A Contents, Structures


Q1.Does "Marugoto" have to be taught in order from lesson 1?

As "Marugoto" is not based on the accumulation of language items (i.e. does not require students to have learnt the items taught in the previous lessons), it does not need to be taught from Lesson 1 in sequence. It is also possible to select and use only the topics that match the learning objectives (e.g. before going on a trip to Japan, you can select topics related to "travel" and practise conversations).

As learners' needs become more diverse at intermediate level, each Intermediate 1 and 2 (B1) topic is divided into parts according to skills, so that each part can be studied independently.

Q2.Is it necessary to use both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai" for levels Starter (A1) and Elementary 1 and 2 (A2)?

Because "Katsudoo" and "Rikai" are both designed to be main teaching materials, depending on learners’ needs and learning history, it is possible to have a course that uses only "Katsudoo" or only "Rikai". However, for those who are learning Japanese for the first time and are willing to continue learning for a relatively long period of time, it is recommended that they use both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai" in order to develop overall ability in Japanese.

Q3.Are the goals different for "Katsudoo" and "Rikai"?

The goal of "Katsudoo" is to be able to achieve Can-dos (i.e. to be able to perform activities in each skill, such as speaking). In "Rikai", the goal is to be able to understand basic sentence patterns, to form correct sentences using these patterns, to be able to use these patterns in composition, and to understand sentences containing these patterns. All the study items in "Rikai" are linked to the achievement of the objective Can-dos in "Katsudoo".

Q4.When using both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai", how should they be used?

If you use both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai", please use them in the following order: first "Katsudoo" (which is for inductive learning = noticing, inferring and confirming from examples of language use), then "Rikai" (which is for deductive learning = from explicit learning of rules to application practice).
When using both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai", it is easier to teach by lesson or by topic (e.g. "Katsudoo" Lesson 1 → "Rikai" Lesson 1 → "Katsudoo" Lesson 2 → "Rikai" Lesson 2).
The reason for not using "Rikai" before "Katsudoo" is that if you learn the rules with "Rikai" first, you will already know the rules when you use "Katsudoo" later, thus preventing inductive learning.

Q5.In what cases should "Rikai" be used without "Katsudoo"?

The classes that proceed only with "Rikai" are suitable for those who can speak Japanese to some extent due to their experience of living in Japan, but have little or no experience of systematic Japanese language study (e.g. participation in Japanese language courses).
It can also be used in cases where separate conversation classes are available with materials other than "Marugoto".

Q6.Can "Rikai" be used for self-study?

It is possible to use "Rikai" for self-study, as learners can think of questions themselves and check their answers in 'Listen and Check'.

However, as the process of checking and analysing words with other learners is important in "Rikai", it may be difficult to take full advantage of the intentions and benefits of "Rikai" in self-study.

Q7.How is the Pre-Intermediate coursebook structured?

In the Starter (A1) and Elementary (A2) course books, we aimed for efficient and effective teaching and learning by dividing them into language activities ("Katsudoo") and language competences ("Rikai").

On the other hand, the Pre-Intermediate level (A2/B1) has two objectives: to summarise the Elementary level (A2) and to provide a bridge to the Intermediate level (B1). For this reason, the Pre-Intermediate coursebook has not been divided into "Katsudoo" and "Rikai", but the activities have been arranged with an emphasis on making connections between the A2 and B1 levels (A2 in the first half of each Topic and B1 in the second half).

As for the Can-dos, the Pre-Intermeditate coursebook consists of A2 and B1 level Can-dos, and in addition to the Spoken Interaction Can-dos and Spoken Production Can-dos, the Reading Can-dos are another pillar of the Can-dos.

For the language items, we have chosen the sentence patterns and grammatical applications that are taught in the Starter (A1) and Elementary (A2) levels, as well as those that are necessary and new to the B1 level Can-dos.

Q8.How is the Intermediate coursebook structured?

The Intermediate (B1) coursebooks are structured with the 'independent language users' in mind.

