March Forum

posted Apr 17, 2012, 6:19 AM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated Nov 5, 2012, 3:49 PM ]
In March we had a forum with four speakers: Darryl Mellows on "Realistic goals for teaching children", Dan Frost on “In Japanese junior high schools, how important is grammar for learning English?”, _______ on high school students and Gregg McNabb on "English for University - The divide between students' needs, instructors' beliefs and students' expectations.” 

Darryl Mellows discussed how students at the elementary age are largely being failed by the low expectations being placed on them compounded by the poor curriculum provided by MEXT. Too much time and resources have been allocated to “expose”, almost exclusively, grade 5 and 6 students to the English language. He believes a new and much more challenging mindset must be adopted in the approach to teaching young learners in order to effectively utilize the technology and resources being provided. 

Dan Frost  discussed how the traditional roles are for the Japanese teacher (JT) to teach grammar, and the native-English speaking teacher (NT) to focus on oral communication. However, in recent years JTs in junior high school are trying to use the communicative method of teaching with less explicit emphasis on grammar. The discussion looked at how JTs and NTs might work together in teaching both communication and grammar.

Gregg McNabb discussed the current status and outlook for Japanese universities, including whether the central entrance examination system is really so awful, and how changing the university start to September is good for some, but unnecessary for many others.

March, 2012