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Join the leaders of English Education for Children in Japan!
Because English teaching levels at junior high schools in Tokyo vary widely, “Students who have prepared well at cram schools will be at an advantage,” said another 53-year-old parent.
Is that not precisely why some choose to pay for cram schools?
The scorers are likely not aware of grading criteria,
What a weird comment. How can someone grade a test and not know the criteria?
Parents have too much to say on issues that they don’t understand.
Japan and its obsession with making language a subject to be graded is laughable.
The fascination for the ‘correct answer’ cannot be applied to communication as say for a problem in maths or geography where one answer is the norm.
And it is good to know that the de facto standard for Japanese learners of English is now to be found in the Philippines.
Buy cheap, pay twice.
As a person that English is more or less a semi secondary language ( complicated asca child heard English daily but only used occasionally and was never educated in English)).
I don’t know what could be done to improve the English education or examination in Japan.
My children did very well but then they have spoken English all their lives with me (as well as French) but as an outside observer it became clear the “English education” was nearly all just window dressing the ALTs are just there to point to in the teacher’s office space and say “look we have Gaijin teacher” half the time the first class cut to is English so the students can practice more important things like preparing for sports festival, or music festival maybe even earwax cleaning festival who knows, that is the priority in Japan.
I never sent my children to Juku no money no time but at least I could help in English.
But unless a full overhaul of the English education system in Japan is done, why bother teaching it, even when massive errors are pointed out in text books even when a native English speaker tell the Japanese English teacher the correct pronunciation they still insist on using the incorrect English because ” that is what the book says and that is how the exam will pronounce it”.
Nothing has changed in the 30 years I have been hear it is still “herou herou amerijajin ” even if you are not American.
At long last actually speaking English, rather than solving weird grammar puzzles, will be tested and hence valued. Teachers will be encouraged to teach speaking and, oh, low and behold incentivized to actually speak English themselves!
I wonder how much Bennese paid to have their version of the exam accepted, over let’s say EIKEN, who tried to get theirs as the “standard” back in 2018 or 2019 I believe it was.
Just listening to a question and answering it is hardly a “test” to judge speaking ability. This is another corporate funded, knee-jerk attempt, at trying to make money.
At long last actually speaking English, rather than solving weird grammar puzzles, will be tested and hence valued. Teachers will be encouraged to teach speaking and, oh, low and behold incentivized to actually speak English themselves!
Hardly, it’s the same as the EIKEN, just learn to “hear” a set sentence, and prepare an answer.
Examiner: “Good morning! What’s your name?”
Me: “Yubaru!”
Examiner: “Sorry, that’s just 1 point”
Me: “Huh? I answered your question perfectly!”
Examiner: “Again, so sorry! The CORRECT answer is: My name is Yubaru!” 5 points!”
Me: Double face palm!
What is surprising is the number of people who can’t even understand or answer that question with just their name. Teacher’s here will not be “focusing” on speaking, just listening, and how to answer a set question. Then having the student repeat the answer a thousand times.
Who can blame the kids, it’s not their fault. It’s MEXT and many of the, not all as there are some really dedicated one’s out there, of the JTE’s who teach English, but cant put two words together in a spoken sentence.
I suggest that before any test gets introduced, that ALL JTE’s have to be at least, conversationally proficient in speaking English. (A snowballs chance in hell!)
Hardly, it’s the same as the EIKEN, just learn to “hear” a set sentence, and prepare an answer.
Examiner: “Good morning! What’s your name?”
Me: “Yubaru!”
Examiner: “Sorry, that’s just 1 point”
Me: “Huh? I answered your question perfectly!”
Examiner: “Again, so sorry! The CORRECT answer is: My name is Yubaru!” 5 points!”
That doesn’t sound like an Eiken test.
They should be starting in elementary school and not jr high in the middle of adolescence. The students’ hormones are bouncing off the walls and they’re more interested in sex, rebellion, sports or music. Once Japan stops treating ESL as a business and works it into the elementary school curriculum along with arithmetic, science and Japanese, I think they’ll have more progress. Start teaching the kids how to type in English, search in Google for study topics, read out loud in English, have video conferences with children abroad, and teach the relevance. And get the teachers on board and learn with them, because teaching is actually learning together.
Lol
This country will never stop resisting English speaking.
That doesn’t sound like an Eiken test.
If you know anything about the EIKEN “interview” test, you would know that the highest points awarded are for answers that are made in complete sentences.
If you answer with a one word answer, you will get the lowest points allowable for the question, as answers are graded from 1 point to 5 points.
If you know anything about the EIKEN “interview” test, you would know that the highest points awarded are for answers that are made in complete sentences.
