Teach English in Jiamatu Zhen - Tongliao Shi

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There is no denying that the current globalization, English has been the means of communication among countries. That is why many of them, may they be developed or developing ones, strive to improve their English skills. As an English teacher from the Philippines, living and teaching now here in Japan, I am a witness to this need of cultivating English skills among individuals of non-English speakers. Being born and raised in the Philippines, I was brought up in an education system similar to that of the American educational system. All subjects were taught in English except one subject of which is our national language “Filipino”. During class hours, teacher-student and student-student communication are all in English. Some teachers even give sanctions to those who fail to do so. English was the epitome of the educational system. However, in the present changes in the Philippine educational system, things are going backwards. Now, early year levels from kindergarten to 3rd grade, the learner’s mother tongue is now the means of instruction. English subject is still present, but this time taught using the learners’ L1. This course of new changes was influenced by several researches that has proved to improve student motivation and abilities in and out the classroom if their mother tongue is used at school as its means of instruction. On the other hand, Japan has called to impose more English hours in Elementary level by 2020. An announcement in 2017 required all schools to finally have English as a subject in 5th and 6th grade, while 3rd and 4th grade will have compulsory 35 hours of Foreign Language Activity (FLA) in English. When I first arrived Japan in 2015, FLA in English were only 10 hours from 1st to 4th graders, and 35 hours in 5th and 6th graders. With the announcement in 2017, schools had increased hours to prepare for its implementation. Schools had increased 15 hours for 3rd and 4th graders while 50 hours for 5th and 6th graders. By April 2020, 5th and 6th graders will have a total of 70 hours for English and some graded activities. With the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan is trying their best to improve its English skills among its youth and as wells as its working population. These two countries both cultivating English skills among its people but at the same time uplifting their identity as a country. I believe that has been the goal of English as a global language. Where each country communicates in the English language while showcasing their own uniqueness as a country. From this, WORLD ENGLISH was born – Filipino English, Singaporean English, and many others where the speakers’ native language and English had somehow unified in a sense that it creates the identity of the speaker. If you ask me, this isn’t bad. For a language to live and survive, it has to keep growing. As to what its limitation in terms of its growth, that is something worth discussing in the future. But as for now, English as a global language is serving its purpose to communicate with other nations and hopefully will be a language of unification and not of division.