I recently read an article in TIME magazine about Japan and how, if the current trend continues, the population will drop by 25% to 95 million from the current 127 million by 2050. Also, at that time more than 50% of the population will be over 60 years old. Two of my students said that this might not be a bad thing as there would be more room for the remaining population and it would be good for earth. Of course these points are true but I am not sure that it is really good for Japan.
On the Japanese soapbox where I write in Japanese for students to read, I often includes some English too to challenge the students to really “dig in” and really use English to think about and discuss some slightly difficult and interesting topics. This week I made a post about the TIME article and asked my higher level students to read the questions and write down the answers and their thoughts on this topic.
I am looking forward to seeing the answers. Having the freedom to challenge my higher level students this way really makes Smith’s School unique. Although we have a great curriculum for Japanese students to give them practice with the different grammar points and routines to challenge them to hone their story telling technique, with our high level students we have the freedom to use other sources that are fresh and interesting to give our students the chance to really use English for a real purpose. Once students reach the necessary level, it is good to challenge them to read, write essays and discuss difficult topics. This is challenging for the teacher too and makes teaching English in Japan very fun and rewarding.l
Take a look at my Japanese post and check out the questions too.