Since 2010, a major shift in Japanese language education has been seen. Until then, there was a tendency of setting a basis of grammatical structures and vocabulary needed for each level and the content of textbooks or language education in general was formed around them. Since 2010, The Japan Foundation has introduced the Can-do standard, grounded on CEFR and adjusted according to the needs of Japanese language acquisition. This approach implies situational and goal focused learning, meaning that the task of a teacher is to prepare students to communicate functionally in certain situations in real life. Moreover, it focuses on using Japanese not merely as a language spoken by Japanese people but as a tool of communication in a globalized society. It emphasizes diversity of backgrounds of its speakers and needs for intercultural understanding and exchange.
Speaking from the perspective of Japanese language educator at university level in Serbia, we can notice that one of the advantages of this approach is creating space not only for usage of general textbooks but a number of realia collected from situations in real life in Japan. This can foster customization of language acquisition according to learners` interests.
The biggest advantage of the Can-do approach is probably enabling people living and working in Japan to communicate functionally within a short time frame. However, when teaching Japanese on academic level, we have to keep in mind that this approach may not be sufficient and may result in students lacking structural basis of the language. Accordingly, one of the main tasks of educators is to create balance between functional situational communication and thoroughly teaching essential grammar structures and vocabulary.
This presentation will discuss the advantages and difficulties of this approach on the basis of the experience collected from teaching Japanese language at Faculty of Philology at the University of Belgrade.