No specific complaint about the textbooks was made by more than one person, so it’s hard to pick the most important. However, we are always evaluating new materials for use in class, and are happy to hear from you with your recommendations!
– Too far from school
Both the dormitory we used this summer, and several of the host families, are quite far from school. This is mostly because the school itself is in a great location, right in the middle of the central downtown district of a major city, which is not where most people who have a spare room live. We do not accept host families who are more than one hour from the school by public transport, and in many cases people are a lot closer.
We are currently in talks to change the dormitory we use to one that is located on or near the subway line, making it much easier to get to and from school.
Regarding host families, there is very little we can do, unfortunately. For people who hate a long commute, we recommend a shared apartment as a closer alternative, although without a lot of the community feeling.
– Didn’t like the dormitory
We take great care in choosing locations for our students to stay. Unfortunately, some students did not like the dormitory we used at all. We should mention that it is standard by Japanese norms for university students, but foreigners may see it as a little bare. As we mentioned above, we will shortly have a new dormitory for use, which should be a lot nicer.
We also asked students what they liked most about the school. Here are the top responses, starting with the most popular:
1. The teachers (the winner by far, with double the votes of #2!)
2. The atmosphere
3. Lessons/activities outside the classroom
4. Other students
6. The school location
7. Small group classes
8. The teaching method
9. Conversational style of classes
10. The flexibility
11. The design of courses
12. Cultural lessons
And here are the things the students most wanted to change about the school, from most common to least common. Please note that the #1 item here still only got 1/7th the votes of the #1 most liked item!
1. School was noisy
– We moved to this new location in May of this year, just before the summer season, and unfortunately didn’t have time to get soundproofing ready in a way that would also comply with fire codes. However, we are currently in talks to soundproof each classroom, so this should be solved by next year.
2. Didn’t get a syllabus in advance
– For classes that use a textbook, the textbook itself can be considered the syllabus. For other classes (such as Traditional Culture), the content changes from week to week depending on the interests and requests of the participants, so it is often difficult to prepare a syllabus far in advance. However, we are looking into ways that we could do this for next year.
3. Couldn’t tell which classroom classes were to be held in
– We have added classroom listings to the weekly schedule we provide to each student.
4. PCs were old
– The PCs provided for student use are mainly intended for word processing, Internet and email, so are in most cases not capable of playing the latest games, or other difficult tasks. However, we are currently purchasing faster computers for use with Japanese language study software.
5. Too many students
– This is an unavoidable factor of coming in summer, when our student body is at its largest. We recommend all students who can visit us in autumn, winter or spring instead to do so, as classes are smaller (2-3 students instead of 5-6) and you will have more one-to-one time with the teacher. Please also note that we do turn away some students every year in summer because we just don’t have the capacity to accept them.
6. Want more lessons outside the classroom
– As this is an integral part of the GenkiJACS teaching method, we are always looking at other ways we can introduce practical and relevant activities to classes. We are currently working on a program of partnerships with local businesses and organizations that will enable us to take students outside the classroom to real-life locations for Japanese practice even more than we currently do.
7. Want different kinds of events
– As a large part of our student body is young adults, quite a lot of our events involve parties of one sort or another. However, we have begun a new program of asking students on the first day what events they would be interested in participating in during their time with us, so that we can tailor activities to each person’s interests.