Teach English in Yuetian Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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No English environment causes problems for learners in Japan. In Japanese kindergartens children have 4 times a month or more depending on the kindergarten, English classes taught by an English native teacher. They will sing, dance, play and practice English in a fun way. Once at home they would use the new language as they had fun and remembered it. A year later, some lucky ones will join an International school, where the classes are taught in English with a different curriculum and thus creating an adequate environment to communicate with friends and teachers in English. But most of the Japanese students will join a public elementary school where only until reached the 3rd grade( beginning 2019) they will have the opportunity to learn English until the 6th grade. For the 3rd and 4th graders they will learn the basic English such as introducing oneself, colors, food and subjects. Those relevant studies will keep them into the learning and practicing as they have a daily contact with what they are learning. 5th and 6th graders’ topics are more different and there is not relation to them yet for example , “the future me or even traveling to another country”. The latter is quite difficult as most of them do not have the opportunity to travel abroad at this age. But it can broaden their horizon knowing that there are many countries in the world with different cultures and that the only way they can communicate or make friends with people from these countries is with English as a Universal language. Sometimes students are reluctant to work on the topic traveling abroad, thanks to the media, as the only source of information where they can get news about the world, but what mostly they will see and hear is about war, terrorism etc... But that is common nowadays, the media are focusing on these news all around the World. Then, during the class I hear them saying “I don’t want to go abroad it’s scary and dangerous”. They do not get the language that they can use and practice on a daily basis. Being a junior high student for 3 years and having a daily English class, where the class will start with a quick test of what was taught the day before, introduction of the language target. The 50 minutes English class will be 40 minutes Japanese explanation, reading the text as it is, repeating after the teacher, copying, remembering for the next day class quick test and it is time to say goodbye and get ready for a fun P.E class. The English the students would acquire would be only used for the test. English is not being taught as another language to communicate. Even, though the students want to use it to communicate, but with whom to practice it? They do not practice it at school, the classmates are in the same situation. At home parents may not know English as well! And it goes on until they graduate. Then, thinking English is not interesting, it is just another boring subject at school with tests. In high school students will face the same learning way, but this time they might get a chance to use English to do a presentation in front of the class. The presentation would be done in a robotic tone, sometimes inaudible or mispronounced as the only immediate English source available is the Japanese English teacher who himself or herself is not proficient. The last year of high school more accent is put on studying properly the grammar for the university admission. Now, we have our students with six years schooling with daily English classes, a ton of vocabulary, and were never taught how to use them , about the possible variations simple as (Hello how are you ? ) instead of just repeating what they have learned by heart , but could answer , I’m good , I’m great , Not feeling too good and so on . Instead of I’m fine, thank you and you? But, not feeling that way ! In Japan anywhere you go you do not need to use English as everyone speaks Japanese, everything is in Japanese the newspapers, the TV news, shows are all in Japanese, even if our students wanted to use or even practice it, how would they do it? As they are surrounded by an all Japanese environment. Depending on the location of the students, sometimes the only foreigner with whom, he or she might be able to use English is the local ALT (assistant language teacher) and he or she has unfortunately is a fluent Japanese speaker . Others who are in a more touristic area , the chance to use English is greater , but once the students would say a simple Hello ! the answer might be Hello yourself , and followed by a question , making them think why the use of “yourself” which our student might have come across during the time of only remembering English classes , know it but have never practiced it and not sure or do not know what to answer . The no English environment causes problems for learners to practice the language and become proficient. Another point if by chance they have a foreign tourist let say from America in the city , the bravest student would try to communicate , the person would ask some questions as well while using the same language he or she uses a home , without knowing the level of English here . Therefore, our bravest if lucky will be able to answer, if not, might will feel embarrassed, lose confidence to try again! If only they had more practice time at school or had an English environment more students would love English and be good English speakers. (Those are from my personal observations and experiences with students)