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