The Right Method
The Kisako Intercultural Institute philosophy: "In the Tea Ceremony,
a bowl of tea is carefully and exclusively prepared for each guest.
In the same way, each of our students should receive a course of instruction that is customized in every possible detail. Also, as the zen word "kissako" teaches us that each guest should be welcomed equally with a bowl of tea made from the heart, each of our students--whatever their needs and goals--must receive instruction from teachers of the highest caliber and professional training."
Kisako's basic teaching systems are based upon methods which have been succeeding for more than twenty years at some of America's most prestigious universities. These methods can be tailored to accommodate students' overall needs and goals-with different levels of intensity depending on whether a student is aiming to achieve fluency or just basic conversational and coping skills for living in Japan.
For instance, for students aiming to achieve a high level of competence in the spoken lauguage, it is the student's responsibility to come to class well prepared based on the text and audio/visual materials for speaking and listening practice. From there, our instructors take over. Their job is akin to that of a professional coach. Using the proper visual aids and oral cues, they thoroughly drill students, assisting them in manipulating what they've studied, until their mastery of a lesson is complete. They will even set aside a portion of each class for answering questions in English. Because every lesson builds on the accomplishments of the previous lesson, every success leads to the next success -- the final result is fluency.
We have extensive experience in teaching intermediate/advanced students who are studying with specific purposes in mind. Our students have aimed at a wide variety of goals including giving presentations or speeches; reading Japanese newspapers and magazines; understanding TV news, dramas or movies; passing JLPT tests; and building vocabulary used in certain industries. In every case we work hard to ensure that our students are achieving their goals in the most effective manner.
For students who do not have the time to aim for fluency, Kisako can tailor courses that build skills anywhere from basic "survival" Japanese to intermediate levels of conversational and reading/writing ability. Our instructors are prepared to answer questions in English, but they know how to gently prod students to express themselves in Japanese and gain comfort in using the language. Because there are no shortcuts to learning Japanese, the approach is aimed at ensuring that students properly understand the basics of grammer, structural patterns and pronunciation-the best way for students to retain what they have learned and gain the confidence to employ it in everyday situations.