What kind of materials is Kumon Japanese M At last we are entering the final stage of the Japanese language.


Japanese (language)

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At what grade level are the Kumon Japanese M materials?

The M teaching materials are equivalent to high school level. There are six levels of Kumon Japanese at the high school level, and the J and K materials dealt with classical Japanese, while the L material dealt with Chinese literature; from the M material, questions are given in all genres of modern, ancient and Chinese literature, so it can be said that we are finally entering the final stage.

Although the level is equivalent to high school, the level of the content is high, and even high school students should be proud that they have reached this level.

What kind of teaching materials is Kumon Japanese M?

Now let's check the details of the teaching materials. First, let's check the aims of the official Kumon M teaching materials.

They help students acquire more advanced reading comprehension skills while evoking 'critical thinking'. Students will learn to be aware of the characteristics and relationships of each character, the viewpoints of others, misreading, raising issues, refuting arguments, etc. Students improve their reading comprehension of ancient and Chinese texts.

The subject matter in the J to L materials was 'critical reading based on material study', which consisted of multiple texts to be read; the M materials deal with multiple characters, viewpoints and arguments in the text.

Next, let's look at the materials used.

| M1-M70 | Person Coordinates | Manyoshu, Otogi-zoshi, Kojiki, Records of the House of Death, Life of Galilee | M71-M130 | Other Viewpoints | The Merchant of Venice's Capital, The Tale of Genji, Dialogue Brain and Life | M131-M200 | Verification | Science and Method, History M131-M200 | The Merchant of Venice's Capitalism, The Tale of Genji, Dialogues Brain and Life

The themes tested in the M materials are divided into three main categories: Person Coordinates, Perspectives of Others and Verification. Themes alone may seem abstract, but they should generally be understood as "reading and understanding many people, viewpoints and arguments".

The teaching materials also show that the course deals with all aspects of modern, ancient and Chinese literature. This is an indication that a comprehensive compilation of Kumon Japanese has begun. The line-up is also very challenging, with a mix of books that even those who like to read may not have suppressed.

M-learning materials require an understanding of diverse perspectives

We described the theme of the M Materials as 'reading about lots of people, perspectives and arguments'. This point is explained in more detail in the following section.

The texts up to the I material followed a single argument. Although the content was challenging, there was no mixing of different perspectives in the texts; in Materials J to L, there were two texts, a material text and a critical text, but the structure was solely based on the material to understand the claims of the critical text. It was not about understanding multiple different arguments.

In the M materials, however, diverse perspectives are mixed in a single text.

For example, from M91, the Tale of Genji is treated. In the story, there is a question asking how the women around her feel about the low-status Kiritsubo no Sarai being favoured by the emperor, and the answer requires multiple perspectives: the high-status people can afford Kiritsubo no Sarai because they feel superior to her, but the low-status people are in the same position and are therefore more jealous.

The simplest form of reading a narrative text is the form that follows the emotions of the main characters. In the same material from The Tale of Genji, the main character's feelings would be to read that Kiritsubo Sarai is in pain because she is jealous. However, this time the question is not about the main character, but about the perspectives of the women around her. It is necessary to understand the text from more diverse perspectives.

Emotions, rules and beyond complexity

Understanding diverse perspectives is also required in real-life relationships.

Most people focus on their emotions when they are small. The criteria for deciding on something are also based on feelings of fun, wanting to try something, or being angry or scared.

Then, in group life, they gradually learn to follow objective rules. They realise that group life would not be possible if everyone did what they wanted.

But going one step further, they realise that behind the rules there are individual thoughts and feelings. It is an objective rule not to hit a friend, but behind the rule is the teacher's intention to facilitate group life. So even for the same violence, the severity of the sentence will vary depending on the nature of the violence. If the violence is to settle a dispute, some may try to get away with "be careful next time", while if the violence is a police matter, expulsion or suspension from school will often be considered.

This does not mean that it is OK to break the rules. But the treatment for breaking them often depends on the intentions of the person passing judgement.

Whether you act according to your own feelings or according to objective rules, both are the same in that they operate according to a single context. In reality, however, objective rules are underpinned by various people's circumstances and emotions.

The complexity that we deal with in the M-learning materials is of the same kind as this complexity of reality.

Manga and animation can be a tool to realise the complexity of reality.

Manga and animation are powerful tools for understanding these complexities.

We mentioned in our commentary on the C and E materials that cartoons and animations can be useful. In that case, we mentioned that it is easier to read stories than novels, so it is easier to get used to the format of narrative writing.

What kind of teaching materials is Kumon Japanese E? The key points are understanding the 'subjunctive relationship' and dealing with 'dare not speak' narrative sentences.

It is almost impossible for a child who has reached the M level to be unfamiliar with stories. However, when considering reading texts from different perspectives, manga and anime are useful from a different perspective.

One of the main characteristics of manga and anime is their diversity. The historical background can be set in a geographical and period setting that is very different from your child's current environment, and the characters can be as diverse and distinctive in appearance and age as possible. And above all, many people and organisations operate under different ideas.

For example, in One Piece, the main characters are pirates, but all their friends travel with different objectives. So even though they belong to the same organisation and experience the same situations, it is easy to see that they all feel differently. When they arrive on a new island, some expect a good meal, some look for treasure, some are scared and don't want to go ashore... So it's like that. The storyline is that they go to the island with a common purpose, but each of them has something completely different in mind. This concept of multiple perspectives can be touched upon naturally in manga and anime.

The same tendency may be true for stories in general. However, in novels and Japanese films, for example, there is a culture of private fiction, which does not always show a variety of perspectives. Western films tend not to be good at explaining things directly, so some motifs and metaphors may be difficult for children to understand. Hollywood-type films tend to focus on action rather than emotional portrayal. Drama is a good option, but not like the old days when all your friends are watching dramas, and boys will often not be interested in them in the first place.

There are good and bad works, of course, but if you choose the best works, manga and anime are a great way to understand diverse perspectives.

New generations are better at understanding diversity

In terms of diversity awareness, children's generations are arguably better at it than their parents' generations. Therefore, even without resorting to the above methods, your child may naturally have acquired the awareness of diverse perspectives required by the M materials; if your child has reached the M materials, it is likely that the materials will produce good results simply by watching over them, without excessive intervention.