In order to allow students to tackle a variety of activities in Japanese, the Can-do objectives are expanded into five language activities (Listening, Speaking, Speaking longer, Reading and Writing). The B1 books are therefore structured with independent components for each different fields of language activites, rather than divided into Can-do ("Katsudoo") and language understanding ("Rikai").

At intermediate level, where language behaviour is more varied, it is also possible to select what the learner needs and learn as they go by setting Can-dos for each language activity.

B Courses, Learners


Q20.Why is "Marugoto" also recommended for learners living in Japan? (1)

The"Marugoto" is designed as a course book. Its content has been narrowed down and procedures developed to fit the expected class time. Teachers therefore can simply teach in the order of the book, which reduces the burden of lesson preparation (dramatically for some) compared to teaching with a conventional textbook based on syllabus with focus on sentence pattern.

The "Marugoto" Starter (A1) is written in both romaji and kana (except for the second half of the reading text). It is therefore recommended for learners who do not have time to learn the characters in the beginning, or by learners who are not confident about learning the characters.

The web-based "MARUGOTO+ (MARUGOTO Plus)" is also available for self-study.

"Marugoto" is published in a series from Starter A1 to Intermediate B1, so learners who have studied "Marugoto" before coming to Japan can continue their learning smoothly after arriving in Japan.

Q21.Why is "Marugoto" also recommended for learners living in Japan? (2)

"Marugoto" is designed mainly for learners living outside Japan. However, since it provides many examples and exercises for interactive conversation, it can also be used by learners living in Japan rather than only by overseas learners.

"Marugoto" provides many conversations in which learners express themselves (such as their own country, city and culture). It meets the needs of learners who want to have a chance to express themselves in Japan using Japanese language.

Also, as "Marugoto" includes many situations in which learners interact in Japanese, it meets the needs of learners who want to make acquaintances and friends while living in Japan.

On the other hand, conversations for more practical situations that are necessary for people living in Japan (e.g. sorting rubbish, participating in disaster drills, etc.) are provided in "Irodori Japanese for Life in Japan".

Q22. Can "Marugoto" be used for one-to-one or small group classes?

"Marugoto" was designed with group activities in mind, so it is more effective when there are a number of learners. However, supplementary materials, such as audio recordings and vocabulary lists are also available, so it can be used in one-to-one classes or for self study as well.

Q23.Can "Marugoto" be used for junior high school and high school classes?

"Marugoto" is mainly aimed at adult learners living overseas, but there are organisations that use it for the later stages of secondary education (i.e. high school). While there are topics that high school students would enjoy studying, there are also conversation situations that are not applicable for students, for example drinking alcohol, so the teachers responsible for the course need to judge whether the contents of each topic are suitable for minors.

For elementary school and junior high school students, there might be unsuitable points not only with the contents but also with the approach to learning. We recommend the teachers responsible for the course to examine these points carefully.

Q24. Learners' personal goals and course goals do not match.

To match the learner's personal goals with those of the course, it is necessary to discuss thoroughly with the learner before starting the course and come to an agreement.

It may also be necessary to conduct a survey on learner needs and readiness and review the course design. Make sure that the Japanese language courses you offer meet the needs of your learners.

C Class Management


Q30. Is it better not to change the scene or context of the text, even if changing the context or scene might make it easier for the learner to understand?

Do not change the scene or context in which it is presented, as the scene or context is part of the objective Can-do. It is important to hear, understand and use the language in a 'consistent context'. It is not appropriate to change the scene or context in order to practise/understand grammar and sentence patterns.

Q31. How much time is spent on each part of the course book?

There is a guide to lesson structure in the "Teacher’s Notes" of the "Resource for Teachers" section on the '"Marugoto" website'.

Example: Starter (A1) "Katsudoo"" Topic 3 Food
Lesson 5 What kind of food do you like? (90-120 minutes)
Develop an idea of the topic / check Can-do's: 5 mins.
1. Do you like meat? 30-40 mins.
2. Would you like a coffee? 30-40 mins.
3. Do you always eat breakfast? 20 mins.
Can-do check: 5-10 mins.

