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Teachers’ notes (English to Japanese)
Sensei no sepsumei


This WebQuest is designed to pre-teach the film Karate Kid. While it can be used with a variety of young students, it is designed for English as Second Language students aged 12 to 14, operating, at a minimum, on the NSW Department of Education and Training ESL Scales:

  • Oral Interaction Level 3
  • Reading and Responding Level 2
  • Writing Level 2

In particular, its purpose is to teach:

  • values of respect and self-discipline and the emphasis on respect in learning Karate
  • awareness of Karate as a philosophy and way of life, and some awareness of the tradition into which Mr Miyagi’s respectful attitude and humility belong, as well as the playful, unexpected Zen-like responses which his character occasionally gives
  • enough of the history of Karate to appreciate the fictional Mr Miyagi’s credentials
  • some of the language of the dojo
  • vocabulary
  • that the film has a serious purpose
  • improved Drama and presentation skills
  • beginning awareness of visual literacy (representing and viewing).

The tasks are designed to teach respect not only overtly in terms of content. By demanding, in the evaluation, for each person to speak, for the group to pass, and co-operation in the evaluation rubric, the intention of this WebQuest is to foster students’ respectful behaviour through their management of the tasks.

To show respectful behaviour as a way of gaining something, rather than respect being experienced as discipline-enforced denial and a stop to having fun, is an important aspect to teaching respect.

Each group has its in-character research and presentation. Each group must also bring 10-in-context vocabulary items, although their personal dictionaries will swell with the number of new words they will be meeting. Vocabulary building is bedrock to language learning, and students’ feeling of achievement.

Each group must also pinpoint its findings by bringing to the class 5 questions to be answered by its presentation. This will ensure that the group sharing of information is specific.

Each group has to present its information in-character. The specified Drama component ensures that presentations will be lively and confidence building. As a Drama teacher, my experience has been that in-character presentations deflect an over self-consciousness, while making students’ subsequent experience of “ordinary” presentations feel easy.