2014 October 12 | Cory Koby | Japanese High School English Curriculum Changes...
Ready or not, here it comes! Japanese high school English curriculum changes under the new course of study
Date and Time:Sunday, 12 October 2014 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology introduced its once-in-a-decade “Course of Study” in 2009, and the final phase of the mandated changes took effect in April 2013. Cory will outline the changes in high school English language curriculum, with particular attention paid to what has NOT changed. Teacher and student perceptions, attitudes, and practices will be discussed, and empirical evidence will be presented which illustrate the significant obstacles facing the implementation MEXT’s goal of TLEIE (Teaching and Learning English in English).
A survey of past research in this field, beginning with Browne and Wada's foundational 1998 study, will help set the backdrop for Cory's own current research which investigates the relationship between English education policy and practice within Japan.
After an opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the issues raised, attendees will walk away with a better understanding of the challenges that Japanese high school teachers of English (JTEs) face in their transition from traditional grammar-translation methodology to truly communicative language education.
----- Some notes from the presentation -----
New curriculum for high schools.
Cory is from Canada - Law Undergraduate - previously he owned a business. Came to Japan in 2007 and worked at an Eikaiwa school at first. Now he is working at a private Junior/Senior high school in Sendai. He is also the president of JALT Sendai.
Now he’s doing a master’s degree in London University of East London.
Using English in the Classroom - Cory reports that less than 50% of JTEs use English in the classroom.
Cory Koby presenting
One of the bigger changes to the new curriculum is the addition of 800 words to the list of words required in study for JHS and SHS. This makes the total of words studied by the time Japanese students graduate from High School to be around 3000 words.
The impressive point of this increase is that for the first time in 30 years, that number has been increased. It stayed at 2,200 for over 30 years.
Number of hours to study English per week for students hasn't changed overall; the maximum number of hours is 21. The minimum number hours is just 2 hours.
2009a - See Cory's slide for translation. This represents the translation of the MEXT requirements for English in the classroom. 2009b shows a clarification made later on by MEXT, but teachers reported it wasn't much clearer.
MEXT EFL Learning Objective - To develop students’ communication abilities. (Mext Course of Study (1999, 2009)
Communicative Competence - The objective shared by all three major areas concerned.
Nagasaki JALT members and guests
Industrial influence Government influence Teachers’ Union influence Ashikawa Achievement Test Case (1976) Teachers don’t have to follow the government requirements.
Effect on Communicative Competence (See slides) - Learners must show deference and respect - Bad manners if you “show off” - Knowledge is transferred from teachers to learners - Egalitarian approach - all students continued equal. - Belief that proficiency can be acquired by effort - Hierarchy of learners and of teachers
Native Speaker - see slide on issues with Native speakers recruited for teaching.
Issues with “all-English lessons” - see slide on these issues.
Then Cory showed us a video from MEXT showing a demonstration lesson with some promise.