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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

A.R. - Japan said:
Problems for learners in Japan For many Westerners visiting Japan, the japanese way is simply an awareness that overcomes you while you make your way through the overcrowded streets of Shibuya, or attempt to slurp your first bowl of ramen noodles. However, in the classroom, the japanese way plays a much more significant role. Foreign teachers of English in Japan recognize it as a glass wall that insinuates itself between them and their students; the manifestation of long-lasting traditions and ineffective teaching policies that prevent them from having any direct influence over how English is taught to japanese students. Before I accepted a position with the japanese Exchange Teaching Program (JET) in 2010 as an Assistant Language Teacher of English (ALT), I was well versed in the failures of the japanese English education system. For months I had relied upon the personal stories and advice of English teachers in japan offered on online foreign forums or gai-jin boards. Like many other young first-time teachers, I depended on the course resources, outlines, and personal anecdotes to prepare for my new life in Japan?invaluable tools that gave me exposure to, not only the basics of teaching, but also to the japanese way. The expatriate forums provided great insight into the walls foreign teachers before me had run into while working within the japanese school system. Under-trained japanese Teachers of English (JTE), disinterested students, and outdated course materials were some of the most common complaints, but most of the discontent stemmed from Japan?s approach to teaching English. Japan?s approach to teaching English has its foundations in the tradition of Wakon Yousai, or ?The japanese Spirit, Western Civilization? philosophy. During the 19th century, the Wakon Yousai policies were designed to maintain japanese culture and tradition during the influx of the West. However, when applied today these codes seek to teach English as a translation of the japanese language and culture, by ignoring the historical and cultural influences that have helped English become a global language. In Japan, English is considered a skill that can be developed within the japanese paradigm. The learning of English is presented to students as an extension of japanese culture, so that the opportunity for cultural expansion that is inherent to learning a foreign language is lost in the translation of the English language to fit the traditions of the japanese classroom. As a result of the strong influence of the japanese way, even cultural teaching exchange programs such as JET, which places foreign teachers of English in japanese public schools as Assistant Language Teachers of English to team-teach with japanese teachers, have failed to improve the English communication skills of japanese students. JET has failed because native-English speakers are not given the authority within the japanese education system to effectively pair the teaching of English with the cultural exchange necessary to understand how a language is used. As assistants, ALTs are expected to provide model English structures and pronunciations, but the japanese homeroom teacher is in charge of the course structure and lessons. However, because few JTEs have the opportunity to interact with native speakers of English as part of their training, most have developed a very narrow view of the language. JTEs, who only understand English from a japanese perspective are disconnected from the cultural evolution of the language; and as a result, are only capable of teaching their students how to translate their own cultural experience into English. These students, unfortunately, miss out on the rich diversity that has given the English language its global status. japanese students are not given the opportunity to learn about the important historical and cultural facets of English that would not only make the learning experience more interesting, but also help to improve their English communication skills. In April 2011 a new mandate was passed by the japanese Ministry of Education requiring all of Japan?s public primary schools to provide one hour per week of English instruction to students in the fifth and sixth grade. Exposing students to English sounds, the Roman alphabet, and basic sentence structures at an earlier age will arguably provide this new generation of students with an advantage their seniors did not have. However, primary school teachers, unlike JTEs of secondary school and high school, are not trained in English instruction to any degree. This lack of training leads one to ask questions regarding the quality of the English these students are expected to build their English foundations upon. It is clear that the Ministry of Education is concerned about its students low English communication skills, but until a sincere effort is put into understanding the cultural aspects of language, Japan will continue to fall behind.