July 20, 2013: Cory Koby "Ready or not, here it comes! High school curriculum changes."

posted Jan 28, 2014, 6:52 PM by Hamamatsu JALT


Ready or not, here it comes! High school curriculum changes, July 20th, 2013.


Cory Koby from Sendai Shirayuri Gauken Jr./Sr. High School presented a comprehensive review of the attitudes of English teachers (foreign and Japanese), and Japanese students toward Teaching and Learning English in English (TLEIE). “Course of Study” was introduced in 2009 by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and a main aim was that from 2013, senior high school students develop communicative competence via teaching and learning methods, similar to those outlined in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). This policy is a shift from grammar-translation methods, and has been met with some trepidation from Japanese students and teachers. Koby empirically illustrated that Japanese teachers and students held either mostly neutral or negative attitudes towards their ability to succeed TLEIE.  Native speakers of English had fewer doubts. Indicative of this lack of confidence was his observation that little changed, bar the language of delivery, in many TLEIE classrooms; that is, communicative skills were not employed. Koby drew the conclusion, among others, that more communication was needed between universities and schools. Teachers are unaware English components of tertiary entrance exams were no longer based solely on grammar-translation. This communication would encourage extrinsic motivation of teachers and students to develop communicative skills. Teachers also needed more support, role models, in-service training, clear guidelines, and training in communicative methodology for TLEIE to succeed. Students need affective support to encourage high expectations of themselves, and to develop self-confidence in their abilities. A fascinating presentation with substantial support material, Koby’s subject is one that will have repercussions into the future.