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Foreign English teacher in Japan calls student’s ability garbage; says it was an 'American joke'

111 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

In Japan, students start learning English as a mandatory subject from the third grade of elementary school. As part of their studies, pupils take part in English conversation classes where a foreign-born language instructor is present, with the instructor’s role being to facilitate activities that encourage students to speak English.

These lessons can be daunting for many children who might feel self-conscious about speaking a second language in front of their classmates, so teachers generally use praise and positive reinforcement while correcting students to create a safe and supportive learning environment.

At one junior high school in Tokushima Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku, however, a foreign English-language teacher chose to criticize a student’s language abilities to such an extent that it made news headlines. According to reports, the male student had been trying his best to speak English during English conversation class, but the teacher said to him, “That’s not English. That’s garbage.”

The teacher appeared to have other criticisms, reportedly telling the boy he spoke English like an elementary school student, and saying he didn’t sound like a boy, as his quiet voice sounded like a girl.

The student told reporters his interest in the language had recently increased as he’d finally begun to grasp it, but the teacher’s statements, which had been made in English, didn’t make him feel good.

The student’s father appeared to be equally disappointed, saying he was shocked by what had occurred, especially as his son had become interested in English and had just reached the point where he was able to use the language to communicate with someone from overseas.

▼ News report of the incident

The school acknowledged that the incident had occurred at the beginning of December, saying the teacher told them they didn’t intend to undermine the student’s character and explained it was an “American joke.”

In Japan, “American joke” is a term commonly used to describe a joke that Japanese people don’t get. However, a young student’s language proficiency isn’t something an adult should poke fun at, and the school has instructed the teacher to refrain from making any statements that could cause misunderstandings in the future.

Source: NTV via Livedoor via Jin

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© SoraNews24

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111 Comments
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Help Wanted: A junior high school in Tokushima Prefecture seeks an ALT assistant language teacher to start immediately; must be young, blonde-haired and inexperienced. No qualifications are necessary. Salary is negligible. No benefits.

5 ( +58 / -53 )

Pay peanuts get monkeys!

stop contracting out to these fly by night cattle traders who take most of the money then take on anyone who breaths and has an English background and get some decent teachers who are paid a decent wage!

32 ( +61 / -29 )

I'm American and I taught English as a Second language for years. 1.) I don't get the joke. 2.) Telling a student he speaks garbage is not a very good way to motivate him.

I'd fire this guy and tell him he thinks like garbage.

74 ( +92 / -18 )

What a horrible teacher, and I hesitate to call this idiot a teacher. He needs to be fired. That poor student, I hope this experience doesn't discourage him from studying English.

47 ( +58 / -11 )

Garthgoyle, totally agree. The whole education system in Japan - not just English - needs to be scrapped and rebuilt. A teacher droning on and on in Japanese about English grammar "rules" and occasionally trotting out a pet gaijin is not going to produce fluent English speakers.

Still, thinking sarcastically, because of the total failure of Mombusho to do something that goes on daily in English conversation schools, gaijin like me and thee can make a living here.

6 ( +27 / -21 )

If you pay peanuts - you get monkeys.

I was on JET in the mid 1990s. Although I had a post-graduate degree in economics I had zero idea what it meant to be a classroom teacher. I did however receive a salary about 30% more than a fully qualified teacher in my home country, health benefits, social insurance, housing subsidy and professional development.

Skip forward 10 years I was doing the exact same job for 40% less pay and zero benefits as a 'contractor'. Can you guess how that affected my motivation? I valued that job as little as I was valued by the local city office.

Now I am a qualified teacher in my home country teaching in an area I am an actual expert in - running a department. I am listened to by senior management, valued, paid a 6-figure salary and genuinely enjoy the work.

Volumes and volumes have been written about how badly Japan has handled second language teaching; and there is no single solution. However, paying for qualified teachers seems a pretty basic start.

26 ( +42 / -16 )

A teacher droning on and on in Japanese about English grammar "rules"

What rules? Unless you're speaking British, the first rule of the English language is that we have no rules.

-25 ( +15 / -40 )

He's honest

-12 ( +20 / -32 )

How come this is news to begin with??!