That is correct. So why did you post the garbage you did?
Yubaru
Examiner: “Good morning! What’s your name?”
Me: “Yubaru!”
Examiner: “Sorry, that’s just 1 point”
Me: “Huh? I answered your question perfectly!”
Examiner: “Again, so sorry! The CORRECT answer is: My name is Yubaru!” 5 points!”
Me: Double face palm!
If you know anything about the EIKEN “interview” test, you would know that the highest points awarded are for answers that are made in complete sentences.
If you answer with a one word answer, you will get the lowest points allowable for the question, as answers are graded from 1 point to 5 points.
And of you knew anything about EIKEN (or any other test really) you would know that they do not provide immediate feedback, but rather send you the results later. Reason being that if they tell people they answered wrong, it might make poeple nervous and adversely affect their future answers.
This “conversation” between you and the examiner never took place and the only double facepalm here is you trying to spout such obvious made up nonsense to make a point. If you are going to make up some anecdote to support your point, at least make sure it is realistic.
“what is your name?” is not assessed, too!
I am not a fan of Bennese. They are a business, more interested in making money than in education. But having a speaking test of some kind is much better than having nothing at all.
As for comments about ALTs and JTEs, it really is a shame to continue seeing disparaging comments towards both. Nearly all of the JTEs I know are actually quite skilled in speaking English, even the few who have never studied abroad. Similarly, though ALTs could be used more effectively, if they are serious about their job, they do play an important role in helping both JTEs and students in practicing English. I have often been the main person that keeps my JTEs conversational level to standard, namely as they are unable to use English outside of the school. In fact, I have often observed that the more I use English with my JTEs, the more they will use English with their students.
First they should just ban katakana to avoid bad prononciation purizu and increase levek of teacher. As my ex co-worker said, coming back to Japan at her 12 years old, she pointed so many mistakes of English teacher he got mad and kicked her out of his class for the year…
Dep of Education does not have a good track record with Engrish teaching or materials.
No problem, that can be helped immediately with a very easy problem solution. If they protest the test taken in English language, then they are allowed to freely choose another foreign language of their choice, in which their little loved ones are tested then. French, Korean, Chinese, Italian, or German language etc anything else is fine too.
Seems like the Philippines manages to turn out English speakers that are good enough to work as ALTs in Japan. Maybe the Japanese should just copy their methods?
According to how the article presents the situation the problem seems to be more about the whole evaluation system and not about the English part. Kids whose future supposedly depends on getting into the “best” possible school at every level from kindergarten getting a low grade on any single subject would destroy this plan for the future, so parents will reject any change that would increase this risk.
Maybe the solution would be to include the test of English as something independent for a few years until all wrinkles are ironed, kids would have grades and could check how well they do but they would not matter in the decision if they can or not enter a School. Once the system goes realistically well and no inequalities are present then make it part of the requisites.
Because English teaching levels at junior high schools in Tokyo vary widely, “Students who have prepared well at cram schools will be at an advantage,” said another 53-year-old parent.
Well, that applies to every subject, that is the whole point of cram schools, to give an advantage over those relying solely on what they learn on the school.
Elvis is Here
Elvis: “”what is your name?” is not assessed, too!”
Examiner: “Sorry, that’s just 1 point”
Elvis: “Huh? I answered your question perfectly!”
Examiner: “Again, so sorry! The CORRECT answer is: Is not assessed either” 5 points!”
Elvis: Double face palm!
The above is just in jest obviously ^^
There are a number of native English speakers residing and working in Japan, would it not be prudent of the Tokyo board of education to hire people who use English as a first language than go knows who grading the tests in the Philippines?
The stakes are very high for the kids and relying on bored call centre workers to decide the fate of them would definitely concern me if I were in the same boat..
You gotta love the kickback to people that are trying to work on solutions for a long standing and obvious problem. A speaking test should be a no brainer, but it seems the logistical challenges are bigger than the will to improve for many. You know what they say, where there’s a WILL there’s a WAY.
ps it’s not all about the tests kiddies. Communication is connection. It’s the ability to connect that is the big prize. Now enjoy! Wink
In Korea, you can have a perfect conversation virtually anywhere with anyone below 40 years old.
In Japan, they speak random english words here and there as a joke or something.
Same IQ. Different levels of self-confidence.
A little over 2 years ago my friend a young Japanese man asked me for help his then 2nd year Jr high school aged son was having trouble in English class.
He ( my friend) had been to the school ( a Tokyo ward public school) and was told by the Japanese English teacher he ( my friend) does understand the problem because he doesn’t understand English well and isn’t a native speaker.
So he asked me to help.
