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bigredgoofball
January 24th, 2011, 09:49
I know some of you serving JET's are teaching now as far down the grades as Elementary school... this article from the Japan Times seems to question whether Japanese teachers are really prepared for teaching English in lower grades:

Teachers call for more prep time | The Japan Times Online (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110123b2.html)

Do you think your school districts are really ready to start teaching English in lower grade levels? Are you already doing so? What's your opinion? How's it going?

Azrael
January 24th, 2011, 10:34
what do you mean start? they have been teaching english for 5th and 6th grades with textbooks for years.

how many links to the japan times are you planning on posting today?

bigredgoofball
January 24th, 2011, 10:39
I get the feeling from the article that the prep-time in question is for lower grades, like 1st-4th? My impression was as you said, that upper elementary grades were already having mandatory English classes...

LOL.... I know, I've posted several recently. I'm sort of surprised to find this many in such a short amount of time. I started reading the news daily last month, so I'll be roughly up to speed come interview time. Just in case.

bigredgoofball
January 24th, 2011, 10:39
Incidentally... is ITIL having issues with double-posting? I get these long pauses, and then it posts my one entry twice. Done it several times the past couple of weeks...

Azrael
January 24th, 2011, 10:43
what gave you the impression it was talking about 1-4?

bigredgoofball
January 24th, 2011, 10:56
MMm... mostly deduction. The article says "...start of the new school year in April, which will see the introduction of English classes and revised textbooks with increased material." Since I've heard some JET's on here saying how they work at Elementary schools already in higher grades, the impression I got was that this "introduction of English classes" must be for lower grade levels. It also sounds like the 5th & 6th graders are getting new textbooks and expanded curriculum? I'd have to hear opinions from some serving JETs in elementary schools to be sure of either of those points, though.

ten_of_spades
January 24th, 2011, 11:39
They're trying to link the 5th and 6th grade curriculums to that of the JHS one so there's better transition. Now everyone will know the fascinating backstory behind pre-broken arm Kumi. If my ES was any indication though, 90% of the new lessons will be ignored in favour of useful instruction.

Grades 1-4 will still be "retsu singingu and dancing!" free lessons designed to cut down on the pants-wetting when Kenji and Kumi Scumbag see a foreigner.

Page
January 24th, 2011, 18:41
I think they're setting 1-4 at like 10 hours a year and 5-6 at 35 (or something like that?). But what your city BOE (and then further down the line, your town) dictates beyond that is up to them so a lot of us already do plenty of ES work. I do once a week with kinder and 3 - 6 (ends up being about 35 for all of them). 1st and 2nd years are the only ones I see just once a month.

patjs
January 26th, 2011, 18:05
They still are not serious about getting the kids to learn English. If they were they would make it a real subject from a young age and treat it as such. They've raised the bar a bit for 5th and 6th graders but as ten said the rest of the young kids classes are basically to get them to have fun and get used to being around foreigners more. If you think you're going to come here actually really be teaching 2nd graders English think again. You'll be coming to play with them and act like a clown.

patjs
January 26th, 2011, 18:06
They still are not serious about getting the kids to learn English. If they were they would make it a real subject from a young age and treat it as such. They've raised the bar a bit for 5th and 6th graders but as ten said the rest of the young kids classes are basically to get them to have fun and get used to being around foreigners more. If you think you're going to come here actually really be teaching 2nd graders English think again. You'll be coming to play with them and act like a clown.

kalliea
January 27th, 2011, 11:02
When the position in my town started it was primarily for preschool kids. The original ALT spent 3 days a week at the local youchien. It has changed some, but I still only teach 1.5 days at a JHS, everything else is ES and younger.

For the ES classes, the Japanese teachers are totally unprepared to teach English, so they don't. It isn't considered part of their jobs. Most don't even stay in the room for English class. So it shouldn't really be a question of is the JTE ready, but is the ALT.

