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7 Reasons Why English Only Classes Alone Won't Fix Japan's English Problems

Here's a blog I wrote for ALT Training Online's English in Japan in 2020 series. Enjoy!

Over the years, the Japanese government has placed a large emphasis on the need for “English only” classes and immersion in English education. Having studied Spanish and Japanese in the US before coming to Japan, I can say that these techniques are very effective for preparing students to communicate in real-world situations.

However, it seems that this type of education won’t be beneficial for the Japanese students who are learning English if the content they are studying and how they are being taught doesn’t change. Let’s take a closer look at the current situation and examine the barriers to teaching “all English” classes.

Students are all grouped together regardless of level As you may already know, students in Japan are all placed in the same class regardless of actual English ability. This is a stark contrast to language education in other countries where students must pass one level to move on to the next level; the idea being that they have to master the basics before they can move on to the more difficult material. This means that you may have some students who know everything you’re about to teach them sitting next to other students who still haven’t mastered the basic sentence structures they learned earlier in the year.

Without classes tailored to the needs of individual students, this kind of instruction will be very challenging.

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