Now background, my friend speaks very good English but very heavy accent, his son is a “returnee” having spent most of his life in the USA until 5th grade primary school the kid speaks English more natively than I do.
So I went and the Japanese English teacher could barely get to words out, the ALT (contracted through a very disliked company) was very nice she was Indian housewife and a part time worker, she was continually interpreting for the Japanese English teacher and sorry but I had to ask her to constantly repeat because her Indian accent was very strong ( I am very used to the Indian English accent but this one was exceptionally strong).
In the end we got nowhere, as my friends son would have to unlearn English to relearn the gibberish being taught at Japanese public school.
I raised 2 on my own it has been a long time since they were in Jr high but nothing has changed still the same BS books the same mistakes, the same adherence to a non realistic structure and still a majority of “English teachers” that cannot speak English, one thing has changed, more and more wards/cities are using the lowest bidder to contract ALTs regardless of the ALTs grasp of English so my Australian friend’s children have had Philipino, Indian, Singapore teachers not one American, Canadian, UK Australian.
All their ALTs are spouses of Japanese so work at low rates as a part time income.
And other friends with children in public school have told me the same stories.
Cui bono? Testing is a very lucrative bizness in Japan for some, and a drain on the pockets for others. And still few Japanese can hold their own in a conversation because even more essential for communiction than language is culture and that isn’t tested at all.
I can totally relate to these students that can read and write complex sentences but can barely ask how do you do.
Been studying Chinese for more than 10 years.
Can read and write pretty much anything.
But still can’t hold a proper conversation for more than a minute.
That’s because I rarely practice listening, much less speaking, dont watch chinese movies or listen to chinese music. And the chinese people are even more closed than the japanese when it comes to speaking in their mother tongue with westerners. This is a terrible method of studying.
Besides have you ever seen the “english” books they use in schools?
1 english sentence in a sea of kanjis explaining its grammar structure, nuances, etc. Flawed method.
Worried about fairness, parents and education experts against the speaking test have launched a petition drive to urge the metropolitan government to halt its implementation, collecting more than 23,000 signatures as of Nov. 11.
“Worried about fairness”? That’s what these parents are worried about? Forget all the stresses, depression, bullying, pressures, lack of freedom to do/say what they want, lack of opinion and all the rubbish these kids go through in the daily life of a teenager, let’s worry about fairness. Life isn’t fair. Are they gonna start a petition to halt life?
You cannot teach a language without being fluent in both the language of your student and the language they are learning. That excludes many ALTs, some of whom are still learning themselves, and too many teachers.
There just aren’t the numbers of fluent teachers. If you are that bilingual, you are more likely to bag a job that pays more with less stress. Then add accent divergence (US English, global 2nd language English and Received pronunciation).
They’ll probably give it a go, nudge up all the scores of those who complain, and maybe bin it after a year or two. Bonus points for giving it a go.
quote: Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines.
Slightly weird outsourcing.
If you want your kids to learn English, cough up for cram school lessons, start early and demand RP. You are making an investment in your child’s future, so don’t skimp. Regional accents can be charming, but you really don’t want your kids talking like Rab. C. Nesbitt.
quote: Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines.
> Slightly weird outsourcing.
Not really, the Tokyo ward I lived in for 28 years contracted to different ALT outsourcing services throughout the years.
Up until about 10 years ago the ALTs were mostly from places like Canada, USA, UK, Australia, NZ. They were paid monthly regardless if a class was cancelled or not.
Now the company that has the contract uses Filipino housewives and pays only the hours they teach if a class is cancelled no pay but just like the previous teachers before them they are still required to stay at the school the entire day.
So arrive before school starts, leave at 16:00 teach 2 classes get paid 2 hours. If scheduled to teach 4 classes but 2 are cancelled get paid just 2 hours and still you are there all day.
So now think how low the pay will be having people “in” the Philippines doing the work.
I wonder if these same people would still whine knowing that in the world rankings of countries that have fluency in English (where it is not the native or and official language) Japan ranked in the second-lowest tier with “very poor skills” and was 80th overall, finishing WELL below China, South Korea, Taiwan, and most of its Asian neighbors, and if it’s “unfair” that it’s more fluent neighbors are getting better jobs as a result.
@finally rich
Actually it was the Korean state that heavily promoted English education in schools and other areas that has paid off-nothing to do with confidence!
Moskollo: “There are a number of native English speakers residing and working in Japan, would it not be prudent of the Tokyo board of education to hire people who use English as a first language than go knows who grading the tests in the Philippines?”