I agree that the teacher's remark was out of line, but one cannot ever imagine that this bs would be made into news? I mean, are the Japanese students so weak and snowflakes that they complain and make waves about those minor matters?? I mean, really? Getting offended so easily noadays is ridiculous.

Never could imagine that people and pupils here are so weak and soft...

-16 ( +21 / -37 )

Although the teacher was probably correct in his observation he shouldn't ridicule the students for any reason. "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all."

I taught in private high schools and colleges for nearly twenty years. I saw just about everything in that time. I saw a teacher knock a student out. I saw a group of boys attack a teacher. I saw a lady teacher have a nervous breakdown and had to be taken away by ambulance. The thing is though, this guy got nailed for ridiculing the student. However, ridicule and belittling are at the top of the list of Japanese teachers disciplinary arsenal. They do it all day every day. I've seen kids belittled so badly by teachers they contemplated suicide. It's ok for Japanese teachers to do it, but not foreign English teachers. There are two sets of rules in Japan and any leaniency afforded to japanese teachers does not apply to foreign teachers. Keep your opinions to yourself and you'll have great success.

-5 ( +34 / -39 )

A very poor advert for English schools.

3 ( +16 / -13 )

Does anyone remember the days long ago when the very early generations of JET teachers were throwing themselves on railroad tracks? By the sound of things, the quality of English teachers hasn't improved much at all.

-7 ( +15 / -22 )

You're fired!

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

I’m disinclined to listen to a fool who insults his students.

When my kid was at elementary school, her fellow classmates were brave to try their English on me. They were great. Also, as my Japanese is pretty poor - I remember communicating via block letter English among all ages. Friends were made.

Whistling the Tetsuwan Atom theme is a good ice breaker.

Maybe it’s job burnout. But ugh.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Poor excuse of a teacher, and a poor excuse for the system that hires poor excuses for instructors. And I'm not talking only about English.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

What rules? Unless you're speaking British, the first rule of the English language is that we have no rules.

What language is "British"? Never heard of it. There are something like 40 different dialects in Britain.

Anyway, this teacher clearly does not have the patience required for the job. Sounds like he has shattered this kids confidence and enjoyment of learning English.

A very poor advert for English schools.

This is a JHS, not an English school.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

The teacher is the "American joke." The usual "please don't do it again" from the education authorities.

Just say sayonara and ask him depart the shores.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

Such types think their job is garbage that they need to put down students to feel better about themselves.

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Pay peanuts get monkeys!

Those salaries just can keep with fresh grads or entry level teachers, more senior teacher will skip those position. Most of entry level teacher don't have teaching qualification or experience.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2012/07/10/voices/readers-lament-the-ever-shrinking-eikaiwa-salary/

https://theyokohamalife.com/teaching-salary-in-japan-august-2018/

-11 ( +8 / -19 )

"English is the easiest language in the world to speak badly" would have been a more encouraging comment to motivate the student.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

I suppose you have to take the article at face value. I'd like to hear the teacher's side of things. In any case, he seemed to have "crossed" the boundary from teaching to intimidating. Unfortunate event.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

It is also worth noting that people here seem to be convinced that the teacher was an American. Not necessarily. Just the joke.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Although the teacher was probably correct in his observation he shouldn't ridicule the students for any reason. "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all."

Exactly, and many Japanese already have a lack of confidence and often and unwillingness to learn English, ridiculing them with that already fragile feeling will just discourage them. If you want to make a difference show that you care and show that you’re interested and invested in helping them learn. If you show these student you care, that’s a huge motivator

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Why is this a story? Maybe stir up some racism.

I am sure that Japanese teachers have done worse in the same school by some full of themselves jerk.

I tell a lot of what I call "American" jokes. Most bad. none ever included insulting anyone.

Lets address the real elephant in the room. The failings of the BOE and the joke that passes for an English language curriculum. Had it not been for that failing, the kid would not have been put in that position.

I would bet everyone reading this who taught English was paired with a English teacher who could not speak English. Why this is accept acceptable is inexcusable.

And the idiot who insulted the student should be deported. He is an embarrassment to all foreigners living in Japan. The English language curriculum is an embarrassment to Japan.