Q32. Does the time spent on 'Life and Culture' in "Katsudoo" and 'Language and Culture' in "Rikai" have to follow the guidelines in 'Teachers Notes'?

In the "Teacher's Notes" in the Resources for Teachers section of the website, it is suggested that the teachers spend approx. 15-20 mins each for the 'Life and Culture' sections of the "Katsudoo", and approx. 5 mins each for the 'Language and Culture' sections of the "Rikai". However, different countries, mother tongues and learners have different interests and different ease of coverage. Therefore, it is not necessary to cover all content in the same amount of time. Depending on the content, it may be possible to cover it in a shorter time, or to take longer and allow the students more time to think about it.

In "Rikai", the content of the 'Language and Culture' part is related to the expressions covered in that topic, so it is best to take it up when the students are learning that topic, while the 'Life and Culture' part of the "Katsudoo" can be taught all at once.

Q33. Can I teach with a vehicular language?

A vehicular language, including the mother tongue, is an effective tool for adult learners to progress their learning. In "Marugoto" classes, vehicular languages should be used effectively in situations where they are available and where necessary.

Q34. How should I teach in a class with students from the same country?

In a class with only a group of learners from the same country, you may worry that the information the learners have will be similar and the conversation will be boring. However, it is important for teachers to find ways to help learners speak Japanese in their own way. Learners can also be encouraged to think about the conversation settings independently within the framework of the Can-do. For example, if the conversation is about 'talking about the current season', the learner can respond according to when he or she plans or wants to go to Japan, or by modelling one of the 'Listen' tasks.

Q35. What kind of homework should I give them?

The "Marugoto" is aimed at the general adult population. As learning outside of class time is generally difficult, "Marugoto" has been designed on the assumption that learning is completed within class time. Therefore, the "Marugoto" course book does not presuppose homework.

However, if homework is deemed necessary at the teacher's discretion, it is possible to use "MARUGOTO+ (MARUGOTO Plus)", "Marugoto no Kotoba" or "JFS Teaching Materials " on the "Minna no Kyozai" website or "Irodori", etc., depending on the purpose and goals of the homework.

*To view " Teaching Materials", you need to register as a user and log in to the "Minna no Kyozai" website.

D Pedagogy


Q40. Why is 'listening (input) first'?

It is based on the theory of second language acquisition, which states that we first need a large amount of spoken input to learn to speak a language.

Q41. Can the learner understand the content by listening to the audio only once?

Preparation for understanding the audio input should take place from the start of the topic in order to activate listening strategies such as inferring.

A. Each unit starts with the first page and 'Listen and repeat' going on to 'Listen'. The first page of each unit introduces the unit topic with pictures, and the teacher can confirm the unit's Can-do.

In 'Listen and repeat', the learner's existing knowledge is activated by reviewing the scene and basic vocabulary and expressions. In 'Listen', work through the examples together after reviewing the scene, the speakers (who they are), their relationship to each other and the pictures that make up the task and the choices. Repeat listening at least two or three times to get a better understanding of the content.

Q42. Can the text be used as a guide for listening? How should listening scripts be used?

"Marugoto" is designed for an acquisition process of predicting, inferring, monitoring and consolidating meaning while listening and speaking, rather than listening and speaking after understanding the full meaning of the language.

Before listening comprehension exercises, topics and key vocabulary and situations are introduced first to activate the learner's existing knowledge.

Listen without showing the script/text. It is more effective to monitor listening comprehension if the learner listens and then looks at the text, rather than looking at the text first. The 'Listen' activity does not require the learner to listen to every single word. It is also important for learners not to worry even if they miss some words they don't understand, as long as it doesn't affect their overall understanding. It is important to tackle the input that includes parts they don't understand only with their ears, making inferences based on existing knowledge and context.

As long as the learner has listened to the audio three or more times and the script/text is only used to confirm what the learner has not heard, it is acceptable to show the script/text for that part only. However, if you show the whole text in the 'Listen' activity, you will not be able to do the 'Discover' activity. The purpose of the Discover activity is to ensure that learners hear the expressions they will need to use in conversation. During the 'Discover' activity, you can show the necessary parts (the parts you want the learner to remember correctly) in writing.

