Problems and Solutions


The Japanese Government (MEXT) has recognised that present action is required to be taken if student English ability throughout Japan is to be increased and assured.



II. Solutions




English teaching within Japanese State schools has received bad press for a considerable period of time due to the use of arguably antiquated and out dated teaching approaches as well as a lack of multiculturalisation.@It often leaves the students incapable of having a proper English conversation despite studying Japanese for a number of years.



There has also been some debate as to the quality of the English teaching being administered in the classroom. This has also raised the issue that previously there has been a lack of regular professional training opportunities available to Japanese English Teachers in order to update their teaching skills and their English ability.


Furthermore, native English speakers have become an issue: it has been argued that both the number of ALT applicants and the quality of those applicants have decreased considerably over the past few years.


II. Solutions


To try and motivate JTEs to maintain and/or improve their English ability, the MEXT issued an action plan and have stipulated that a minimum score of TOEIC 750 points is required for a JTE to continue to work as a professional English Teacher within a given institution.  Subsequently, MEXT have now begun testing and evaluating these teachers using the TOEIC test.


With regard to teacher training, various eskill-upf courses have been scheduled during the summer months with TEFL/TESOL Trainers to raise awareness as to the latest methods and approaches used in the EFL classroom.


In order to give JETs the opportunity to stay in Japan for longer and give them some future employment incentives, the Japanese government- in conjunction with CLAIR- have decided on an initiative whereby a few experienced and professionally capable ALTs, from each prefecture, can become Elementary School ALTs or Specialist Prefectural Advisors. This is an option typically only available to 3rd year JETs who wish to stay on JET for up to 5 years.

See the CLAIR website on this topic.