-8 ( +13 / -21 )

If the student failed the teacher failed.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

And the idiot who insulted the student should be deported. He is an embarrassment to all foreigners living in Japan. The English language curriculum is an embarrassment to Japan.

I agree, but that’s the problem of the BOE to sort out and fix and we can go on all day about the problems they have and the unwillingness to change a lot of these practices, but having said that, a teacher should never, ever make any student feel bad. There is just no excuse for that.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Really? Start by writing about Japanese teachers and their bullying methods and where my mixed-race child was bullied not only by the students but teachers, too. The principal was horrendous, I took him before the schoolboard who has zero power over these individuals and during COVID I had to pull my child out of this country. It is good that this English teacher was reported and dealt with and now let's get to the very bottom of the horrendous behavior in the school system in this country.

Next, there were some really good and valid points brought up in the above comments, the schools need to stop hiring based on looks, race and age, however, on experience and abilities. There are some excellent 50- and 60-year-old experienced teachers in this country and would not get even a consideration because of their age. Shameful, and if they were given an opportunity, they would not get paid the same salary as the younger teachers and so it is a lose, lose situation for the students.

24 ( +34 / -10 )

I agree with First15, living in the US all my life, I think when you have more rules than words, then rules takes on a esoteric meaning.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

While possibly true, it's a comment better made to a fellow ALT, not directly to the student.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

The real garbage is the English training system in Japan. That should be addressed.

8 ( +19 / -11 )

Oh boo hoo. Brutal honesty can be a great motivator.

-12 ( +11 / -23 )

Sounds like this guy is a bully, possibly a thug too. Wouldn’t want that type teaching my dear son, that’s for sure.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

And the idiot who insulted the student should be deported. 

Society has become too soft. Let him take one on the chin and work to improve his English. The student is whining to a reporter in a passive aggressive vindictive way.

Junior high school students don’t all of a sudden end up getting interviewed. The father is just out to get the teacher who thinks his son’s English sucks.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

It is also worth noting that people here seem to be convinced that the teacher was an American. Not necessarily. Just the joke.

Yeah, the student’s English was rubbish.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Society has become too soft. Let him take one on the chin and work to improve his English.

Agreed. When I was an ALT, the best students were the retarded ones. I use the term "retarded" in its original sense, devoid of any negative intent. While certainly having the widest range of abilities, the special ed class was home to the brightest individual who soaked up everything you said, but was able to laugh at mistakes (to be fair, the mistakes of others). It was the most exciting class and I've never seen a more capable student.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Sometimes the truth hurts. While neighboring countries are taking measures to increase English fluency of their people Japan is moving in retrograde in this area decreasing its ability to engage with the outside world. It's another sign of Japan's slow decline.

-11 ( +17 / -28 )

My previous statement was big picture. Having now finished reading the article this English teacher's attitude is garbage. He should look for another line of work or move out.

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

I think his excuse that it's a joke was an attempt to pull the wool over everyone's eyes in the hope they wouldn't understand his blatent rudeness. Whether the teacher likes it or not, IMHO, if my students make themselves understood, even if they made a mistake, they should be praised. I've had kids say, "I goed to the pool yesterday." Just like native kids would use that same rule, only to be corrected by parents. Who are we to criticise when maybe our Japanese isn't that great either? My guess is, the teacher thought the kid wouldn't understand anything, and report it. Let vote.

+= fire him

= keep him.
-9 ( +4 / -13 )

This teacher needs to be fired and replaced with a person who has some understanding of the responsibilities of an instructor in a classroom environment. Sounds like one of the wads who post here.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

That's a teacher that has been kanchoed 1 too many times.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

This is, of course, a rhetorical question, but I wonder why it is that the Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese kids run absolute circles around the Japanese when it comes to English ability… (?)

7 ( +21 / -14 )

get some decent teachers who are paid a decent wage!

in Japan? lol

for an ALT?! LMFAO

it'll happen when the Tigers win back to back NPB championships aka never

1 ( +12 / -11 )

why it is that the Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese kids run absolute circles around the Japanese when it comes to English ability

Because all those countries suffered a Communist revolution at some point in time, so their families had to flee and adapt. Meanwhile Japan escaped that bullet thanks to Otoya Yamaguchi.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

It is NOT a American joke to belittle any students.

