Class Ideas

How do you communicate with dolphins?

Author:Yoko Nishimura-Parke

Topic/Goals:Communication、Global Issues、Nature and the Environment、Self, Family, and Friends


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Students will read an article of Mr Okuyama who work at an aquarium and learn about communication between people and dolphins. By reflecting on their own relationship with animals, students will explore humans’ relationship with animals as well as the natural environment.


• Learn about the ways of communication with dolphins.
• Talk about the learners’ experiences that they felt when they and an animal understood each other. They then write about the experience.
• Research an animal of their choice and present the findings in Japanese.

Target Senior high school level or higher
Japanese Level Advanced
What to prepare


1. Questions to help students' comprehension
a) What is Mr. Okuyama's profession?
b) When did Mr. Okuyama start to have an interest in fish?
c) What did Mr. Okuyama study at vocational school?
d) What meaning did the part-time job Mr. Okuyama found during summer vacation have for him? Explain in detail.
e) How do the trainers communicate with the dolphins. Explain what they do?
f) When did Mr. Okuyama say he thought he and the dolphins understood each other?
g) Explain why Mr. Okuyama feels that dolphins are like humans?

2. Discussion points
h) How can you tell that dolphins are intelligent? Support your answer by referring to the text.
i) Have you felt that you and an animal understood each other? When did you feel so?
j) Why do you think Mr. Okuyama came to feel that he and the dolphins understood each other's feelings?
k) Do you think Mr. Okuyama is enjoying his job? Why do you think so?

3. Creative task 
l) Have you ever kept a pet? Have you felt that you and the pet communicate so well that you understood each other's feelings? If you have, write about the experience to Mr. Okuyama. (200 - 300ji)
m) Research an animal of your choice, and present your findings to the class. In your research, include the following points. You can create a presentation with images and other visual material if you wish.
• What is the animal called in Japanese?
• Where/what kind of places do they live?
• What do they eat?
• What are their characteristics?
• What kind of relationship do they have with people?
• Other information
If you notice any environmental issues related to the animal, share them with your class.

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