July 25th, 2009 - Changing English education in Japan at its roots

posted Jan 15, 2012, 10:29 PM by Hamamatsu JALT

Changing English education in Japan at its roots

Dan Frost and Tetsuya Ozono

Dan and Tetsuya are team teachers at a private junior high school in Hamamatsu. During the spring – summer term they tried several new ideas in teaching first year students. Two of their main goals were to expose students to natural English and guide students to learn English through English. They used simple story-books, written by native speakers, and they developed a personal picture dictionary, which the students could write in words by themselves. Finally, Dan and Tetsuya demonstrated ways that basic grammar can be taught with very limited explanation in Japanese. Switching the Subject and Verb when asking a question, was demonstrated by assigning different colors to the grammatical functions. Dan also pointed out that in currently used textbooks approved by the Ministry of Science and Education, some of the English is quite unnatural and even contains mistakes. One way to avoid this in the future would be to choose materials written by native speakers which are designed for beginning learners.
Reported by Dan Frost