Never heard of such thing and this person should be encouraging students than torturing them.

This person is NOT a Teacher.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

What is garbage here is the teacher. Send him back to wherever he came from.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

We might also consider this a measure of his teaching ability: GARBAGE!!

0 ( +10 / -10 )

So where did this teacher come from? As he told an American 'Joke' I presume it was the USA. I am not British but I live in the UK, one thing I notice nearly every time when speaking to a British person is that they do not finish their sentences properly, but go on to the next one without a break, so they often miss out a word or two at the end. The Americans do the same, it is like they leave it up to you to guess what comes next. And if this very poor teacher is American, does he know that American pronunciation of English words can be terrible. I listen to many YT programmes in English and so many of the speakers are going too fast a lot of their words are unintelligible. I am German so at times find it too difficult to even try to keep up and follow, I live with my girlfriends British family, they are not English because they come from different parts of the UK, like Scotland, Ireland...etc. and they have accents that are not English. My girlfriends mother even speaks Gaelic.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Inexcusable behavior.

Sounds like this guy is a bully, possibly a thug too.

What’s the difference, precisely?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

He's honest

Correct. The ability of even basic English is appalling given how much school time is spent on it. Korea's kids have far more ability at a young age because they're not embarrassed about making a mistake. You'll never learn a language unless you do!

0 ( +14 / -14 )

For those of you that don’t actually live here, the term “American joke” is 和製英語 used as a catch-all for any joke that contains irony and/or sarcasm. So the user who knows a little Japanese doesn’t necessarily have to be from the USA.

Still, there was no joke here, and no excuse to be rude.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Oh boo hoo. Brutal honesty can be a great motivator.

Yep. How are these little woke snowflakes handle life when they fail at a job interview if they can't cope with a little tough love?

-6 ( +10 / -16 )

Based on my experiences I think it's NOT the language regardless of what it is , I believe Japan does not encourage or promote nor want to learn other language in general, nothing wrong with that by the way, Japanese are satisfied and proud of their language and culture and the need to learn other languages is NOT as urgent or necessary as in other nations where people do to improve their chances. that's all.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

The comment is poor and I suppose what you would expect given the low amount of effort spent on trying to set up a good English teaching environment in Japan. JET was basically just throwing money at the problem, and now there is less money, its likely increasingly low quality candidates will be selected. They are not teachers and given virtually no training, so the system is to blame, not bad apples operating within it.

However ..... I wonder how many Japanese teachers have made similar comments in Japanese to students. I would be amazed if less than 80% of sports coaches have said extremely hurtful things to kids on their teams. "You guys are losers. You will get nowhere in life" and stuff like that. This is usually passed off as "tough love" or "saying it as it is". I bet lots of non-sports teachers have said it about kids' academic performance or perceived general attitude too. I'm sure we will all have seen people working contientiously with pride in jobs in Japan, some of them menial jobs. Many of these contientious workers will have essentially bullied with "30% in kanji? You're a loser" type comments when they were growing up.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

*What rules? Unless you're speaking British, the first rule of the English language is that we have no rules.*

language is "British"? NeveWhatr heard of it. There are something like 40 different dialects in Britain.

Anyway, this teacher clearly does not have the patience required for the job. Sounds like he has shattered this kids confidence and enjoyment of learning English.

A very poor advert for English schools.

@Fighto!. The finest English teachers in Japan were lost many years ago in Japan. That is thanks to Japan's MOJ (so called).

I am proud to say that hundreds of my former students have gone on to great success abroad.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

This teacher should be stopped from interacting with students and or teaching. American Joke ! no it is NOT.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Probably was true.

the level of abuse alts take on a subject that 99% of the kids and parents care nothing about. What do you expect. And alts often are even taken advantage from employees that don’t even support healthcare pension or unemployment as they demand 40 hours on premise but pay 27hours to cheat the system.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

It was the school that said it was an 'American joke'.

I've been here over 25 years,and have never heard that expression.

