Monthly Archives: June 2017

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese lessons includes practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting and constructing and performing students’ own dialogues by pairs/groups or by oneself. The learning included the language and cultural skills to be used in travelling or living/working in Japan and general understanding on Japanese culture. Speaking practice sometimes used the pictures, information, concepts/ideas or topics from the brochures of Japanese newspapers, the ads, Nichigo Press and other Japanese monthly magazines.

Regarding my class teaching, my current Beginners 2 finished Unit 2 of Genki Book 1. Also, they learned Katakana esp. with words written in that script and with use of flash cards, Japanese magazines and worksheets. They have homework that is to make flash cards which are Katakana based words, sentences with such words or travel related words or phrases. About 20 cards are requested to make.

The class also have been studying verb conjugation (all of verb groups of Group 1, 2 and 3) with use of the list from HSC based book of Keiko Aitchison. Well over 30 well-used verbs are in the list. Also, before they finish the course, we will go through the list of many Japanese particles (esp. due to students’ request for learning the particles), simple definitions and examples of simple sentences that have particles concerned.

Regarding Japanese travellers language features, I used part of “Real Life Japanese – 体験的にほんご会話” + cd (C. Dibble & S. Matsumoto, 2001, UNICOM) and “Real Life – Japanese Food – 体験的にほんご会話、Vol. II + cd (C. Dibble & S. Matsumoto, 2002, UNICOM). (I have used both materials many times in the past; they are very good resources.)


As for culture and traditional sports, sumo, at the recent Summer Grand Sumo Tournament (natsu-basho), among the great grand champions, yokozuna, Hakuhoo won the Cup for the highest winning. Kisenosato, the new yokozuna, who received the most attentions popularity and adoration and created big sensation/inspiration to people in Japan, had to withdraw during the above 15 days’ tournament. That was due to his continued pain from the bad injury that he had in the previous tournament that he still fought back and “miraculously” won the highest winning at that time.

In relation to currently highest records holding yokozuna Hakuho who won the Cup, Japan Times reports as follows:

A day after clinching his 38th career championship, yokozuna Hakuho put the icing on the cake Sunday, when he finished the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament with a perfect 15-0 record. “It’s been a long time since I stood here while they played the national anthem. It doesn’t get any better than this,” said the 32-year-old. “Last September I needed surgery and a lot of rehab, but I believed all along that this day would come and I persevered.”  Hakuho praised the sekiwake’s (Takayasu’s) rise through the ranks. – “Takayasu has done so well. He’s pushed me to set an example, to stay a step ahead of him,” Hakuho said. “I’ve been an obstacle to him, and when you run into a wall, you have to get stronger. And he has.”


Also, about Takayasu, who has a Japanese father and mother of Filipino origin and who has great, loyal, close and “beautiful” brothers-like relationship with Kisenosato at their same stable, The Japan Times states such as below.

Takayasu’s promotion comes six months after his Tagonoura stablemate Kisenosato ascended to the sport’s highest rank of yokozuna.  –   Kisenosato, who joined Takayasu for a photo session following the ceremony, did not miss the opportunity to compliment the new ozeki on his promotion and said there is nothing better than seeing his junior disciple recognized for his achievements. “Since around the New Year Basho (in January), I could physically feel his power pumping up from deep below,” said Kisenosato.  – “I believed he would transform. There’s a rank above ozeki. I hope we can train together again and grow stronger, and enliven (the sumo world).”  (


As my comment for all the above sumo “heroes”, I admire them greatly.  They are full of honourable, strong and beautiful/graceful spirit, leaderships, wisdom, amazing tolerance, maturity and self-disciplines in both professionalism and life.


Toshiko Jackson (Japanese teacher)


Improve your listening skills in 5 minutes

Many candidates have difficulty finding the time to sit down and spend several hours studying for the OET exam. Fortunately, employing a consistent approach that involves shorter periods of study on a regular basis can be just as useful.


For the listening part of the test, one such approach involves taking advantage of the ABC’s 1-minute podcasts. Follow the steps below, at least twice a week, and you should find that you can improve your listening and note-taking skills significantly.


  1. Listen to the audio of a 1-minute podcast on a health topic from while reading the transcript.
  2. Replay the video, this time writing down the main points in note form (as you would in the exam).
  3. Use the transcript to check the accuracy of your notes.
  4. If you wrote down anything incorrectly, revise the vocabulary used to communicate that point in the video (look up the definition of each word, and write down the words and their definitions in your personal vocabulary list).
  5. Repeat!


This short exercise will allow you to improve your performance in the listening test by:

  • Practicing accurate note-taking,
  • Practicing listening for key words and main points,
  • Learning new vocabulary as you study, and
  • Building up your experience in listening to spoken English on a variety of health topics.


Good luck!


Anna Brzeska, OET Teacher

IELTS: Unlocking the Five Secrets in IELTS Writing Criteria

So how much do you understand the IELTS Writing criteria? Get to know them and make sure you satisfy them to get your desired score.

1. Task response / achievement.
Good brainstorming for ideas is a must here. Make sure you write at least 10% more than the minimum word limit. You need 2-3 main points thoroughly developed into respective 2-3 full body paragraphs with concrete examples. Plus, be consistent too and do not stray off topic!
2. Coherence and Cohesion.
Your essays need to be properly paragraph (with purpose in mind) and sentences and paragraphs are connected using a combination of eight types of connecting and cohesive devices appropriately punctuated to promote seamless flow and avoid word repetition.
3. Vocabulary.
You have to use precise and flexible correctly spelled words and expressions naturally used in English, including collocations, appropriate phrasal verbs and word forms.
4. Grammatical accuracy and range.
Use compound and complex sentences correctly and make sure count nouns are in plural forms, among other things. To score a 7 here, most of your sentences must be correct, and to score an 8, errors must be rare and hard to spot.
5. Your writing score.
Your final writing score will almost always be good if you can improve on brainstorming and minimise and fix grammatical mistakes while using good natural vocabulary.
We’’ll train you to work on all these criteria. See you at next month’s blog on IELTS Writing!

30 May 2017

PTE: Five Tips to decode the Reading locks!

While PTE Reading passages are shorter and seem ‘easier’ than in IELTS, you need to know what each test type tests you and adapt your strategies accordingly. Here’s how:


  1. Fill in the Blanks (Reading)

This item tests you grammar, collocation and word forms. Reading ahead before filling out is highly recommended.

2. Fill in the Blanks (Reading with 4 options)

This item tests you grammar, collocation and linking words. Again reading ahead and knowing how much time you should spend will ensure you’ll still have time for tougher item types.

3. MCQ Single Answer

This type tests seven (7) skills in reading: Gist, purpose, details, organisation, inference, critical reasoning and tone. Recognising what skill each question asks you will give you a clue how and where to look.

4. MCQ Multiple Answer

This type tests you to match the options with the facts in the passage. Knowing which paragraph the facts lie (and what to do if there’s only one single paragraph) and how many options to pick will certainly maximise your reading score.

5. Reorder Paragraphs

This type tests your skill in singling out the topic sentence, pair up the remaining sentences and in deciding which pair follows the theme. This is the strategy to save you valuable time and still award you the marks you badly need.


Use these keys and you’ll go through the gate, and keep good time too, before the time is up!


30 May 2017


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