These lessons suggestions are my idea for a Japanese course. Note that I have worked as a lesson writer for other languages for several years, but my knowledge of Japanese is not very good. The target audience is the hobbyist absolute beginner, characterized by
- knowing English well even if they are not a native speaker
- having no previous knowledge of Japanese except a shaky knowledge of the Kana
- being under no particular time constraints to learn the language
- wanting to learn Japanese for personal reasons, such as having Japanese friends, enjoying manga/anime or planning a trip to Japan
- being inexperienced at language learning and easy to scare off / easy to lose motivation
From my experience, this group is actually the majority of young people wanting to learn Japanese. This particular target audience places several restrictions on the course (which won't hurt it too much if somebody from outside the target audience visits either):
- everything has to be explained, e. g. including the very concept of a "particle". Compare to English whenever possible to lessen the "alien" feel of Japanese.
- vocabulary and situations should be basic and taken from everyday life
- language should be polite in tourist situations and informal/modern in any other situation (for use with Japanese friends or over the internet)
- lessons need to be dead-easy. For this purpose, preferably write several small lessons rather than one big one. The ratio of Japanese dialog/text to grammar explanations or length of vocabulary lists should be always favoring Japanese dialog/text, as exposure to the language is vital.
- we need to provide the motivation. A lesson is motivating if it is funny, wow-ing, or at the very least of obvious usefulness. It also helps to have a consistent story told over several lessons, so people come back to read more.
- tips for how to learn/memorize something will always be welcome
Story: The protagonist arrives at the airport. His friend/host is supposed to pick him up there, but the protagonist is not sure which of the Japanese people it is, so he strikes up conversations with various people waiting there.
Teach: Greeting, introducing oneself using "desu", asking whether the other one is X using "ka", answering negatively with ja-arimasen and answering positively.
Story: The protagonist has found his friend/host and has gone home with him. His friend introduces his friend or family. Small talk.
Teach: Introducing others, particles "no" and "wa", saying more about oneself (e. g. -jin, come from, occupation...)
Lesson 3: Around the house
Story: The protagonist is unfamiliar with Japanese interior design and has to ask where some things are in the house.
Teach: Questions with "doko" and "arimasu ka", answers with "arimasu" / "arimasen", particle "ga", particle "ni" if unavoidable.
Lesson 4: Making plans
Story: For now the protagonist is too tired to do anything, but afterwards he may want to, and his host already has some ideas. Teach: Questions with "itsu... ka?", verbs for present and future, "tai desu", maybe another particle (e. g. "o") if it fits well.