Not excusing that ALT's behaviour in the slightest,but it's often the inadequacy of the JTE which leads to the assistant overstepping the mark.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Gene HennighToday  06:43 am JST

I'm American and I taught English as a Second language for years. 1.) I don't get the joke. 2.) Telling a student he speaks garbage is not a very good way to motivate him.

I'd fire this guy and tell him he thinks like garbage.

It's not funny at all. Nobody needs an ill-mannered boor for a teacher. Can him.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

 I am German so at times find it too difficult to even try to keep up and follow, I live with my girlfriends British family, they are not English because they come from different parts of the UK, like Scotland, Ireland...etc. and they have accents that are not English.

The most successful ESL speakers, IMO, go out of their way to expose themselves to as many native speakers' accents as possible - and even listening to non-native English speakers, since they will likely be communicating english with them.

(BTW - Ireland isn't part of the UK. Only N. Ireland. )

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I've been here over 25 years, [space] and have never heard that expression.

I’ve heard it dozens of times in both English and Japanese. It’s common enough 和製英語 that you can easily find it on Google.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Horrible "teacher." I've definitely thought that someone spoke English like garbage, including a few of my English-speaking family and friends. However, I would never tell a foreign speaker of the language something like that to their face, especially not a young impressionable child. The school hired garbage and that's what you get; garbage in and garbage out. Hope they find a real teacher for those students.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

What a pathetic loser, deserves to be deported ASAP..

That moron is the living proof that many foreign English teachers in Japan are overrated..

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

OssanAmericaToday  11:27 am JST

*This teacher needs to be fired and replaced with a person who has some understanding of the responsibilities of an instructor in a classroom environment.* Sounds like one of the wads who post here.

Sounds like you're angry and frustrated by being constantly humiliated. LOL!

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

@Chuck

American joke?

Surely an oxymoron .

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Having been a rare, qualified, ELT in Japan for 18 years, I have met a ‘few’ ‘teachers’ to say the least, both foreign and Japanese. Firstly, I have no surprise to hear such a thing, particularly back in the early 90s the absolute majority of so-called teachers had zero interest in the job: I was frequently alone as a professional. Secondly, I cannot understand why this is national or even local news: it’s an isolated incident of a minor issue and certainly no crime even though unprofessional. Lastly, more importantly, it reminds me of how it’s foreigners who get singled out: we Japanese don’t take kindly to you foreigners labelling us. There are a multitude of Japanese teachers on a daily basis across Japan acting unprofessionally but never make the news. Nothing has changed in that homogeneous society.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

The first time I was told that my Japanese sucked was by a sushi chef when initiating a conversation in Japanese.

I still remember it decades later…

It did make me study more though

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Whether or not the kid's ability was "garbage", you most certainly do NOT pick on a person for it as a teacher, and shouldn't in any profession, really. Truth be told, the overall average English ability of Japanese given the amount of time and money put into studying is quite low, but then, they don't need it quite as much as the people of developing nations (or with lower economies, save China, whose economy outranks Japan).

FireyRei: "Secondly, I cannot understand why this is national or even local news: it’s an isolated incident of a minor issue and certainly no crime even though unprofessional."

Low-hanging fruit for the insecure and/or people with a nationalist bent; criticize anything domestic as a foreign national and it becomes the top news in many people's minds.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Wow! This is the epitome of hipocrisy, that this kind of news made it publicly into media... Just imagine for a second how many bully teachers are in Japan, especially sports coaches, but they never made the news ever. Is even considered part of culture for a teacher to be aggressive towards a student here. As long as it's Japanese. That's a 100%, non negociabile, requirement. If is gaijins, all the students are becoming weak snowflakes woke victims, easily offended even by a look.

Double standarding at its finest...

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Teachers need more empathy . . . .

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The biggest problem for most Japanese learning English is overcoming the fear of making mistakes. I used to teach at universities and soon realised that this was their problem. I used to tel my students that it was easy to make no mistakes. Do nothing, and you will make not mistakes, but do nothing, and you will learn nothing.

