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To help foster Japanese capable of successfully competing globally, the education ministry plans to designate about 100 high schools across the country that will teach some science and math in English

19 Comments

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Tokyo Tech High School already teaches English at a higher level than many respected liberal arts schools. Go for it, and don't stop with English - a few more languages would be useful too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it even possible?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It isn't what you are teaching it is how. Rote memorization is not education. Teach your people critical and creative thinking. Until you do that, Japan will not be able to compete with countries that do. It is not enough to develop workers who work hard and long. You need to develop leaders who can lead. Many more creative, independent minded people who can set the new standards and bring creativity and critical thinking to solving the future's problems.

Then you need to rid the current government of all its ancient skeletal leaders who are taking up space and accomplishing nothing. Replace them with people who are willing to make real decisions for the future. Open minds, creative minds and true leadership.

Then and only then will Japan be even close to competitive again.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What do you think about it?

faulty hardware may not support perfect software.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish they would focus more on other foreign languages (like Japanese, Chinese, etc...) here in America, not just English and Spanish. We should strive to learn more about our global community and stop living in an American cultural media vacuum. No wonder behind the generalization, "Stupid Americans". But I am happy to say I believe most Americans are ready to look beyond our borders and take a renewed interest in the world around us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

teach some science and math in English

... and they'll phrase it this way too and absolutely nothing will happen, because it'll be a "recommendation", and "some" will be undefined, and in one school it'll be 10% and in another it'll be 0.01% (Good morning... okay, now back to Japanese.).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess it depends if they are getting native English speakers to do it or not.

If it's just some Japanese people doing it, I can't see it being of much use.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese high school students usually score significantly higher in science and math than their US counterparts. Teaching science and math in English will be a disaster.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Can't do any harm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Useless effort to convince themselves they are "doing something."

Anybody that has English skills, as well as math and science skills, ain't gonna be a teacher.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

After all these years and wasted debate,it is not difficult to see that the problems stem from Mombusho

The first steps in learning English in Japan start with letters and how to write them.

This rote memorisation complete with katakana pronunciation leads the majority of Japanese children to believe that English must be a poor subset of Japanese.

And this is the antithesis of how languages should be taught to children.

Children learn by listening and speaking.The next step is reading,contextualisation and comprehension,vocabulary building etc.

The last step is writing.......

What to do?

Such a simple addition of an oral examination in English at the junior and/or high school level similar to the Aiken test would have a profound effect. Also, English should be an elective subject and not something (badly) rammed down the throats of young Japanese.

Teaching maths and science in English will most certainly fail as the children most certainly won't be at a level to comprehend the content of the lesson.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kurisupisuMay. 27, 2013 - 11:47AM JST

The first steps in learning English in Japan start with letters and how to write them.

Oh please, no more of this phonics BS. English sounds, phonemes, of which there are 47 at a conservative estimate, have very little correlation with English letters, graphemes, of which there are only 25. Aside from this, English is a very phonically irregular language.

Law, more, corp, door, four, haul, court, fall ..... all have the same phoneme. If you're going to teach reading and writing in English, teach phonics. If you're going to teach speaking and listening in English, teach phonetics

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Why not teach Kokugo through the medium of English?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Personally, I would rather that Mombusho decide to teach ENGLISH classes in English, then worry about the other subjects. That is the basis for most of the trouble that Japanese high school students have.

Besides, where will the teachers needed to actually teach content based English classes come from? Somehow, I just don't think there is a pool of teaching talent available to do the job. Teachers who are licenced to teach math/science, PLUS are good enough at English to teach in English? I don't think so. There are few enough English teachers in Japan who can use the target language in the classroom. Never mind asking those who teach other subjects to suddenly do so in a foreign language.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fix your damn education system first.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Law, more, corp, door, four, haul, court, fall ..... all have the same phoneme. If you're going to teach reading and writing in English, teach phonics. If you're going to teach speaking and listening in English, teach phonetics

Um, they don't in my dialect.

And I think this has the potential to be useful only because, unlike in English classes, they're going to be hearing English to USE it, not to memorize it. It will have to actually be communication for it to be effective. As far as the English is concerned, this is practical application that is exactly what is lacking from the average English classroom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

RowanM

Um, they don't in my dialect.

It will have to actually be communication for it to be effective. As far as the English is concerned, this is practical application that is exactly what is lacking from the average English classroom.

I guess that by the way you write English, you are not a native speaker.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sounds good in theory, as to whether it will actually be put into practice, that will remain to be seen. I'd start with the less real-world essential subjects, like art and history, where it is also more practical to use English than in math or science. Science and math are a little too important to their futures if they desire to be enter into the fields of business, science, or engineering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am concerned about comprehension of science and math by being teached in English, actually some of teachers and students would be bothered if the plan carry out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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