When listening, if a learner asks a question about the content, first ask the learner to try to infer for themselves. They can also try to discuss it with a classmate. The teacher should check the correct answers with them at the end.

Q43. How can I use audio files with and without background music?

When listening to audio with background music, the background music functions as a 'noise' and the learner is performing a cognitively demanding task of listening comprehension, picking out the necessary information amidst the noise and also grasping the whole picture.

If learners listen to a conversation with background music (i.e. with 'noise') many times, and then listen to it without background music, they would hear the Japanese very clearly, down to the smallest details, and it would be easier to pick up the exact sounds of the expressions they want to pay attention to.

Background music is important not only to express the atmosphere of a scene or the emotions of a character, but also to relax the learner. Please utilize both with and without background music.

Q44. Do learners in Japan not need to use the audio files as they have more opportunities to listen to Japanese?

Learners in Japan are also encouraged to use audio materials. Even learners who are in Japan and have a lot of exposure to Japanese around them may not always get enough input (i.e. content they can listen to and understand based on their existing knowledge or by inferring) appropriate to their level.

Q45. The learner cannot practise conversation in self-study.

Although it is not real communication, it is also good practice for learners to have a conversation as someone they are not, as in role-playing.

You can also use the conversation exercise on "MARUGOTO+ (MARUGOTO Plus)".

Q46. How can I practise the conversations in 'Conversation and Grammar' in "Rikai"?

Let learners do the model conversation in Conversation and Grammar as it is. The answer part of the question can be changed by the learners to say something about themselves. In this case, changing partners or doing it in groups can make the communication more enjoyable as they get to know each other.

Q47. If there are words or expressions in 'Listen' that learners do not know, is it acceptable to allow them to shadow without knowing their meaning?

If the learners have prepared well, listened to the 'Listen' audio, and the teacher has checked that the learners have understood the content, and have checked the grammar and sentence structure with 'Discover', then there should be few words or expressions that they do not know. However, if you are still concerned, please ask the learners first. If the learner wants to confirm their understanding of any part of the the lesson, teach that part as simply as possible, using as little text as possible. Then try shadowing if the learner no longer has any questions.

Audio files are also available for the Can-do model Conversation and ’Talking in pairs’ section. Use these if learners find it difficult to shadow the 'Listen' conversation.

Q48. Can shadowing be done while looking at the script/text?

Shadowing is said to help improve pronunciation, speaking and listening. Shadowing is an exercise in prediction, as the learner need to follow a sentence ahead in order to keep up with the speed of the conversation.

Reading the text interferes with prediction, so try to avoid having the learner look at the text as much as possible. To do so, you could for instance draw lines of different types and length to indicate the flow of the conversation, or show only parts of the script/text rather than the full text.

Q49. What if the learner cannot pronounce the words smoothly and cannot practise conversation?

For learners at levels A1 and A2, the priority is to "manage to communicate even if they cannot pronounce the words fluently".

If you want to warm them up before practising a conversation to smooth out their pronunciation, try repeating or shadowing each sentence with the audio of the conversation. You can vary the exercise by using Japanese spoken by different people. Even if their pronunciation is not smooth at first, they will get used to it as they practise. Take as much time as necessary.

For conversation practice ('Talk in pairs' in "Katsudoo"), try to have the same conversation with five or six other people in the class, rather than one at a time in a fixed pair. If they repeat the same part of the conversation, they will be able to speak smoothly after five or six conversations. If they are already able to do this to some extent before practising the conversation, they can also slightly change what they say in the conversation.

Drill exercises such as practising conjugations of words not used in the topic, sentence substitution and conversion exercises are not relevant to the Can-do Conversations and therefore is not recommended.

Q60.Is there a grammar book for "Marugoto"?

We have not produced a grammar book. The ultimate objective of "Marugoto" is communication in Japanese, so practice of sentence patterns takes place within the specific context of topic areas and conversations. If learners have questions about grammar, we recommend using the various reference materials for teachers to freely supplement the course book.