I used to teach my students that it is alright to make mistakes. I told them I would be more likely to get angry with them if they made no mistakes bcause if they made no mistakes, they were not trying hard enough, not trying anything new. This is true for learning anything.

I also asked them if they always spoke perfect, grammatically correct Japanese.

Unfortunately, Japanese schools seem to teach that all mistakes are bad and they should never make mistakes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

MilesTegToday  04:19 pm JST

OssanAmericaToday  11:27 am JST

This teacher needs to be fired and replaced with a person who has some understanding of the responsibilities of an instructor in a classroom environment.**** Sounds like one of the wads who post here.

Sounds like you're angry and frustrated by being constantly humiliated. LOL!

Not at all. But I hit a nerve obviously.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

This is the result of the race to the bottom, dispatch companies are paying less and less and are lowering the bar for teachers year by year to replace experienced alts who have had enough of poor pay.

Make all alt positions direct hire and kill off dispatch companies and the parasite yes men managers they breed..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Evidently, a guy like that has no business being in the classroom teaching anyone. If you like kids it can be a good for some, if you hate kids and just working to clock a check it is the wrong profession for you, don’t waste your time and the kids.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

COLONIAL TEACHERS

°

This teacher must be put under survey and the family under protection watch. I am french and fluente in english. And my « killers » they were chocked I understood english. This was like an impossible things for them. In my country, they speak english very badly even with england as an historical neighbor with a direct train access in Paris. They can speak commercial english, a bit of political or science english, but the language itself ? That’s a drama and a joke. Cultura about London or Washington is a joke too.

They were rumors about colonial preventive acts against anybody who speak english to prevent terrorism and spying in foreign country fully not affiliate with anglicans colonisation habits and over violence. They send teachers that are there to notice progress and students that are grasping the language (show talent for language) and they sent a word to somebody who send private mercenary black ops damaging the communication part of the brain (the left side).

That’s rumors, but the Israel genocide objective on Gaza’s children were too a rumor.

This teacher is racist. He attacked the student who was speaking well and was thinking probably better than him. He was getting out his « little monkey » perfect zone for a racist christian and teacher full of himself. This is clearly a dangerous man who attacked an innocent child wanting to put him back in his place. And they always end up complaining to a friend with more active and violent means to put the « little savage » in his place like a working intelligent woman must be « put back in her place ».

Nice piece of news.

°

M

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

@Chuck

What on earth is the connection between the expression 和製英語 and American Joke? There is nothing in the Japanese term that refers to American or joke.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Chuck

What on earth is the connection between the expression 和製英語 and American Joke? There is nothing in the Japanese term that refers to American or joke.

First, please read my comment again:

I’ve heard it dozens of times in both English and Japanese. It’s common enough 和製英語 that you can easily find it on Google.

My comment is analogous to saying “lorry” is common enough British English.

So, to spell it out even more clearly, I’m saying that “American joke” is an established term in Japanese-English. I never said it equaled the term “Japanese-English.”

Get back to me if that still doesn’t register.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

OMG! Is this a national news? Yes the teacher was wrong, but his mistake is not as big mistake as a news agency’s putting this on a national news.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The garbage is the teacher but if garbage is all that's available

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

John

Today 09:43 pm JST

OMG! Is this a national news? Yes the teacher was wrong, but his mistake is not as big mistake as a news agency’s putting this on a national news.

Under what category would you like JT to put this under?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Just another 'English teacher' who has no idea about what it is to do the job. Why the hell would you talk to an student of any age like this when teaching is about inspiring your students and giving them the confidence to make progress. Especially why would you talk to a school student in this way?

There are just too many foreigners 'teaching English' in Japan who don't have the academic, social and emotional skills to do that - as well as to live successfully as grown ups in another culture that is so different from that in their home countries. Cut the number of visas issued for educational employment purposes and establish standards for the industry and there will be improvement.

So many of these losers hanging around Japan are here to make videos on youtube or stream on twitch and get the attention they can't get in their home countries. Educating others is beyond their capabilities especially as they are here to hang around in Japan and so a visa serves that purpose instead of work objectives being that purpose. But remember, they're 'artists', 'content creators' and 'influencers'......

