The nature of the learners
At this level, students bring to their learning existing knowledge of Japanese language and culture and a range of learning strategies. They are increasingly aware of the world beyond their own and are engaging with youth-related and social and environmental issues. They require continued guidance and mentoring but work increasingly independently to analyse, reflect on and monitor their language learning and intercultural experiences. They are considering future pathways and options, including the possible role of Japanese in these.
Japanese language learning and use
This is a period of language exploration, vocabulary expansion, and experimentation with different modes of communication, for example, digital media, collaborative performance and group discussions. Learners become more confident in communicating in a wider range of contexts through greater control of language structures and vocabulary and increased understanding of the variability of language use. They use Japanese to communicate and interact; to access and exchange information; to express feelings and opinions; to participate in imaginative and creative experiences; and to create, interpret and analyse a wider range of texts and experiences. They sequence and describe events using a range of cohesive devices, and complete communicative tasks that involve planning, performance, collaborative and independent work. They use language more fluently, with a greater degree of self-correction and repair, and use あいづち to facilitate communication. They reference the accuracy of their language use against a stronger frame of grammatical knowledge.
Learners at this level are able to read and write using hiragana, katakana and an increasing number of kanji in all texts. Their writing is more sophisticated, using connectives and conjunctions, and they engage with more complex language structures.
Contexts of interaction
Learners interact with peers, the teacher and other Japanese speakers in immediate and local contexts, and with wider communities and cultural resources via virtual and online environments. They may access additional cultural experiences through events such as school exchanges, festivals, interschool events or cultural performances.
Texts and resources
Learners engage with texts designed for language learning, such as teacher-generated materials and online resources. Learning is enriched by exposure to a range of authentic materials designed for or generated by young Japanese speakers, such as video clips or advertisements. Students take some responsibility for sourcing additional materials to support their own learning.
Features of Japanese language use
Learners use more complex language in oral, written and multimodal forms. They expand their knowledge and control of grammatical elements such as the て form and plain form of verbs, for example, ～ています、～てもいい、～と思います、and ～たり～たり、and conjugation patterns for both verbs and adjectives. Their language production includes elements of interpreting, creating and performing. They engage in analysis of texts such as advertisements and media reports, identifying how language choices reflect perspectives and cultural contexts.
Learners examine the processes involved in using a different language, recognising them as cognitive, cultural and personal as well as linguistic. They explore the reciprocal nature of intercultural communication: how moving between different languages and cultural systems impacts on ways of thinking and behaving; and how successful communication requires flexibility, awareness, and openness to alternative ways. They develop the capacity to ‘decentre’ from normative ways of thinking and communicating, to consider themselves through the eyes of others, and to communicate in interculturally appropriate ways.
Level of support
Support at this level of learning includes provision of rich and varied stimulus materials, continued scaffolding and modelling of language functions and communicative tasks, and explicit instruction and explanation of the grammatical system. Learners are provided with opportunities to discuss, clarify, practise and apply their knowledge. Critical and constructive teacher feedback is combined with peer support and self-review to monitor and evaluate learning outcomes, such as through portfolios, peer review, or digital journals.
The role of English
Japanese is used in more extended and complex ways. English continues to be used for discussion, explanation and analysis. This allows learners to communicate in depth and detail about the experience of learning Japanese and about their thoughts on culture, identity and intercultural experience. English is the language of analysis and critique, supporting discussion of concepts such as stereotypes, difference, diversity and values. It allows for a degree of expression and reflection that is beyond learners’ communicative capabilities in Japanese.