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Teach English in AlAtanemole Zhen - Hulunbei'er Shi — Hulunbuir
Japan is an interesting country to visit. For most visitors, it is known as a place with lots of things to do and lots of things to see. However, there is a side of Japan that we do not see. There are many expectations and rules that society has created which have hindered the Japanese people who wish to learn. Japan has a very hierarchical structure. There are different levels of speech and respect given to people depending on where they are in the hierarchy. In a classroom, the teacher is at the top of the hierarchy as an authoritative figure. This means that they must be given the utmost respect. When the teacher is speaking, no one else is. This can make classes very boring and stimulating for both the teacher and the learner. There is also an expectation that the students only answer when instructed to and to not speak out of turn or ask questions. This can create a lot of problems for someone who is learning English. A student does not know what they do not know. Students often learn by asking questions and seeking clarification. Not being able to ask for more elaboration or clarity can prevent students from gauging their comprehension level simply because they are not aware they don’t understand. By the time a student realizes something is wrong, they have usually fallen very far behind. Another problem that students have in Japan is the fear of embarrassing themselves. Japanese people do not like to experience negative or uncomfortable emotions. They often go out of their way to avoid confrontation and uncomfortable situations. In a classroom setting, this can lead to lowered participation in oral practice. Students are reluctant to speak up and embarrass themselves as they do not want others to judge or laugh. This can slow down the progress of a student. While it is important to be able to read, write, and comprehend a language, it is just as important to speak. Oral practices in class can help a teacher identify areas in which students have pronunciation problems. But because Japanese students are often quite shy, it can be very hard to elicit a response. Students in Japan are also expected to be constantly studying. Their classroom set up involves students sitting in rows with no group work or social interaction. The expectation for students is that a school is somewhere you go to gain an education, not to have fun. This can make it very hard for students to become motivated and engaged in a class as they are not allowed to show their interest. Group and pair work are also frowned upon as it can create a louder class level, which in turn may disturb neighboring classes. This can greatly affect a student’s ability to work with other personalities and learn how to troubleshoot with people that have varying opinions. A final problem that students have when learning English in Japan is the inability to find English speakers. Japan largely speaks Japanese and most people do not see a reason or need to learn English. As a result, the only people who speak native English are foreigners who have settled there. However, people that know rudimentary English often feel intimidated to speak with native English speakers because they do not want to embarrass themselves. Between a lack of self-confidence and a lack of English speakers being available, it is very hard for Japanese people to become fluent in a new language. The issues that arise for a Japanese learner do not only apply to learning English. They apply to nearly anyone trying to learn anything new. These problems exist because of the rules and expectations that society has imposed on them. However, it is also the same rules and expectations that have helped the nation flourish into what it is today.