The general attitude toward foreign language is that it doesn't matter who teaches it since the material is all more or less the same. I don't agree... but you'll find that nearly all universities employ adjuncts and part-time professors (usually the Japanese wives of other professors) for most courses in Japanese departments on the basis that they are "native speakers" and very little else. That doesn't mean they're bad teachers... only that the bag tends to be a bit more mixed and that their teaching background and/or English skills may not be stellar.I am still in high school and I was wondering if you knew of any schools that excell in teaching japanese? I plan on taking a summer class with St. Petersburg College in Florida, and I have tried to study before hand on my own. Any suggestions?
Everyone learns differently... I've been taught Japanese by 4 different professors in my University career: 2 I loved, 2 I hated... some gave me As, some gave me Cs... with just a teacher swap my performance in the class would rise or fall accordingly. I have two that write me recommendations regularly and think I'm highly motivated... and have had one deny me a recommendation letter flat-out saying that he didn't think I had "any real interest in learning Japanese". I'm still not sure what made him reach that conclusion... but I'm convinced it has a lot to do with me complaining that he would use nothing but unfamiliar, unglossed kanji we hadn't learned on exams (incidentally, almost the entire class flunked... except the Chinese students ~ who all got As).
For me, anyway, a lot depended on the teacher.
It might take a while to find one who inspires you (or just gets along with you)... so if language is your primary concern, rather than looking for a university with a "good" Japanese program, you should probably be looking for one that will provide you a nice range of selection when it comes to teachers. (ie. a LARGE Japanese department)