That would require intellect, not paying off connections (Bennesse and their outsourcing), and ignoring the fact that you still don’t need communication skills for the all important paper tests. And besides, no native-English speakers in their right mind would work for a local BOE on the books. I did it in a pinch once when my friend became head of the BOE and needed someone one day a week for two months when an ALT quit and I figured why not? Different kind of job. Working in a school. Might be fun. Was contracted to show up and stay at the school from 9:00 to 4:00 and lead four classes a day (no Japanese teacher for the most part since I can speak fluently and the materials were prepared). Well, half the time classes would get cancelled so the kids could practice for sports day, so I watched that or stayed in the office. Got my pay a month later and all those cancelled classes became unpaid. Went to my friend, showed him the contract that said nothing about cancellations; only hours I would be there, classes, and amounts. I pointed I fulfilled my end of the contract, and he bowed down numerous times and apologized, but said he could not pay for the classes not taught. I said none of that was mentioned at all, and he could only apologize again. Thought about pursuing it further, but instead just told me then friend to not bother ever asking me to do it again. In the end, I think for the full eight days there at the school I got about ¥30,000.
Why on earth would anyone waste their time for that when costs are so high these days?
Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines.
One would think it would be at least from an English speaking country.
So, the language now being taught in Japanese schools for the conversation test is Philippine English?
The way forward is clear then….
smithinjapan
If I am required to be in a place from 9-4 then they will have to pay me for every single hour at least ¥2500/hour.
Obviously A LOT of English teacher commenting today LOL ! Ive been here teaching English for 18 years and as far as I’m concerned…..English in Japan……AKAN ! あかん LOL !!
Great idea. This will help instill confidence in the speaking ability of JHS students. A lot of people making negative comments on here, but have not offered any alternative.
@Japantime
Whats your alternative ?
Japantime
Today 12:11 pm JST
Great idea. This will help instill confidence in the speaking ability of JHS students. A lot of people making negative comments on here, but have not offered any alternative.
Sure most have offered, we have offered publicly, in schools, to the school boards, to the teachers, to the text book creators, in the over 30 year I have been here, I have seen multiple and multiple Foreigners, parents in mixed marriages, ALTs try 3 try and try to explain the actual needs, the way forward for Japanese students.
And the results? Nothing the English education now my friends children are getting is as bad if not worse than my children got over 15 years ago, at least my children got native English speakers ALTs from Canada, USA and UK, my friends children have a Filipino housewive and an Indian housewife as ALTs.
I mean you can apply all of the complaints to other subjects as well. “It’s not fair if the other kid goes to a better cram school, or has better teachers, or focuses on the subject in particular very hard and beats my child’s score!” Why even let that person embarrass themselves publicly by quoting such nonsense.
fact is japans english Skill level is laughable at best and just weirdly bad at worst. Despite the subject being introduced earlier, more private schools, and more access to study and communication aids via online like random YouTube videos.
Someone said recently that Japan has English everywhere and students from the last 30/40 years seen it daily for a decade+, but with no focus on learning it as a language and only as a word by word recitation. Also there are no role models who speak it well for learners. There’s a million jokes a day on tv making fun of English pronunciation or foreign people, but no one who does it as an impressionable life skill. The few personalities that do speak other languages are othered as being “sugoi “ instead of a positive influence
If I want to learn a language, I want to learn from a qualified or experienced native speaker instructor. I have no interest learning Japanese from a very fluent American or Canadian.
I’ve seen some questions from the Eiken and other tests and wonder if a native English speaker produced the questions and who actually evaluates the results. Son of a friend recently took the Eiken 2 interview test and he said he had trouble understanding the interviewer’s English. Interviewer was Japanese.
As far as I’m concerned all English teachers at Japanese high schools should be native English speakers. The fact they’re still not tells you a lot about the education system in Japan and is probably one of the major reasons why Japanese lag far behind others in terms of English ability.
I mean you can apply all of the complaints to other subjects as well. “It’s not fair if the other kid goes to a better cram school,
Actually no they don’t!
It is a simple fact, if one kid goes to Kumon, one kid goes to another cram school, one goes to Benesse cram school, and one doesn’t go to any Cram school.
Which one has an advantage?
Well which place has the inside scoop on the test?
This is public school the testing should be 100% based solely on government created material even if bad at least everyone has a equal chance.
I got hood winked by a family friend into teaching English to their friends daughter. Have to say I was doubting I could help as I really don’t care, but suprisingly she, the daughter and I talked (over months) and she went overseas and was fine, also understood humour. She is not so interested in Japanese TV anymore.
