Monthly Archives: January 2015

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

 

 

jap

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking/talking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups. Speaking practice sometimes used the use of the pictures, concepts or topics from the brochures of the Japan National Tourism Organizations, Jenta, Nichigo Press, Daily Telegraph etc. Also, I inform about Japanese latest news, traditional features, tourism related things etc.

Intermediate 1 began on 27 November (Thursdays’ class). It has learnt most of Unit 6, Genki Book 1, which has many verb –te forms and use of those in different grammatical usage and function/situations. Much of application practice with those took place too.

In the above class, I talked about traditional Japanese paper sliding doors, shouji (or shooji) which is made out of wooden frame and beautiful, sophisticated white paper. One of the students in the above class, who had stayed at Japanese rhokan on many occasions and just returned from the latest trip to Japan, mentioned softness/gentleness of sound which is heard when one opens or closes Japanese sliding doors. I strongly shared that point.  It is one of Japanese features for over a thousand of years. Just like its people’s behavior, language, verbal and written (and facial) expressions (and even economic reforms!), in general. One of internationally well-known, female fashion designers, who normally lived in Paris, said such too in a magazine many years ago, i.e. “In Japan, everything is soft!”            I think the sound of shooji can help you feel calm, peaceful and being close to nature, just like seeing beautiful Japanese gardens or other traditional things in that land.

Regarding the news on Japan, I said the following things. They are mostly from the NHK TV news (shown at SBS TV), Jenta magazine etc in the recent time.

The Japanese Emperor Akihito (also called the Emperor Heisei, Heisei Tennoo, 平成天皇) acceded to the throne in 1989. He is the 125 Emperor of Japan. His birthday is 23 December.  On that day last year (2014), about 29,000 people signed from the public at the Imperial Palace in the middle of Tokyo), for his birthday celebration. He is 81 and he is still so active (physically too), compassionate (and his wife, Empress too) and he speaks his inner thoughts and feelings for the benefits and needs of people (esp. those who were terribly hurt or disadvantaged due to natural disasters etc) esp. in Japan and the international peace and needs.

For the first two days in January 2015, 81,000 people visited the above Palace. On 2 Jan., 16,000 people of the public waved hands to or saw the Royal family that included all the Princes, Princesses and their children, for the yearly celebration for the public at the Palace, “ippan-sanga”. The Royals wave hands to the people at that (such) time to celebrate the New Year.

On 31 December, 14, the annual NHK TV “koohaku utagassen” took place. It is annual TV show and stage event at NHK Hall. It must have been on for nearly half a century. Every year, after the NHK News, the program and show starts and goes on until about 11:45pm, i.e. right before all the Buddhist temples throughout Japan starts making big “gong” noise to cleanse human sins of the passing/-ed year. This year, at the above “big” show, in total, “52” groups or individual singers sang and about 1100 people performed on the stage. When the singer can sing at the show, (just like Hollywood, Academic Award). the singer can have higher regard/status in the industry in the following or future years. There are some singers, who have been singing yearly for over 40 years or 40 times! Amazing. All the performers’ costumes (whether they wear western styled clothes or very attractive kimono) were outstanding ones. Same with their performance. At the end of the show, the highly recognized panel members decide whether male team or female team wins for the (that) year.

NHK TV reported the following. That is, the Japanese Emperial Palace began using LED which the Japanese Nobel Prize winners developed, due to the Emperor’s request partly for cost saving. Also, the world’s highest building in Dubai started using LED for its light of the building.

Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson,

4.1.15

How to Improve Speaking at Home

Most students ask me for tips on how they can improve their speaking when they’re at home, without a Sydney Language Solutions teacher/tutor to practise with. Below are some of my suggestions.

  1. The first and most obvious suggestion is to practise with someone who speaks English at home. Perhaps a family member. Perhaps a friend. Or, even better, a friend or family member who is ALSO doing the Occupational English Test. Get them to practise different tasks with you and give you feedback afterwards about your fluency, the clarity and speed of your speech and about the language you used.
  2. Another way is to practise by yourself. This can involve, for instance, recording yourself speaking! For this exercise, I particularly encourage you to check your speed (tell yourself to SLOW DOWN!) and to check whether or not you say words like “um”, “uh”, “like” or “er” which can affect your fluency. Count how many “um”s you say!
  3. One final suggestion is, indeed of speaking, you can PLAN out the conversation and write down what you would say in the scenario. This can improve both your grammar and your sentence structure. Think of different phrases you can use to reassure patients, to advise patients or to ask clear questions.

Hope these help! Good luck!

The Most Important Thing to Remember about the OET

Whether it is your first time, or your second/third/fourth time, sitting the Occupational English Test can be very nerve-racking. Your palms will sweat, you’ll feel palpitations and your breaths will be shallower. A common feeling is that you’ll feel as if you can’t remember a SINGLE thing medically-related because you’re so nervous.

Luckily for you, the most important thing to remember about the OET is that: The OET does NOT test your medical knowledge. It is simply testing your ENGLISH.

So what does this mean?

For the listening, it means that, even if you don’t know anything about the topic/s being discussed, you can still pass if you listen to the conversation carefully.

For the reading, it also means that if the topic is something you have never read about, you can still pass both parts A and B through careful reading and analysis of the texts. The answers require no prior medical knowledge.

For the writing, it means that when you come across a completely new scenario in the case notes, you can just base your letter on the notes given (obviously).

And finally, for the speaking, it means that you can actually – and a lot of students don’t realise this – make information up! You will not get penalised for incorrect content, as long as you sound confident in what you’re saying.

So there you have it. Don’t stress if you come across a new topic!

Common General Questions about the OET

In this blog, I will outline some of the common general questions that students in my classes have asked me regarding the OET. In fact, most of this information can be found on the Occupational English Test official website but I have discussed them here for easy access.

How do I sign up for the exam? Does Sydney Language Solutions do it for us?

Signing up for the exam is easy – you just log onto the official Occupational English Test and follow the links. Sydney Language Solutions tutors aim to help you to learn strategies to pass the exam, we will not sign you up for the exam. That is for you to do in your own time. If you have any issues though, you can always discuss with our teachers.

I’ve just paid for the exam but they haven’t told me the venue or time?

Don’t worry! The venue and time of your exam is emailed to you one week prior to the test date, so wait until then for this information. If, during that week, you still haven’t received anything – then it’s important to contact the OET centre and check your registration.

Should I use pen or pencil in the exam?

For MOST of the components, it actually doesn’t matter if you use pen or pencil! My best advice is to use whichever writing utensil you feel most comfortable writing in because you will be using it a LOT on the exam day. However, for reading part B, you will need a pencil to fill in the multiple choice answer sheet.

These are all very common concerns for the OET student – you’re not alone!

All the best.

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