Issues in EFL in Japan (Not currently being updated)

My name in James Hall and I teach an English Teaching Methodologies class for aspiring English teachers and advising 5 senior students (one is in the USA). This blog is will be used as a forum to discuss issued in EFL in Japan. This blog will also serve as a portal to the learners' blogs as I will periodically summarize the hot topics appearing in the learners' blogs. Please come join us!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ETM3 Students give advice to people planning to work in Japanese Junior High Schools

Last week, Mr. M, an English teacher from a junior high school in Morioka, came to our class and talked to us about working as an English teacher in a Junior High School in Japan. From this lecture we were able to get a lot of good ideas about the challenges of teaching English and how to interact with students. We also learned a lot about the working life of a junir high school student. I asked ETM3 students to write a post in their blogs and give advice to prospective English teachers or ALTs in a Japanese junior high school. I asked them to base their advice on Mr. M's lecture and their own knowledge. We have already had a number of students write posts and I will attach the links of students who have written posts as the posts come in.

Happy Days
Pinch Hitter
John Wang
Head Banger
Chocolate Ice Cream
There will be more links soon!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

ETM3 Students Blog about their Futures and Issues they Face in the Present

Last week, I asked students in ETM3 to write about whatever was on their minds. One popular theme was "What should I do in the future?"
Cheesecake is thinking about becoming a Kindergarten Teacher while Eringo writes that the more she learns the more confused she becomes about what she wants to be! Mitoch writes that in the future she wants to use English for her work. To be honest, I (JH) used to think that I wanted to use Japanese some day for my work, and not I am!
74napochi wrote two very interesting posts. One about how her life has changed as a university student and another about her dreams and the harsh reality of life.

There were also a lot of ETM3 students who wrote candidly about the anxiety they were feeling about their 1 month long teaching practice starting in September. Lion wrote about her frame of mind as she prepares to English at a junior high school. Happy Days asks for advice about how she should prepare for her teaching practice at an elementary school. She says that although she has experience teaching English, elementary school teachers have to be able to teach all subjects!

Some students blogged about their teaching experiences: Pinch Hitter talks about his experience working with a Brazilian ALT and Happy Days talks about her experience as a volunteer at a nursing home to fulfill a requirement for her teacher's license.

Lastly, Gakusei blogs about the best way to translate "seisyun" into English.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gov't panel wants unmotivated students to forgo teacher-training

There is a movement to have universities prevent unmotivated students from doing teacher training because they cause trouble.
Do you think this is a problem?
Here is the link below:

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Problems with Teacher Education and ETM3

In my personal blog, I wrote about some of the problems I see with teacher education. It is a little long but please read it if you have the time. My main argument was the primary problem with teacher education is that students take classes just to receive the credit they need to get their licenses and not because they have any interest in the class. This, I believe, can lead to students to view learning as "just doing what you are being told to do" rather than something you do to satisfy your own curiousity.
Recently, I realized that I might have been giving ETM3 members too many detailed blogging assignments causing you to lose interest in blogs as a means to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with other people and to get their reactions. This week, I would like you to write about anything you want to (But if you do not want to write, then don't write). For example, Pinch Hitter has written about his experience teaching English in Kitakami. Happy Days has written about her once in a lifetime chance as a nursing home volunteer (a requirement to get your teacher's license) . Happy Days also has asked for some advice on how she should prepare to teach all subjects for her elementary school teaching practice. Maybe some students who have already done her elementary school teaching practice can give her some advice! Reading these two blogs have given me some hope for teacher education. Despite the problems, we have many dedicated aspiring teachers who will some day make wonderful contributions to education in Japan.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bizzare Japanese English Education Videos

These are the most bizzare English conversation instructional materials I have seen and were produced by a Japanese television station.

The first video was taken from Daniel Kirk's blog. We watched it in ETM3.

The second video was taken from the blog of an American living in Korea.

What do you think of these videos? What would you tell someone watching these videos outside of Japan. Do you think this would give them false images of English education in Japan?