For your reference, some of overseas JF offices and related institutes provide grammar books that were created to meet the needs of their local students. They are available at the following websites;

Japanese and Spanish: Japan Foundation, Madrid
German: Japan Cultural Institute in Cologne

Q61. Why does "Marugoto" make the learner think about grammar first?

Second language acquisition theory states that, in order for a learner to be able to hear and understand a language, it is important for them to predict and infer using existing knowledge and context. The reason why we ask learners to think about grammar they have not learned in the classroom is so that they can develop this strategy of prediction and inference and become independent learners. 

Q62. There is no 'Discover the rules' section in the starter (A1), but how can we make learners aware of the grammartical rules?

As the main expressions in the Starter (A1) are mainly at vocabulary level, we have not set any 'Discover' activities. However, when listening to the 'Listen' conversation, it is a good idea to check that learners have been able to notice the main expressions and what other words were heard/used before moving on to the next pair work.

From Elementary 1 (A2) onwards, you need to make sure that learners notice the rules in listening comprehension. The main things you want learners to do in 'Discover' are
1. notice the forms in the conversation sentences.
2. make inferences to what those forms mean, or to the patterns in their conjugation (if any), etc., and check.
For these goals, we recommend you to first try to have the learners notice the form using the audio.

● Make them notice the form

Although the example sentences are shown in 'Discover', to get learners to notice the language forms from the audio, first ask learners if they noticed any important expressions when they listened to the whole 'Listen' conversation and checked the answers to the questions. Then learners can listen to the conversation again, focusing on the part of the conversation to listen to carefully (choose a conversation where the items are easy to understand) and use it as an introduction to 'Discover'.

When indicating the parts to listen for, instead of showing the whole script, you can show lines or just a small part of a word, as in the following example.

A:Which season is it in Japan?
A:Well, ________
Then, __________
B:Roughly __________

● Make them infer the rules

Formal rules, such as how to conjugate words, can be noticed in some way by looking carefully at the examples. When doing so, it is important that the learners themselves try to verbalise the rules in their own minds and in their own way. If the language is an expression for change (ex. "samu-i" becomes "samu-ku-narimasu") the ending "i" becomes "ku" and is followed by "narimasu"'. They can do this in their native language. It is also effective to say it to each other in pairs. At the end, the teacher will confirm their understanding by saying the correct rule very simply.

● Make them Infer meaning

Although it is possible to infer the meaning of language forms (e.g. grammatical meaning and function) at an abstract level, there are different degrees of inference depending on the item being dealt with, and also on the learner. Furthermore, inference that can be made at this stage is context- and situation-specific.

At this stage, all that can be done is to guess the meaning in a particular context and situation.

After asking learners to think about the meaning of language forms, the teacher should check their undertanding in short, simple words. It is important that the teacher does not complicate the explanation. Note that if you are using both "Katsudoo" and "Rikai", "Rikai" can be used to support further learning of language forms.

Inferring the meaning of a linguistic form from a conversation requires context and scene. You can use the 'Listen' response box and the answers it contains to guide the inference of meaning as you recall the content of the conversation. The following is a picture of an interaction between a teacher (T) and a student (S).

T: Let's go back to 'Listen' number 1.
What is the current season?
S: Fuyu.
T: Is it cold in Fuyu? Is it warm?
S: It's cold.
T: Yes, what will it be like around March?
S: Warm.
T: (indicate with letters) Cold → warm.
The temperature is 'kawaru'. Can you describe it in one word?
S: ?
T: Change.
(Indicate with letters) It 'narimasu' warmer.
What does it mean to 'narimasu?
S: to become (quickly look it up in an internet dictionary).
T: That's right. X changes and becomes Y. That's change.
S: I see!
Q63. In the Starter (A1) the postpositional particles '~ne' and '~yo' are used. Should I explain the postpositional particle?

The postpositional particles '~ne' and '~yo' are frequently used in conversation and therefore appear in conversation texts from the Starter (A1) level. When a learner asks a question, you can give a very brief explanation, but there is no need for proactive explanation.

