Haters and Japanese language learning – Yasuke! Tips for Teachers

I’ve posted on this subject many times, but I think I will never address it enough:

everyone (native speaker to non-native speaker, and everyone in between) makes mistakes in Japanese.

Let’s talk about why non-native speakers should not be afraid to teach Japanese; And why you should still use both types of tutors (native and non-native) even if your non-native teacher makes mistakes.

So…, it’s no secret that I am not Japanese, in other words a non-native teacher.

Like me, there are many non-native tutors – either foreigners or people of Japanese descent who grew up outside of the Japanese system. Although we are not Japanese (at least not to some Japanese people), that doesn’t mean we can’t explain the Japanese language to you.

In fact, we might be better at explaining it than a native speaker. (if you’ve ever tried explaining the use of “a” and “the” in English then you know what I am talking about)

We “know where you are coming from.”

We also know the methods and effort you will need to advance.

A native speaker doesn’t necessarily know these things.

I don’t say that to “hate” on native teachers. The world needs more of them.

I say it because we non-native teachers also have our place.

Personally I recommend my students to use a non-native and a native teacher.

But there is yet another reason why a non-native tutor should be given a chance. And they should be given a chance, even if they make mistakes.

猿も木から落ちる “Even Monkeys Fall From Trees”

If you are a student and worry that a non-native teacher will make mistakes that you will pick up… stop worrying.

They will make mistakes and you will pick them up. But their Japanese is still way better than yours and you can still learn from them.

And if you are a tutor or teacher and you worry everyday about what mistake you might make in a lesson – “will I write this kanji wrong? will I forget how to write it? will I use the wrong word? will I make a pronunciation mistake?

Stop worrying, you will make a mistake. Get over it. Your students will get over it too.

For those who don’t know, 猿も木から落ちる is a Japanese proverb that means [everyone] even experts make mistakes.

Even teachers who are Japanese native speakers make mistakes and their students pick it up that way and learn it wrong.

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