Come in Prepared

I have taken a lot of disappointing language lessons in my short life.

Most of the time that I consider a lesson a failure, it's for one of the following reasons:
  • I did not adequately express to the teacher what I was hoping to do/practice/learn in the lesson.
  • I did not prepare enough for the lesson.
Once in a while I might choose a beginner teacher that isn't very good at teaching Japanese. Or a teacher and I might simply not click. But in the vast majority of cases, communication and preparation prior to the lesson were the main problems.

This is why a lot of teachers will ask you to attend a short trial or level-check lesson before taking a full-length lesson. They don't want you to have a bad experience.

If you're taking a level-check lesson with a teacher, you probably don't need to prepare for it all that much, as they likely have their own system for checking your Japanese level. But regardless of whether you're taking a full-length lesson or not, I would go through this prep section so that you are prepared to explain to your teacher exactly what it is you want to gain from the lesson and how you expect the lesson to be carried out.

Prepping, in other words, is a way for us to avoid hating Japanese lessons... which is pretty crucial to getting good at speaking this beautiful language.

Mini Japanese Lesson:

The word for "preparation"is 準備 (じゅんび) in Japanese. This word is extraordinarily useful, and you'll find a lot of situations in which to use it.

Right now, we are in the act of preparing. In other words:

準備しています。
じゅんび しています。
We are preparing.
Literally: "preparation + are doing."


Once we have finished preparing, we'll be able to say:

準備できました。
じゅんび できました。
We are ready.
Literally: "preparation + were able to do."


To give a more casual example of this exact sentence, let's say that you're waiting for your significant other to get ready so that you can go on a date. You say...

準備できた?
じゅんび できた?
Are you ready?
Literally: "preparation + were able to do?"


I can honestly say, my friend, that I am quite looking forward to doing some lesson 準備 (じゅんび) with you.

Anyway, when I say that we need to "prepare" for our lessons, you might be wondering what exactly I'm referring to.

I am not talking about learning Japanese words and phrases that you'll need to know in your lessons. We will cover a lot of those in this course, but that's mostly to build confidence, not to ensure that lessons go smoothly.

Instead, I'm talking about preparing (1) the technology that will facilitate our interaction with our teachers and (2) the format of our lessons. I'll talk about both of these in the next lectures.
 



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