'~yo' is explicitly introduced in Elementary 1 (A2) "Katsudoo" Lesson 4 when the greeting expression ('It's a nice day, isn't it?') is introduced, but here too explanations are kept to a minimum. (In the Teacher's Notes, it is explained that the 'ne' at the end of the sentence asks the other person to empathise with the speaker; and that it is used on the assumption that the other person must be having the same experience as the speaker).

In Elementary 2 (A2) "Rikai", Lesson 5, '~yo' is treated as part of the expression sentence- pattern ('v-ta/better not to (yo)') to soften the impression of the sentence.

Q70. In "Katsudoo", the kanji characters are accompanied by kana, but in "Rikai" they are not. Why is that?

In "Katsudoo", the objective Can-do is not to read (or become able to read) kanji, so kana is assigned to these words.

In "Rikai", the learning objective is to be able to read kanji, so the words in kanji presented in the 'Kanji' section of 'Japanese Script and vocabulary' are not accompanied by kana in subsequent sections.

Q71. Which should the students learn first - hiragana or katakana?

In "Marugoto", it does not matter in which order the student learns hiragana or katakana.
More important is the question of which should come first between speech and writing. It is, of course, speech that comes first. Learners learn the forms of characters (hiragana, katakana and kanji) by turning the words they heard - or they have already heard and know of - into characters. It is fair to say that learning characters is part of learning vocabulary.

Many teachers may be concerned about this question because, in conventional character learning, 'being taught' is often considered as equivalent to "have learnt". However, the 'order of presentation', the 'order of teaching', and the 'order in which learners learn' are not equivalent. Instead of starting to learn Japanese after learning the characters, students learn the characters in the course of wider Japanese language learning. For such reason, at the Starter (A1) level of "Marugoto", romaji is provided alongside hiragana and katakana as a learning aid.

Although knowing the characters assists learning, learning the characters can be a great burden for the learner. On the other hand, learners do not necessarily have to be able to understand characters in order to reach a higher level. Please consider with the learner how best to approach their learning, what is required, and to what extent.

Q72. There are students who can speak in Japanese but have trouble learning hiragana and katakana. Are there any points to be aware of when teaching?

The purpose and importance of letter learning is to understand words and expressions through visual information in the form of letters. It is therefore effective to see words and expressions, that you have heard and know, over and over again.

Please talk to the learners first about their target Japanese language ability and learning methods, and see if there is a need for character learning.

Q73. What kind of encouragement should I give to the learner to develop their ability?

If the teacher does not feel that the learner is making an effort, it is easy for the teacher to become impatient or give up. However, it is important for the teacher to continue to question and watch (wait) for the learner. What the teacher can do is to allow as much time as possible for the learner to listen to the ideas of others and to reflect on why they think the way they do.

Some learners may not seem to be participating proactively in class, but they may still be recording their learning, for instance, in their portfolios. It is also important to create a place where they can record what they notice at any time, not just in class.

Q74. How should I teach about culture?

"Marugoto"s approach is that 'by reflecting on an event or one's own behaviour, one can go deeper into the ideas and values behind it'.

On the other hand, talking about abstract topics such as ideas and values requires Japanese language skills at level B or above. Therefore, in the case of Starter (A1) to Elementary 2 (A2), even if the discussed events may take place in Japan or in Japanese, it is better to use the mother tongue or a vehicular language that learners can speak freely to discuss and think about them. Also note that it is appropriate to include time for intercultural understanding at any stage of the course.

E Test and Evaluation


Q80.How do we place students in the appropriate level class of the Marugoto course?

When placing learners, check their previous experience of learning Japanese and their current level through a questionnaire or interview.

Additionally, assess their ability to complete tasks using one of the Can-do checklists on the Marugoto website.
These checklists are available in various languages on the website, and learners can use them to self-assess their competence.

