Lyrebird Language Centre has been teaching Japanese and Chinese in Brisbane since 2008 but we couldn’t help regional students learn Japanese and Chinese untill we started teaching online in 2020.
We found there are so many students in regional areas who like to learn a second language but just couldn’t find a good teacher. There are some distance education services from Education Queensland and many cheap or free online Japanese and Chinese courses and Apps. However, most of them failed to meet regional students’ expectation.
Without a good teacher, students will lose their interest and quit Japanese or Chinese class; without enough student numbers, less and less regional schools are offering Japanese or Chinese. This is the dilemma facing regional Japanese and Chinese language education.
Steps to help regional students learn Japanese and Chinese
Here are some suggestions based on our conversation with our regional students and their parents:
- Increase motivation: Parents and schools should introduce foreign languages and cultures at an early stage. Let the students try the languages first.
- Make it fun: It is very important to keep the study of Japanese and Chinese a fun journey. Without an interest, students will not continue.
- Set a goal: We found most students do better when they have a clear goal. JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) and HSK (Chinese Language Proficiency Test) are two useful systems. For young students, the YCT (Young Chinese Test) is also a good system. They offer a step by step progress. This can help students to reach a goal in a reasonable time and gain self-confidence.