Students taking the test will don headsets with microphones and record verbal answers to eight questions shown on tablets. They will also wear earmuffs to shut out noise
There it is! The answers to the 8 questions will be rote memorized and spoken with very little comprehension. English should be an elective subject for those who want to learn it. At present, from the 60% of students who can pass an English test only 5% of those can actually use the language. The vast majority only apply tote memorized answers to recycled questions.
Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines…..One would think it would be at least from an English speaking country.
Money talks.
As far as I’m concerned all English teachers at Japanese high schools should be native English speakers. The fact they’re still not tells you a lot about the education system in Japan and is probably one of the major reasons why Japanese lag far behind others in terms of English ability.
Ok this may come as a surprise to some here.
In my first years in Japan I knew several foreign ALTs with actual teaching accreditation from USA, UK Canada, Australia etc.. working as full time employees for public school systems mostly in the more well off areas/wards of Tokyo.
These were actually dedicated professionals.
Sadly the national government passed a law forbidding any government entities from the smallest village to major city from hiring and foreign national as a direct government employee.
As a result all these people lost their jobs, (this included several well publicised national university professors with nationality varying from China to new Zealand).
They were at first offered their same jobs via contract no more health insurance, pension, benefits, transportation fees etc…
Later they were again offered to remain but through an agency at far worse conditions and pay.
All these people had families (most originally spouses of Japanese nationals) and the now uncertain future, poor pay, bad working environment, all as far as I know had no choice but to leave Japan to get better jobs in other countries to support their families.
So the idea or chance any qualified native English speaker will ever be a full time English teacher in a Japanese school especially public school is near zero.
The students will be scored on a six-tier scale for grammar and pronunciation, among other aspects of speaking ability, with “A” being the highest and “F” the lowest.
Isn’t that nice…”F” the lowest, meaning “0” will be added to the final scoring criteria just to ensure “no-one feelings” are hurt. So, F no longer stands for Failure – goes to prove how education is sure improving these past years.
Confidence,
I have noticed on recent visits the Nagoya crew, family members, school age off spring English skills increase significantly outside the a cloistered classroom environment.
They sometimes go all coy……
But when reciting some US hip hop stuff, seem happy to experiment, even with some of the strange dance shapes.
Some parents and experts are demanding that the test be called off due to the need for more transparency on who will score it and the standard for deducting points.
The powers that be will have to be totally transparent, everyone has to be onboard.
The above is just in jest obviously ^^
Nice to see someone understands the sarcasm and idiocy of the EIKEN interview manner of grading. I really thought I explained it when I replied with the following
If you know anything about the EIKEN “interview” test, you would know that the highest points awarded are for answers that are made in complete sentences.
If you answer with a one word answer, you will get the lowest points allowable for the question, as answers are graded from 1 point to 5 points.
But I see even this went right over their heads as well! lol!:)
I’m surprised speaking has never – or hardly? – been a component of the kids’ exams. Shouldn’t that be part and parcel of all language tests – to observe and exam all the four active and passive skills? I know it was when I took French, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. I think Japan’s method of applying rote learning to English classes is completely unhelpful. Doesn’t help the kids immerse themselves and apply what they learned in real life.
If you answer with a one word answer, you will get the lowest points allowable for the question, as answers are graded from 1 point to 5 points.
That is not true. A one word answer at times will get 4 points out of 5.
1 point is generally award for a no response.
As a guy who just proctored the Eiken last Sunday, just wanted to say:
1) Your introduction is irrelevant outside of attitude score, which is generally easy to get if your not an idiot/rude.
2) 1 word answers are perfectly acceptable if they answer the question, and will get you a 3 or possibly 4 points depending on the question. Never will it get a 1.
Elvis is here
Today 02:18 pm JST
If you answer with a one word answer, you will get the lowest points allowable for the question, as answers are graded from 1 point to 5 points.
That is not true. A one word answer at times will get 4 points out of 5.
1 point is generally award for a no response.
I think the point was a sarcastic way of pointing out the stupid way exams are done in Japan.
I can attest that @yubaru has 100% a point.
I watched my 2 children with fluent English answer exams and be told their answers were incorrect.
I have personally gone to schools examination centres and had it out with the fools that runs these tests who BTW can barely speak 2 words of English in most cases.
I know a “returnee” graduated from a USA Ivy League university was required to take Eiken as a new hire with the rest of the new staff.
He failed! His reaction was it is counter intuitive, and the answers often are in no way natural or the way a native speaker would use or say.
His failure caused the company to rethink using Eiken as an evaluation tool as he had a master’s degree from a prominent Ivy League university.
They now use a test created for them by a company in the USA.
Also, to add!
if you have to explain that you are joking, or explain the joke itself, it’s not a very good joke is it?