Jojo
January 27th, 2011, 12:56
For the ES classes, the Japanese teachers are totally unprepared to teach English, so they don't. It isn't considered part of their jobs. Most don't even stay in the room for English class. So it shouldn't really be a question of is the JTE ready, but is the ALT.
Exactly! - Elementary teachers are not english teachers - theyre not JTE's - i dont blame them for not wanting to do it - i wouldnt want to teach japanese!

UPGRAYEDD
January 28th, 2011, 13:26
You guys act like elementary school English is difficult or something.

University educated Japanese teachers with 7+ years of learning English under their belts do not need special training to teach Kumi-chan how to say "I like strawberries".

Tarquin
January 28th, 2011, 13:33
You guys act like elementary school English is difficult or something.


This. Seriously as an ES ALT I can say it's a walk in the park when you get down to it. Sure it's a learning curve at the beginning (especially when, like me you're thrown into a class and told "go")

There is nothing in the current course of study stating that ES levels 1 - 4 must have English lessons, only for 5 and 6 (at 35 hours per year)

kalliea
January 30th, 2011, 21:58
You guys act like elementary school English is difficult or something.

University educated Japanese teachers with 7+ years of learning English under their belts do not need special training to teach Kumi-chan how to say "I like strawberries".

Less than half of my 5th grade teachers could read/write/say that sentance. None of them could do the entire vocab.grammar from Eigo noto.

Remember, these teachers majored in Education, not English. They may have needed 16 credits in language, not 36 or 44 as they would for their field.

Easy_money
January 30th, 2011, 22:10
How hard is it to prep a lesson where the ALT teaches the 2nd graders Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?

Easy_money
January 30th, 2011, 22:11
Woops.

UPGRAYEDD
January 30th, 2011, 22:11
MOST of your UNIVERSITY educated Japanese teachers cannot read that sentence?

Now you're just lying again.

You think these people just effed around when they studied English in school and university but they somehow managed to pass entrance exams to high schools and universities WITHOUT being able to read that sentence....of course in order for these people to actually get into university they needed to read and understand much, much more complex English sentences.

But somehow they magically forgot how to read and understand "I like strawberries". Come on.

kalliea
January 30th, 2011, 23:25
I think I needed to pass calc2 to graduate, but 7 years without taking a single math class I don't think I can remember the quadratic formula, let alone functions and limits.

Yes, they needed to pass basic levels to get into university. But they might not have had a class in 20 years. In the 4 years between my study abroad and moving hear I lost almost all my Japanese. That is what happens when you don't use a language - you forget it. Given the lack of motivation the average elementary school teacher has to practice their English, why would the possibly retain it?

Bottom line, no, I don't think the 50 year old teacher who has never spoken a word of English in my presence and can't be fucked to come to class most the time could sting together an English sentance. He certainly doesn't know the difference between when to use strawberries and strawberry.

UPGRAYEDD
January 30th, 2011, 23:42
They retain it because they live in a society that is bombarded with English and romanji usage.

Eigo note doesn't teach kids how to have actual conversations or anything complex at all, so the teachers do not have to teach this and should relax. They are teaching crap like "I like strawberries" and "I want to go to Italy."

This is the most basic English there is. These teachers were reading passages of Shakespeare to get into college.

kalliea
January 31st, 2011, 00:10
And forgetting it 10 minutes after their last required test. Seriously.

I work in ES. I do all the lesson planning. I work with the teachers. I know their English levels. Most, I grant you, can do the 'I like apples' lesson. By the time we get to 'I have black socks/ I have a red T-shirt' it is beyond their ability because they can't do the a / 's. Things like 'On Monday I study English' are beyond them. I'm not saying that no ES teachers can speak English, or that they all forgot what they learned in college. But your argument that they live in a society where they are bombarded with English and romanji is silly. I'm not saying they can pluck some English words out of the air. I'm saying for the most part they won't remember the finer points of grammar.

That being said, for ever ES teacher out there that can hold a conversation with their ALT in passable English there is a teacher who can barely get out a 'good morning.' I'm sure the average lies somewhere in the middle.

Also, don't most Japanese universites depend more on written tests/verbal comprehension? Maybe they might remember more in writing/reading since that is what they studied, but since the kids aren't to that level the teacher wouldn't be much help with pronunciation.