Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Japanese language teachers focus on can-do kanji

March 17, 2014

Japanese language teachers focus on can-do kanji

Kiwi kids may be fans of Japanese Anime and Manga graphics – along with numerous apps, games, electronic gadgets and fashion – but they are less keen on learning the language.

The trend is bothering Japanese language teachers so much that they are joining forces to try and bolster declining student numbers, arguing that the language is a vital tool for New Zealanders keen to do business or work in tourism, fashion and IT.

Massey University Japanese Language convener Dr Penny Shino, who is co-chair of the Japanese Studies Aotearoa New Zealand (JSANZ) along with Dallas Nesbitt from AUT, says the organisation – launched in Auckland on Friday – will provide advocacy and networking for its nationwide 50-strong membership representing mainly tertiary teachers of Japanese language and cultural studies programmes.

To help convince potential students of the value of learning Japanese, its first project is to create a database profiling former Japanese language students to showcase their career paths and successes.

Dr Shino says Japanese language has been offered in New Zealand high schools for several decades, and Massey’s Japanese language programme is now in its 50th year. Of concern is that secondary school students have been turning away from studying languages over the past 10 years – a trend that contradicts current job market demands in an increasingly globalised world and ethnically diverse nation.

She says students tend to have negative perceptions about language learning in general, including that it involves only rote learning, and is just too hard.

“The other assumption is that there’s no need to learn another language because English is everywhere. This attitude shows a lack of respect for other cultures, and overlooks the opportunities for business and trade with Japan”, she says.

“Japan is the world’s third largest economy after the US and China, and is New Zealand’s fourth largest export and import market, fourth largest investor and fourth largest source of international students, so it’s still very, very important to New Zealand”.

She says there are “fantastic” job opportunities for those with language skills in areas such as software and gaming, as well as in fashion, design, tourism and hospitality.

One of her former students is walking the talk, with a highly successful career reinforced by his Japanese language studies. Michael Mackinven graduated from Massey in 1998 with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and several Japanese papers with A-grades.

Since then he’s set up his own property investment company targeting Japanese investors, and wrote a book on learning Japanese kanji (characters). Mr Mackinven says combining language studies with other skills gives people additional advantages in the work place.

“It’s amazing how a language will open up doors and create opportunities because all of a sudden you have a point of difference,” he says. “And it's fun and rewarding to talk about business and put deals together in another language”.

At Friday’s launch, the association’s new website and logo (designed by Massey’s Open Lab at the College of Creative Arts) was unveiled by Paul Knight, a founder of the Japanese programme at Massey where he began in 1969 as the first New Zealander to teach Japanese in a New Zealand university.

Dr Shino says his contribution to Japanese language and Japanese studies education has been recognised by the Japanese government with the award of the Foreign Minister’s Award for Meritorious Service (Gaimudaijin Hyosho) in 1996, and the Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Rosette (Kyokujitsusho) in 2004.

Massey also has access to special funding as the only New Zealand core member of the Japan Foundation Sakura Network, which has 126 members worldwide.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

RLWC 2017 Draw: New Zealand Set For A Festival Of Rugby League

New Zealand Rugby League fans will have the chance to see the Kiwis in action against the best in the Pacific region for the Rugby League World Cup 2017, as announced today at the Official Tournament Draw. More>>

ALSO:

Non-Pokemon News: Magical Park A Safer Augmented Reality For Younger Audiences

Since May, Wellington City Council has been trialling a new app, Magical Park, in collaboration with the game’s New Zealand developer Geo AR Games, in parks around the city. Magical Park uses GPS technology to get users moving around the park to play within a set boundary. More>>

'Erroneous': Pokemon App Makers On Huge Privacy Flaw

We recently discovered that the Pokémon Go account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user's Google account... More>>

ALSO:

Te Wiki O Te Reo: Te Reo Māori Is For All New Zealanders — Minister

Minister for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell welcomes the start of Māori Language Week today and invites all New Zealanders to give speaking te reo Māori a go. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news