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, the test was jointly created by the education board and education services provider Benesse Corp. Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines…..need we say any more.
kaynide
Today 02:47 pm JST
Also, to add!
> if you have to explain that you are joking, or explain the joke itself, it’s not a very good joke is it?
He only had to explain to one person, the rest of us got it just fine, oh wait perhaps 2 didn’t get it or is it actually one???
As for the grading, an education board official has said fairness would be ensured as “multiple people will mark the exams, and if the scoring differs, a senior person will make adjustments.”
Who are these graders?!
As a scorer in the world’s leading English language test, I can tell you it is a highly specialized skill that only experienced and trained native speakers (or near-native speakers) can do at a high cost. If they are going to get local Japanese English teachers, the test will not have the accuracy and rigour necessary to assess their grades fairly.
There is an old conspiracy theory created by a famous Japanese journalist that the Japanese govt and private industries deliberately corrupt the learning of the English language learning because there is a fear that if Japanese people become proficient in English, they will leave the country for better wages and a better standard of living overseas.
I’m starting to believe there is some truth to this.
I know a “returnee” graduated from a USA Ivy League university was required to take Eiken as a new hire with the rest of the new staff.
He failed! His reaction was it is counter intuitive, and the answers often are in no way natural or the way a native speaker would use or say.
Cute story, but sounds like sour grapes. He should have swotted up in Eiken instead of resting his laurels.
And, I would love to know what kind of answers are a “natural or the way a native speaker would use or say”?
Japan and its obsession with making language a subject to be graded is laughable.
The fascination for the ‘correct answer’ cannot be applied to communication as say for a problem in maths or geography where one answer is the norm.
I’m not surprised by this. Just another kind of “test.” Students here test too much.
Chico3Today  03:54 pm JST
Japan and its obsession with making language a subject to be graded is laughable.
The fascination for the ‘correct answer’ cannot be applied to communication as say for a problem in maths or geography where one answer is the norm.
I’m not surprised by this. Just another kind of “test.” Students here test too much.
Ah, well, there are many English language proficiency tests outside of Japan, like TOEFL, IELTS and Pearson.
English language proficiency is one of the most important subjects to be tested in the world.
If you want your kids to learn English, cough up for cram school lessons, start early and demand RP. You are making an investment in your child’s future, so don’t skimp. Regional accents can be charming, but you really don’t want your kids talking like Rab. C. Nesbitt.
I smiled at that. I think I’d rather my kids spoke like Rab C. Nesbitt than like Prince Charles. But I don’t think it’s relevant. Almost no one who learns English in Japan will sound like a native speaker, however fluent they become. It generally takes immersion to achieve that. (There are exceptions.) If they can make “rum” and “lamb” sound different, whether in a Glasgow or New Jersey or Osaka accent, they’re making progress. Better still is managing stress timing – saying “big red bat” and “tiny yellow hammer” with the same three beats. Then we’re talking.
You cannot teach a language without being fluent in both the language of your student and the language they are learning.
Not according to MEXT.
Ah, well, there are many English language proficiency tests outside of Japan, like TOEFL, IELTS and Pearson.
Key word here “outside”. TOEIC and Eiken are for all intents and purposes, no real test of a persons English ability. They are just an extension of the Japanese education system that teaches to the test, and places a high value on people who can pass the “evaluation”
The EIKEN association is a HUGE money making machine. Consider the literally hundreds of thousands of people who pay between what, 3,000 and 6,000 yen for one test, held three times a year, all the EIKEN study materials sold and what not. EIKEN takes in enough money to run a small country! They also have the political clout to make sure that they keep people under their thumb.
EIKEN has no interest in people actually learning to communicate in English, they’d be cutting their own throats!
My son, took the TOEIC once, never studied, never prepared, and just took it because they needed a “body” to fulfill the required number of test takers one day. Full marks on the TOEIC is a goofy 990 points, he scored 985.
He passed the EIKEN 1 level test as well. Neither of which he is particularly proud of, as he never studied specifically for either exams. He just needed them for applying for a job here, to “prove” he knew English.
The phonology of Japanese features about 15 consonant phonemes, the cross-linguistically typical five-vowel system of /a, i, u, e, o/, and a relatively simple phonotactic distribution of phonemes allowing few consonant clusters.
Wiki.
Well I leave you with that gobbledegook.
When I brought my home, Kochi, I communicated with my neighbors like a windmill, sign language, strange noises holding a book meant for five year olds to learn Japanese.
Human beings communicate, the best way they can. Its fun and making the effort in Japan will be respected.
English can be simple, at the same time the most deceptive and slippery.
Politically, one can say one thing and mean the opposite.
W Churchill is a example.
English carefully managed can win hearts and minds in one breath, and start wars in another.
