, adjectives, verb tenses and politeness forms. They apply this knowledge in simple oral and written texts such as self-introductions and statements relating to themselves and their personal worlds. They become aware of the systematic nature of Japanese grammar and of its importance in conveying meaning. They develop metalanguage to talk about Japanese grammar and to make comparisons and connections with their own language(s).
Students are exposed to all three scripts, hiragana, katakana and kanji, and develop a working knowledge of how these are used to create meaning. They develop proficiency in reading and writing hiragana and use high-frequency katakana and kanji to read and write words and sentences. They work collaboratively and independently, exploring a variety of simple texts with particular reference to their current social, cultural and communicative interests.
Students read, view and listen to a range of texts, and apply modelled language to create and present their own texts. They share grammatical knowledge and language resources to plan, problem-solve, monitor and reflect. They begin to use vocabulary and grammar accurately, drafting and editing texts to improve structure and to clarify meaning. They develop linguistic and cultural awareness through analysing texts, comparing languages, and applying their knowledge in language exercises and tasks.
Learners use a range of processes such as observing, comparing and reflecting on language use to identify how cultural values and perspectives are embedded in language and how language choices determine how people, issues and circumstances are represented. They reflect on intercultural perspectives and on their experience of intercultural communication, exploring aspects of environment, lifestyle and social practices associated with Japanese culture and making comparisons with their own. They develop metalanguage for discussing the nature of language and culture, and monitor and reflect on their language and culture learning through discussion, journalling or contributing to shared digital spaces.
Contexts of interaction
Japanese is used by the teacher and learners in classroom routines, structured interactions and learning tasks. Opportunities for interaction in Japanese are also provided through a range of resources and materials. There may be interaction beyond the classroom with guests or members of Japanese-speaking communities or via digital technology or student exchanges.
Texts and resources
Learners work with a range of resources designed for language learning, such as textbooks, audio recordings, teacher-generated materials and online resources. They read, view and interact with a variety of spoken, written and digital texts created for different purposes (social, informative, transactional, imaginative and expressive). Authentic texts such as advertisements, commercials, film excerpts or recorded conversations provide opportunities for discussion and analysis of the relationship between language, communication and culture.
Features of Japanese language use
Learners become familiar with the sounds and patterns of spoken Japanese, including pronunciation, rhythm and intonation. They identify words borrowed from English, noting differences in pronunciation and spelling. They use Japanese in classroom interactions and short communicative tasks. They participate in scaffolded activities to exchange information and complete transactions. They listen to and read texts to obtain specific details or to understand gist. Learners understand and apply rules/patterns applying to elements of Japanese grammar such as word order, simple verb forms, nouns, adjectives and particles. They understand that language is organised as text, and that texts use different structures and language features to achieve different purposes. They use modelled examples and apply knowledge of language features to create texts for different purposes, such as informative, personal or descriptive. Students develop an awareness of different cultural perspectives. They identify words, phrases and behaviours that convey Japanese traditions and values such as politeness and humility and use these appropriately.
Level of support
Learning at this level is supported by rich and varied language input and the provision of experiences that are challenging but achievable. Opportunities to review and consolidate learning are balanced against provision of engaging and relevant new experiences and connections. Learners rely on teacher talk, instruction, modelling, feedback, and structured opportunities for practising and understanding new language. They are supported to develop increasing autonomy as language learners and users. Support resources include word lists and dictionaries, visual organisers, images and gestures. Learners collaborate with peers in structured pair and group tasks that have clear roles and expectations.
The role of English
English serves two main functions in the Japanese class: it represents a point of reference for learning the new language by enabling students to compare structures, features and cultural meanings in each language, and it is used when appropriate for explanation, reflection and discussion.