3 ( +7 / -4 )

You're not going to be able to teach Kids (or Adults) in Japan, "Native" English - be it American or otherwise, no matter what.

This Teacher, made an unfortunate comment, that perhaps should have been watered down, even in "Jest" - perhaps, he's not so experienced with teaching Kids, and using a negative form of encouragement simply didn't work in the case of the Child who complained.

I think, Classroom teaching sessions should be recorded, that way, ambiguities can be explained, and bad Teachers ousted.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Enough foreigner bashing. Had this been a Japanese person the comments would have been turned off by now. The kid is underpaid, no proof of any real education in education and is in a remote part of Japan making little money with no authority or support in a situation where they don’t care generally. How about a talk about companies that hire anyone and don’t provide support, medical insurance, pension but expect them to be onsite 40 hours and only pay for 27 hours to get past the full time laws. That is where the real problem is. The guy just had enough and his comment was published where had it been reverses wouldn’t have gotten the time of day. Lets open this up to some real issues that alts are generally taken advantage and don’t have proper medical insurance to seek help. They are paid saleries from 30 years ago and many times in remote areas like this where they are just a human tape recorder.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Such teachers must be fired and not allowed to teach in a school. Teachers are meant to be kind and gentle when teaching their students. Not treat them with such disrespect. I'd fire this 'English' teacher if I was the headmaster of the school

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I travel to many countries regularly as a part of my profession. Of the countries I travel to, Japan is at the bottom regarding useable English skills. I remember a time in Sapporo when the only person I could communicate with in English was a clerk at the Tourist Information Office at the main railway station. I visited that Office several times a day just to get by. In the middle of Africa, a person working in the middle of the fields you call will presumably know and be willing to use a few words in English.

The teacher quoted here is inexperienced. However, rather than just bashing him, listen to him as he hints at a systemic problem. While he might be more effective as a teacher, a better teacher for a particular group of students, it can be hard for a single person in a low position to change the system. The latter change may need to come from the top and require consensus building.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Please enlighten me. School children in the Philippines speak fluent English, and at least two Filipino dialects. Japanese High school graduates can hardly speak English. Wouldn’t it be better to have Japanese students take a vocational class of their choice instead of a wasteful English class?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The teacher did wrong. No excuses.

In the future the teacher must identify positives as well as offer constructive feedback that enables the student to improve their competency with a skill set. This teacher failed to achieve this. In this case the criticism was not constructive and could be born out of the frustration of a devalued industry.

The school should be acknowledged for being open minded enough to have a conversation class. For languages to be learned they need to be lived and the best motivator and experience is human interaction. That is a step in the right direction, just need to educate this educator on how to get the best out of their students.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Such types think their job is garbage that they need to put down students to feel better about themselves.

Quercetum

Yes. Bad attitude is clear.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Obviously, the Japanese prefer when the Americans make fake smiles and TATEMAE....

Therefore, students should employ Tatemae Japanese instead of True People.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

LOL, communicate with someone from overseas....

not all other cultures are based on ANPAMAN teaching system.

I can not understand why this became news, what is the point ...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Is the person in the picture the teacher in question here?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There's no 'Foreigner bashing' going on here especially as most of us who won't give this pretender of an English teacher any benefit of the doubt, are actually foreigners.

Regardless of what is wrong with the state of English teaching today in Japan - outsourcing, no benefits, a rise in eikaiwa that don't give a base pay but only pay teachers when somebody takes their class and a willingness to up the number of Specialist in Humanities visa for those who can't meet basic standards including emotional smarts - the teacher/s in question have a real responsibility to educate and if they don't want to or can't meet a certain standard then don't apply for teaching jobs in Japan. It aint rocket science.

The teacher in question is working in the school system in Japan and if the responsibility of that hasn't registered with him, then yep it's down to him to start putting some effort into learning how to teach a language and how to show some respect to those he is employed by and those he is supposed to be teaching.

And I'll say it again - there are many more visas issued these days to native English speakers or those who have a high level of English proficiency. That doesn't make the quality better and it often works as the opposite. Too many 'English teachers' are just marking time during their teaching hours before they go off and make another video screaming in Shibuya or filming people who didn't give permission or running around saying they're 'artists' and 'photogaphers' etc etc.