So many comments I did not have enough time to read all of them. Sorry.
I thank all of you for the valuable shared experiences.
Communication skill is not depending on the language in my opinion, hence the very poor score of Japanese in general.
I always explain to people asking me if I speak Japanese that half of the communication is made by behaviour and onomatopoeia, so knowing the words only is far from enough, knowledge of culture habits is very essential.
Even though I am “privileged” like some commenters about languages (Mom being British), English like other international languages are now evolving to become plural. American is not British English (ask an American a rubber for your son to see the difference) and same for most all English speaking countries.
I have a brother who sometimes I don’t understand because in fact I am much more now accustomed to American English (series oblige) than pure Bristish.
I believe any language should be proposed for such test to support that development for students, not only English.
There will always also be the literary language and the common language, where adaptation to the person you are talking to is of primary importance.
Learning Philippino verbal English must be a strategic choice for Japan 😉
If you are clever, you’ll find your way how to communicate, speaking badly or not.
If you want your kids to learn English, cough up for cram school lessons, start early and demand RP.
The world runs on American English, not “RP” lol
For fun, try to pronunciate correctly “forecastle” (forward part of upper deck of a ship, think of Titanic).
I know we are talking about JHS but still there is no limit to vocabulary.
A bit of motivation to focus on actual communication skills. OFC parents dont like it, it will mean their kids will have to actually develop a useful skill (god forbid) rather than just rote memorisation.
I have been teaching a few students for this test for the past 3 months.
It’s not bad, it’s a step in the right direction. With the current situation parents send their kids to eikaiwa until 4th or 5th grade of elementary school then take them out so they can go to cram school to study for the jnr high entrance exams because English isn’t necessary. Once they go into junior high, until now, there was also little incentive to practice spoken English as it’s rarely necessary for the University entrance exams (spoken English).
If Japan was serious about English they would make it part of the junior high entrance exams. Then universities should award entrance points for IELTS and TOEFL scores.
I have no problem with having it graded in the Philippines. The criteria isn’t for perfect pronunciation, they just want to hear understandable English.
English language proficiency has been steadily rising around the world, including in Japan’s neighbours.
However, in Japan, it continues to decline every year with no end in sight. I wonder how low it can go.
Japan should look to other Asian nations to model what they have been doing to increase English levels.
Joe BlowToday  05:13 pm JST
If you want your kids to learn English, cough up for cram school lessons, start early and demand RP.
The world runs on American English, not “RP” lol
Ya think!? Go tell that to NZ, Australia, India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Europe, and parts of Africa.
It may surprise some to learn the the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English. There are many regional languages. Tagalog is not actually an official language, but Filipino is based on it. English and Filipino are basically lingua francas, common languages. I have never met a Filipino who cannot speak English fluently and understandably. I am British and had difficulty understanding some people in Scotland when I first went there. Some Americans with extreme accents can also be hard to understand.
Many Japanese have asked me if they should learn British or American English. My answer is that they should learn a fairly standard English, a fairly standard accent and it doesn’t matter which country it comes from. I tell them that they should learn English as a lingua franca to speak to Chinese, Indians, people from all over the world. They should not learn to speak to just British or just Americans.
All the Filipinos I have met are at least bilingual. As such they can make excellent teachers is Japan because they know to speak two languages fluently, you must be capable of thinking in both languages instead of translating between them.
Give the Filipinos a break.
It’s all about good grades and exam results and not enough about critical thinking or true comprehension.
Get the pass and and get into a good school is all most parents bother with. Churning out more plebs.
For those who miss the speaking test due to illness or other reasons, the scores are calculated by averaging the speaking test results of students with the same level as the absentee’s English score on the achievement test.
WTF????
So someone who would be likely to get a low score would do better to be away on that day due to “sickness or other reasons.”
Don’t be fooled by your inability to communicate, takes time.
You need to build a vocabulary to meet your needs.
Just reach for the dictionary and smile.
English education needs to begin as early as possible. Brain research shows intensive language activity from 0 to 2 years of age. Japan should begin English language learning in preschool. My nonprofit, JOEE.jp, teaches free English lessons in orphanages or children’s homes in Japan to children from 2 to 7 years of age. We use puppets, songs, and games to make learning feel like play. A child needs to feel safe and motivated before deep learning can take place. Here is a video example of one of our JOEE lessons: https://youtu.be/_FsqBkQmll4
Of course, with little kids, in-person lessons are always better. Interaction is a crucial component of language learning. I wish the Japanese educational system would quickly get educated in matters pertaining to language instruction. Japan’s future depends on it.
