English Language Teaching Japan, the Untold Story

by Kevin R Burns
(Machida, Tokyo)

English Language Teaching Japan, the Untold Story

English Language Teaching Japan

English Language Teaching Japan - Education

If you are living in Japan or intend to, you may be wondering:

What are the differences between Japanese and Western Education?

Japan has been one of the most successful nations on earth. So have most of the Western countries. By many measures, Japan and the Western nations are world leaders.

What then are some of the positives and negatives of their respective educational systems?

First of all, to start with, Japanese education from kindergarten until grade six is fantastic. The students enjoy going to school, the activities are creative, the teachers are motivated and enthusiastic and the students learn a lot, not only in terms of practical study, but about how to be good citizens.

Unfortunately, this all ends at age 12. What a shame! So much promise!

English Language Teaching Japan - Exam Hell!

The start of junior high school hails the beginning of rote memorization, endless exams (called "exam hell") and students loss of interest in school. Students who formerly said they enjoyed school, now say they hate to study.

In Japan, critical thinking skills are under developed. As pointed out in other articles, we see it in the way Japanese politicians act. A rote memorization style of education doesn`t lend one to deal with unexpected events like natural disasters.

(Pictured, one of the old palanquins)
English Language Teaching Japan - Creative Thinking?

"It's mostly a result of Japan being unable to think outside the box," says Japanese construction industry insider Steve Yamaguchi, who runs a building firm in Yamagata prefecture north of Tokyo, just outside the Tohoku disaster zone.

There is no creative thinking in Japan, he says. This will lead to "a second policy disaster" in the mould of the failed policies that brought about the Fukushima meltdown. He also claims unchecked corruption in the rebuilding process has led to evacuees remaining homeless and debris remaining uncleared.

"What is happening is a national humiliation," Yamaguchi says. "The chaos we have witnessed so far is just a glimpse of coming attractions. The rebuilding of the region is going to be a gigantic, stinking mess and all the victims are going to get steamrollered."

-Steve Yamaguchi, interviewed by The Independent

A major earthquake or tsunami is not like a multiple choice quiz. You need to be

able to think on your feet, and make critical decisions on the fly. You need to ascertain costs and benefits and form an opinion quickly. Many Japanese politicians cannot do this.

One problem of note has been the lack of vision by local authorities on how to deal with the Tohoku disaster in their area. A top government minister became frustrated with them, saying that they needed to do their job and plan for the future; and that the national government should not be dealing with local issues, that local politicians are more familiar with.

I feel this lack of vision and planning at the local level, stems from the enormity of the disaster up north, but also from the education system these politicians went through.

If Japanese Education is so bad after elementary school, why have they done so well?

- Hard work, (the hardest working people in the world)

- Learning from the mistakes of other companies

- Studying the products of other companies, and improving upon them

- Copying product styles, Japanese cars often look suspiciously like Mercedes Benz, BMW, Aston Martin and others.

- The education system for subjects like math and science is in many ways, pretty good overall; though it is not good when it comes to critical thinking, and thinking outside of the box.

English Language Teaching Japan - Japanese High School Education

At the high school level and junior high school level students are rarely if ever failed. While this is meant to be a positive and nurturing thing, it is in fact demotivating.

"Why should I try when everyone passes anyway? I think I will just goof off." Is the thinking of some students.

Even at the top junior high schools this can be true. I taught at a very famous one. Some of the students were so bad that they were kicked out once they had formed a gang and shoplifted.

Even at the top junior high schools, at least 20% of the students are funneled in from kindergarten and many of these do not deserve to be called top students. They make life difficult for the teacher and for the top students to study. A lot of money is paid by these students` parents to study there, so they are only kicked out or failed under extreme circumstances.

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Oct 17, 2015
Interesting! NEW
by: http://www.essayservice.info/research-paper-service/

That is really interesting article about educational system in Japan! It will be extremely useful for my assignment. Thank you so much for sharing!

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