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Marcus Theobald

The English education system in Japan is terrible and the fault must lay with successive leaders in Monbushou. How can the system be changed?
I work at a university in Kagoshima and our foriegn students from Korea, Macau and Taiwan speak much better English than any of our native students. The Chinese students ability in English is better than the Japanese but below the Taiwan, Macau and Koreans.

I think an interesting fact to note is that the personality of the foriegn students is much more lively, vibrant and full of joi de vivre which is conducive to second language acquisition. The Japanese students are rather subdued and lacking in spunk.

Thanks for the information Aya.

Marcus

08

17

16:13

Aya

Thanks for your comment. My observation also reveals that students from those Asian countries are much more fluent in speaking and writing than Japanese native students. The English education systems in those countries seem to be rather different from that of Japan, in a good sense, which we’ll have to seriously consider. I’m not going to defend the Japanese students you mentioned, but I conceive that it is somewhat reasonable for the students who’re willing to study abroad to have such lively, vibrant personalities whereas most of the native Japanese students don’t have clear objectives or goals of learning English, and take English courses just to earn a credit.

That said, I often worry about the apathy and lack of enthusiasm that Japanese young generations have for English learning. We, educators, should try to open their eyes to the joy, value and necessity to earn good command of English. Considering the declining global presence of Japan, I strongly feel that we need to assist young generations to acquire English proficiency to get even with those Asian counterparts.

08

18

13:41

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02

09

コメント

Input through Public English Education in Japan

This is my posting on the discussion board of "Second Language Acquisition" course of TESOL program. It's fresh from the press, so to speak ;-) Hope you enjoy reading it.


Having read thought-provoking comments on the language distance of Japanese and TOEFL scores of Japanese examinees, I recall reading presentation materials by Dr. Yukio Tono from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies a while ago and I think his findings are somewhat worthy of sharing among us. His research focus is on the differences in input through textbooks used in educational systems in Japan and other Asian countries, which is supposedly related to the linguistic environment.

Tono (2008) examined English textbooks adopted by junior high schools in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China to analyze the vocabulary which is to be exposed to young English learners in those Asian countries. He summarized the research that textbooks in both Korea and Taiwan cover twice, almost three times in China, as the number of words as the one in Japan. In terms of the amount of English texts, Korean and Taiwanese textbooks contain 2.5 to 4.5 times, and Chinese textbooks contain 4 to 6 times longer texts than those of Japanese. During three years in Japanese junior high schools, students learn about 1000 new words, which accounts for the number of words that Korean, Taiwanese, and Chinese elementary school students will have learned by the time of graduation. (Note: Onset of English education in public schools is different among Asian countries. For instance, English education in Korea and China start at 3rd grade, whereas Taiwan starts at 4th grade.) Tono points out that Japanese young learners will have to wait to read formally written passages until high school since junior high-schoolers are exposed to colloquial English with plain words. Although Japanese English education seems to catch up by inputting a large amount of vocabulary in high school, it is quite demanding for students to acquire the advanced-level vocabulary packed into a given, as well as limited, amount of texts.

Upon reading this report, I could not help wonder if both quality and quantity of the input that Japanese learners are supposed to obtain in their initial stages of English learning is not sufficient. It is true that school education is not the sole source for English instruction and competent school teachers overcome the limitation of government-designated curriculum and instructional materials. Still, I have some kind of concerns over input-scarce situations in Japanese English education system suggested in the report. When interpreting poorly demonstrated TOEFL scores by Japanese examinees, there are many factors to take into consideration such as language distance, people’s values and mindset, motivation, learning style, discourse style, and even economics. In addition to these, I would like to propose the input through public English education as a candidate worthy of consideration.


Reference:
投野由紀夫(2008). アジア各国と日本の教科書比較. Retrieved February 8. http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/kyouiku_kondan/kaisai/dai3/2seku/2s-siryou3.pdf
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Marcus Theobald

The English education system in Japan is terrible and the fault must lay with successive leaders in Monbushou. How can the system be changed?
I work at a university in Kagoshima and our foriegn students from Korea, Macau and Taiwan speak much better English than any of our native students. The Chinese students ability in English is better than the Japanese but below the Taiwan, Macau and Koreans.

I think an interesting fact to note is that the personality of the foriegn students is much more lively, vibrant and full of joi de vivre which is conducive to second language acquisition. The Japanese students are rather subdued and lacking in spunk.

Thanks for the information Aya.

Marcus

08

17

16:13

Aya

Thanks for your comment. My observation also reveals that students from those Asian countries are much more fluent in speaking and writing than Japanese native students. The English education systems in those countries seem to be rather different from that of Japan, in a good sense, which we’ll have to seriously consider. I’m not going to defend the Japanese students you mentioned, but I conceive that it is somewhat reasonable for the students who’re willing to study abroad to have such lively, vibrant personalities whereas most of the native Japanese students don’t have clear objectives or goals of learning English, and take English courses just to earn a credit.

That said, I often worry about the apathy and lack of enthusiasm that Japanese young generations have for English learning. We, educators, should try to open their eyes to the joy, value and necessity to earn good command of English. Considering the declining global presence of Japan, I strongly feel that we need to assist young generations to acquire English proficiency to get even with those Asian counterparts.

08

18

13:41

管理者にだけ表示を許可する

この記事のトラックバックURL

http://ayay515.blog111.fc2.com/tb.php/39-38512702

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Aya

Author:Aya
English learner

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