The New English Program for Elementary School Students in Japan
Keywords: Japanese elementary education, English teaching Japan, New English program Japan
Times Education Network, Bangkok
Junko Horie is a senior English teacher at Times Education Network, Bangkok and Master s student in the Teaching English as an International Language at Shinawatra University Thailand.
From April of 2011 the Ministry of Education (Monbu-kagaku-sho) in Japan required all students from grade 5 (age 11-12) to take English. However, students take only 26 hours of English class per year, and while the program includes speaking and listening skills, they are not required to study writing or reading. To investigate the effects of this new curriculum, this study interviewed 30 teachers working at elementary schools, five native language teachers, one Japanese language assistant, four university professors, two translators, and three directors of Japanese cram schools. In addition a questionnaire about the program was given to 915 elementary school students. The research finds several limitations in this new policy.