Checkpoints for Placement Assessment

Level/ItemStarter (A1)Elementary 1/2 (A2)Pre-Intermediate (A2/B1)
Learning ExperienceNoYesYes
Items learnedHave learnt and memorized very basic itemsStudied and mostly understood Starter (A1)Studied and mostly understood Elementary 1 and 2 (A2)
OtherCannot read Hiragana and KatakanaDifficult or unable to hold conversation in Japanese, although studied elementary level of JapaneseFinishing up Elementary level and advancing to Intermediate level
JLPT level (a guide)Up to N5N5 to N4N4 to N3

It is recommended that teachers allow learners to change classes (levels) even after the course has started.

If the learner is not at the Starter (A1) level, the "Japanese Test for Course Recommendation" is also useful.
This is a simple online test to help learners select a course in the "Marugoto Japanese Online Course" offered on the "JF Nihongo e-Learning Minato" platform for learning Japanese. The test can be taken in one of four languages: Japanese, English, Spanish, or Indonesian.

If their test result is A1, they are good for a Starter (A1) class; A2-1 and A2-2 for Elementary 1; A2-3 to A2-4 for Elementary 2; and A2/B1 for Pre-intermediate.

* Another way to get a rough idea of learners’ level based on the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Teaching is the Role-play test based on the JF Standard. It has been developed to make it as easy as possible for busy teachers to conduct.

Q81.How can I assess learners' achievement?

In the case of classes using Katsudoo, the method of assessment is not a written test but a performance test. Since the main learning objective of Katsudoo is interaction (conversation), the assessment should also be a conversation test. You need to use a rubric (a set of evaluation criteria). A rubric specifies the assessment perspective and performance level, and it can be designed using the JFS Can-do Statements. For more information, see the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education Guidebook for Users [New Edition].

If you are using 'Rikai', the assessment of learners' achievement can be a written test.
Marugoto' also emphasises self-assessment of learning. It is a self-assessment of whether you have been able to do the Can-do and understand the language items after the class. This is important for developing learner autonomy.
Please make use of the 'Test and Reflection' section (which includes test methods, sample questions, etc.) in each of the 'Katsudoo' and 'Rikai' coursebooks, and the 'Can-do Check' lists and 'Nihongo Check' lists for self-assessment both in the coursebooks and on the Marugoto website.

Q82.Tell us about the conversation test.

Commonly known methods of conversation testing include interviews and role-plays. Rubrics are also used for conversation tests. Rubrics are statements of assessment criteria and achievement levels, which not only help to avoid discrepancies in assessment results between teachers, but also provide useful feedback to learners. Rubrics can be designed using the JFS Can-do Statements. For more information, see the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education Guidebook for Users [New Edition].

Examples of how to conduct the 'Marugoto' 'Katsudoo' conversation test and sample questions can be found in the 'Test and Reflection' section of the coursebooks. In 'Marugoto' 'Katsudoo', it is suggested that while waiting for the test, learners conduct a discussion activity using their portfolios in the classroom. This method involves two teachers, one in charge of the test and one in charge of the discussion activity: while one teacher conducts the conversation test, the other teacher observes the learners' discussions and prevents learners who have been tested from revealing the contents of their role cards to other learners. If you cannot find a colleague to cover the discussion activity, prepare three tasks for each of the interviews and role-plays and give the learners a random combination of tasks. This is only an example, and you can find other ways to implement conversation tests in a good manner.

* The Japan Foundation has made available the Role-play test based on the JF Standard for Japanese Language Education. It has been developed to make it as easy as possible for busy teachers to conduct and allows them to get a rough idea of their learners' level based on the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education.

Q83. Does "Marugoto" correspond to the levels of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)?

The JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education, to which "Marugoto" conforms, uses the competence in accomplishing tasks - i.e. what can be done with Japanese - as an indicator of level.

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), on the other hand, measures comprehensive Japanese communicative competence in three components: language knowledge (characters, words and grammar), reading comprehension and listening comprehension.

While Marugoto aims to develop competence in accomplishing tasks, it also covers linguistic knowledge in a new and effective way, making it possible for Marugoto learners to pass the JLPT at a reasonable level.