In Korea, you can have a perfect conversation virtually anywhere with anyone below 40 years old.
In Japan, they speak random english words here and there as a joke or something.
Same IQ. Different levels of self-confidence.
Not my experience during the total time I spent in factories, and outside of factories in the evenings for a few months in total, working in Korea on assignment from Japan.
Most people only spoke Korean. Top engineers dealing in production and quality control also spoke Japanese as it comes in very useful for work – they do a lot of business dealing with Japanese machinery and products, meeting with Japanese engineers. Engineers at the R&D level, who usually had gone to a good university, often spoke English (but usually not Japanese).
Elvis is hereToday  02:18 pm JST
That is not true. A one word answer at times will get 4 points out of 5. 
1 point is generally award for a no response.
That might be true; but not in Japan.
Language influences the culture, and culture influences the language.
Right-wingers in countries like China and Japan fear learning English to a proficient-level requires too much integration and will change their precious culture. To certain degree, they are correct. Whether that is a bad or good thing is subjective. Thus, Japan specifically isolates “foreigness” like Kanji and Katakana.
The first step to solving this problem is eliminating KATAKANA! There is no other way around it. After that, the next steps will start to become more obvious, and the other pieces will fall in to place.
Just speak Japanese , no need to speak English . ” Hello how are you “
Please !
The world runs on American English..
Only in your wet dreams, lol..
Language influences the culture, and culture influences the language.
Right-wingers in countries like China and Japan fear learning English to a proficient-level requires too much integration and will change their precious culture. To certain degree, they are correct. Whether that is a bad or good thing is subjective. Thus, Japan specifically isolates “foreigness” like Kanji and Katakana.
The first step to solving this problem is eliminating KATAKANA! There is no other way around it. After that, the next steps will start to become more obvious, and the other pieces will fall in to place.
The first step to solving this problem is eliminating KATAKANA! 
Along with the Japanese version of romaji as well. But both are just a pipe dream.
This is a Pen
How is it that everyone is missing this one important piece of info: Scoring will be conducted by the local staff of a company affiliated with Benesse in the Philippines.
This is not to say that there aren’t Filipinos that can speak English, Benesse knows that they are outsourcing to a minority group to save money. Americans, British, and Australians should be the ones conducting and checking the tests.
These parents may not be right in their protest, but if they listen to the test and there’s an accent that makes the language incomprehensible, then they will surely defeat the implementation of this test.
Only in your wet dreams, lol..
https://newsable.asianetnews.com/life/american-english-more
It’s well established.
While I applaud Japan for wanting to incorporate English into their education system, they do a poor job because they don’t hire qualified English teachers. It’s mind boggling to me that Japanese teachers who don’t really speak English but hold a Eiken 1st degree “outrank” ALT teachers who speak English.
I went off on my son’s school (principal, his English teacher and the head of the English dept) last year because the English teacher was terrible. He had been teaching at the school for years and the students didn’t know any better (neither did their parents). Unfortunate for him, English is my first language. The stuff he was teaching my son was ridiculous. For example, [ _____ a good day] should be “Have” but he told the class that it’s “Be.” He made unbelievable mistakes like that often. I tried to talk to him but he didn’t understand anything I said and the little he did understand, he couldn’t answer in a complete sentence in english. Lucky for my son (and all the students, if you ask me), this teacher transferred elsewhere.
If the hiring staff doesn’t speak English, the schools will most likely continue to hire unqualified English teachers.
I applaud the Japanese Metropolitan government for introducing a speaking test as part of the High School entrance pathway. Developing speaking skills is the most beneficial outcome of a learning a language. It creates connections and life opportunities.
Im a little dissapointed that they have outsourced the test to a private contractor. There is plenty of experience with language teaching methodology within Japan itself and within the Tokyo Metropolitan government. This includes within Tokyo itself at the Tokyo Foreign Language University where Professor Yukio Tono has been promoting a standards based approach to teaching, learning and assessing English language. I’m sure he could have consulted for the Tokyo Metro government and they could have designed an in-house test that would have guaranteed fairness.
These standards are based on world class teaching methodology and you will note in the link below a clear focus on understanding-listening and speaking.
https://tufspods.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/cefr-j-english-version.pdf
I have set in on a few of his professional development sessions and he knows his pedagogy.
The only other observation I make is that it should not be compulsory, but an elective where students who wish to go in certain directions in their life or apply to certain schools would sit the test. If you want to technical high school, taking an English speaking test is not relevant to your future life goals.
Has anyone had positive dealings with the cute little tiger?
Asking for many friends.
I would like to be positive over this, however I am not.
The Japanese view upon Education is more focused upon rule following, rather than Education in itself.
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