If these kinds of 'teachers' took teaching seriously, they'd be carrying out the purposes of the visas they're given. Cut the number of those visas and make an educational focus the priority for giving visas and we won't be hearing of teachers insulting students, not preparing for classes, turning up hungover to the job, bellyaching that their teaching hours are stopping them from making youtube and twitch videos etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

PacificpilotToday  04:54 am JST

Please enlighten me. School children in the Philippines speak fluent English, and at least two Filipino dialects. Japanese High school graduates can hardly speak English. Wouldn’t it be better to have Japanese students take a vocational class of their choice instead of a wasteful English class?

The Phillipines were a US colony for 48 years. Japan was occupied by the US for 7 years. The Phillipines were also a Spanish colony for some 300 years prior to the US and already exposed to a western latin based language, along with catholithism.

Now stop to consider the level of development of these two countries.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Nobody understands American humour as they don't have any.

I would ask why an American is teaching English when they speak and spell a version that is only used in the USA. The UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada amongst others use the pure form of the language.

No pupil should be ridiculed when praise has a much better outcome. Ridiculing a pupil should only be used to belittle a bully or a thief to embarrass them in front of their peers.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

SapperJonJan. 2 08:44 pm JST

Nobody understands American humour as they don't have any.

Yes, no funny Americans. We're a very dour and serious country.

I would ask why an American is teaching English when they speak and spell a version that is only used in the USA.

Best to learn to work with your most likely business partners.

The UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada amongst others use the pure form of the language.

Canadians sound almost exactly like Americans. I don't know what is going on with India, but while grammatically correct, the pronunciation is extremely challenging to understand by all of the others you mentioned.

Languages change all of the time. Even in the UK, English has changed over the past 200 years. Try not being so uptight about it.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It has now seemingly become impossible to get a Job in Japan unless you speak Native Japanese, even in Multinational Companies, so I guess, the level of English used by the locals here, is now acceptable Globally.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I would ask why an American is teaching English when they speak and spell a version that is only used in the USA.

Best to learn to work with your most likely business partners.

The majority of Japanese business partners are located in Asia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I find the "joke" excuse more offending than the garbage comment. There was no joke there. He should should have just said "sorry I was rude". Instead he goes to some stupid "joke" excuse, similar to the Japanese stereotypical "I was drunk"...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He is right in 90% of cases!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The most impressive thing is that this English teacher was not immediately fired and invited to leave the country. He should be prosecuted; he has no qualifications to be a teacher, he definitively has no soft skills, is not qualified to deal with people, with children. He is a shame for all categories of teachers, many do it with passion, love, compassion, sense of duty and profound respect for their students.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Makoto ShimizuJan. 5  02:02 pm JST

The most impressive thing is that this English teacher was not immediately fired and invited to leave the country.

I think he'll be very lucky if they renew his contract, but if his visa's in order and he's not got himself into any other trouble there's no justification for telling him he should he told to leave Japan.

He should be prosecuted; he has no qualifications to be a teacher, he definitively has no soft skills, is not qualified to deal with people, with children.

As shockingly offensive and unprofessional as his comments were, he didn't actually break any laws and the article doesn't mention what qualifications he might or might not have.

duncanpaJan. 2  02:29 am JST

The teacher quoted here is inexperienced.

Possibly. Again though, we don't know that.

However, rather than just bashing him, listen to him as he hints at a systemic problem. 

He didn't hint at the problem. Even in countries where they've got their act together about teaching English there will still be students who are struggling with it. If he worked in one of those countries and taught one of those students he might still do the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm just surprised the boys parents felt the need to let their son further embarrass himself by letting him speak with reporters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PaulJan. 5  01:39 pm JST

He is right in 90% of cases!

That's hardly the students' fault. It comes from having the Ministry of Education setting mutually exclusive goals for studying English. They want teenagers to be able to communicate naturally in English, but they're also expected to pass university entrance exams that just focus on dense reading passages on obscure topics that no one wants to read about, and to show that they can spout blue skies guff about SDGs, which hardly any teenagers are really interested in.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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