Learners who wish to pass the JLPT are advised to address any deficiencies separately and to familiarise themselves with the question format using the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbooks.

The guidelines for taking the JLPT are as follows

<Marugoto JLPT>

End of Elementary 1 (A2)N5
End of Pre-Intermediate (A2/B1)N4
End of Intermediate 2 (B1)N3

There are various tests as means of measuring (part of) the results of learning Japanese, but they are not the ultimate goal of learning Japanese. The tests and assessments need to be considered from the perspective of what is expected of Japanese language learners and in line with the demands of society.

F Online Teaching


Q90. Can I use "Marugoto" for online classes?

You can use it. However, please note the following conditions.

・The class should be a closed session, and all participants must have a copy of "Marugoto" coursebook.

  • You may project the "Marugoto" on the camera, read the "Marugoto" out loud, and play the audio files. However, please remind students not to take screen captures, screen shots, or take video recording of the class.
  • You may "cut and paste" the text and illustrations from the "Marugoto" to use in your classroom materials. However, please do not change the names of the "Marugoto" characters such as 'Joy-san' and 'Carla-san'.
  • Images (photos) in the "Marugoto" coursebooks may not be used. This is because some of the images (photos) used in "Marugoto" have not been licensed for secondary use.
  • When distributing classroom materials, please do so in a way that only the participants can receive them. Please make sure that data for class materials is not redistributed, and that they cannot be easily used even if they are redistributed. For example, you may protect the data with a password that only the participants can know.
  • You may create your own exercises based on the contents of the "Marugoto". However, you may not use images (photos) from the "Marugoto".
  • Please refer to the following questions and answers regarding recording classes.
  • Please also refer to Q33 and Q34 for audio files.
Q91. Can I record a class using "Marugoto" and show it online to my students?

Yes, you can record your class. However, please note the following conditions.

  • Recordings must be viewable only by registered students, and must be made available through a system that requires a login or other means of identification.
  • Video recordings of classes may not be sent to students via email or other electronic means.
  • Please delete recordings after one week.
  • Please remind students not to take screen captures, screen shots, or take video recording of the class.
Q92. How should online classes proceed?

The website "MARUGOTO+ (MARUGOTO Plus)" offers a variety of activities and information on vocabulary, grammar, kanji, conversation, listening and Japanese life and culture. We hope you will find it useful.

G JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education


Q100. What are 'standards' and 'can-dos'?

The standards are the main framework we use to guide us in teaching Japanese. One of the tools we use to put these guidelines into practice in the classroom is Can-do.

For example, the "JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education" provides Can-dos as effective tools for implementing action-oriented, task-orien-ted teaching and assessment.

The Can-dos in the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education describe specific and varied language activities, in addition to the general competence descriptions in the Global Scale and Self-Assessment Grid of the CEFR and the JF Standards.

Q101.How can a learner achieve the C Level of the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education?

C-Level learners are 'proficient language users' and require a higher level of Japanese language performance, beyond the everyday level, in topics and areas that are necessary for the learner.

For this reason, it is effective to prepare teaching materials that are tailored to the needs of the learners, rather than 'textbooks'. For example, when teaching C-level Japanese at a company, it is necessary to understand what specific language activities are carried out at C-level in the context specific to that company, and to create teaching materials based on this.

Learners who have approached C-level through the "Marugoto" method of learning (i.e. aiming to perform tasks in real-life situations and doing self-assessment) may be able to find tasks appropriate to their level in their own use of Japanese. In such case, learners can take the initiative to set individual tasks or joint tasks for a group, and the teacher could support them.

H Others


Q110. Are there plans for further publication?

Publication of "Marugoto" books ends with Intermediate 2 (B1).

Q111. If the content that the learners want to cover is not included in the textbook, should the teacher create a separate teaching material?

If the learners' needs are clear and they have a request to be taught in class, it is possible for teachers to create their own teaching materials.

To do this, they should find or develop level-appropriate Can-dos based on the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education, find or develop teaching materials (e.g. model texts), as well as think about learning methods.

Arranging existing teaching materials for your own classroom is also an option.