Tuesday, March 06, 2007

TELL ME ABOUT IT

The devil is in the details. I've taught English here for years (though I ceased as soon as possible), as have so many other English-natives (and non-natives) here; the article linked to below excellently captures the problems and frustrations involved. My favorite anecdote is "When I visited an English class in Japan, I was advised to bring along an interpreter. That puzzled me initially but once I sat in the class, I understood why."

My son Keech, who went to Japanese schools from mid-grammar school to junior high, after which he finished up in the US, was always getting in trouble for correcting his Japanese English teachers' pronunciation, and frustrated by the fact that the English was being taught in Japanese!

How English is taught in Japan

5 comments:

mary lou said...

Have you heard the frogs yet? Traditionally it is Mar 8 here, nothing yet!

Robert Brady said...

Not a peep... We're now having one of the coldest days this year so far!

Anonymous said...

It is "natural" to reject anything that is "foreign", eh? You know, I believe some/most of the problem is not that children can't learn or even don't want to learn English, but that support for speaking English isn't really coming from the parents at home, or the society at large. It may well be more a matter of attitude than apptitude.Too bad, too, because the preschool children I was teaching for the past two years seemed to love their English classes, and had very positive attitudes. Unfortunately, the time they got for English was only 30 minutes 2 or three times a month, not really enough to make much headway. And after that time I was "retired" from the classes because they needed "new fresh ideas". Their idea of a curriculum, I presume, is just to introduce the children to new "foreign faces" every few years, and since we are all interchangeable, what we teach matters little. It's discouraging.

Robert Brady said...

'Foreignization' (my word) is still a big factor here. It wasn't too long ago that businessmen who had been posted abroad for a few years were considered no longer 'Japanese' enough to rise to executive positions in their companies. And their children had to go to special schools here upon their return. I think that same mindset may still be a big factor in children's education, lest they lose their 'Japaneseness.' Academic tenure for foreigners was pretty much terminated some years ago for somewhat the same reason.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what they may be afraid of losing, or catching. But I think a better term might be "foreignification".