There is an upcoming change in Japan which is causing a great deal of anxiety among teachers at the Japanese public elementary school level. Do you know what I am referring to? （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）
The new Japanese “Course of Study” for education goes into effect soon and one of the new classes, officially named Foreign Language Activities, better known as English Language Activities officially goes into effect in April 2011 for fifth and sixth graders. （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）(小学校外国語活動)
The following link will provide you with… detailed information. This site is all in Japanese but if you look at the top of the page you are able to link over to the English version also.
Some would claim it has been slow in coming, compared with Thailand which instituted it in 1996, Korea in 1997 and China in 2005. Nevertheless, that is not the subject of this article.
According to a recent government report, 77% percent of teachers at Japanese public elementary schools expressed a need to improve their own English speaking skills with an equal percentage of teachers expressing a need to be trained in English teaching skills. (大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年)
There is a great disparity among Japanese public elementary school teachers in how they view their own level of English, with some claiming they know “just enough to understand what the foreign assistant language teachers are saying” while some teachers, especially older teachers, have no idea and they’re very worried. (外国語補助教員, 外国語指導助手, ALT)
Unfortunately, regardless of these anxieties, Japanese public elementary school teachers have no choice but to comply with the new government requirements. （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）
How does any of this relate to us here at Smiths School of English?
Well, I can’t speak for any of the other Smiths School of English franchisees, but as for me at Smiths School of English in Fuse, I currently have 3 Japanese public elementary school teachers, 2 public elementary school vice-principals, and 1 public elementary school principal brushing up on their English speaking skills with me on a regular basis. （東大阪 英語 小学校教員養成課程）
All have stated that the specific purpose for them to study English is in preparation for the upcoming changes to teaching English at Japanese public elementary schools set to formally begin in 2011. （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）(小学校外国語活動)
So, we here at Smiths School of English have a tremendous opportunity when we meet one of these Japanese public elementary school teachers to help them in improving their own English listening and speaking skills.
In addition, we should take any opportunity we have to give them some pointers on how to go about teaching English in Japan at public elementary schools. I have found that they appreciate it greatly and this kind of extra service is one which Smiths School of English is known for in Japan anyway.
So, I encourage you all. Go the extra mile especially when you have the opportunity to help out a Japanese public elementary school teacher. （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）
The title of the post says “小学校教員養成課程” which means elementary school teacher training course. I realize that this is a very official sounding title but in reality that is what we can provide, on a smaller scale, for these Japanese public elementary school teachers who must teach English in Japan at elementary schools.
It’s a training course in listening, speaking, teaching and confidence! I think perhaps “Confidence” is what is most important for teaching English in Japan at elementary schools. （英語 小学校教員養成課程）
I had a chance to teach English in Japan at public elementary schools a few times while on the JET Program and it’s a very rewarding experience; provided you have some training. （大阪 公立 小学校 英語 ２０１１年）
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校