Monday, September 26, 2011

Writing Across the Curriculum

So, I really didn't know what this was. But, upon closer inspection, its not as difficult as it sounds. (Professional vocabulary, wonderful thing) I at first thought that writing across the curriculum included integrating writing projects across content areas. I kept thinking, 'There is no way that'll work in every school. Teachers won't cooperate like content area won't cooperate with that!' But no, writing across the curriculum seems to be a lot easier than that. Its just writing. ....Across the Curriculum. I can see how this might be difficult for say, a Math content area, but writing as a skill in Japanese is pretty important. Without any kind of writing in Japanese, you wouldn't really be learning Japanese. Not only is there an entirely different alphabet for students to learn to write with, students need to learn how this writing system is integrated into the culture. Students also need to learn about the Japanese culture itself to fully understand the language. By writing essays about Japanese culture, students will have the opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of the areas where Japanese is spoken. In this way, students will be able to learn about actual situations where certain grammar functions would be used. Japanese is a very difficult language; by gaining an understanding of when certain word forms are used, it is easier to learn them in a classroom.

There are a lot of examples of writing that I can implement into my classroom. One important example would be the use of a Japanese honorific called keigo. To put it simply, one uses keigo when addressing someone very important, such as a teacher or boss. The verb forms can get very complex. I would have my students write about possible conversations using keigo. That way, they would not only learn when to use keigo, they would understand how to form the keigo verbs themselves.

Another writing example is culture based (My Japanese teacher also did something like this in my classes last year). Japan is a very unique culture; there are many videos online that depict and describe certain aspects of the culture. I would have the students watch a video and reflect upon it. I would have them answer questions such as What was their initial reaction?, Does this compare to American culture?, What would happen if this occurred in America?, etc. By writing about the Japanese culture, students will thoroughly understand and be able to discuss various aspects of Japanese life. When one simply talks about a subject, it can go right over the students' heads. However, having a student write about something makes him or her think about the topic; this will give the student a greater chance to read and understand the topic.

~A Future Japanese (日本語) Teacher

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