Teaching English Productive Skills to Japanese Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching English Productive Skills to Japanese Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Change is coming to the way that English is taught in Japanese public schools. The changes to the curriculum by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) increase the teaching of English at all levels of schooling. The goal of this change is, in the words of Ikuko Tsuboya-Newel, founder and chair of Tokyo International School, “The government has decided that beginning in 2020 all high school graduates must achieve a level of English equivalent to B1” (“Why do Japanese have trouble learning English?”, The Japan Times, October 29, 2017). To achieve that goal, high school entrance exams are expected to include more testing of productive skills in English. Therefore, junior high school students are expected to have these skills before entering high school — even though Japanese students lack the Roman alphabet and that instruction in writing does not begin until the fifth or sixth grade level (with MEXT’s recent curriculum changes).

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