Teaching English in Japan is unlike the usual style of teaching I experienced in England. Not only does this country offer amazing natural sites as well as historical architecture, you will also be involved in a rich culture with amazing customs.
English of Japanese Students
Having previous experience teaching foreign students in England, allowed me to acquire the skills, styles and knowledge needed for teaching English as a foreign language in Japan. Learning about the educational system in Japan and how students are required to study the English language for three years in junior high school and for another three years in senior high school, it has still shown that this system, has not been as successful. While the English language classes are mandatory, the percentage of students who develop English abilities is drastically low. After already spending 9 months in Japan, I have already realised the importance in understanding the fundamental need to change the way English is studied and taught to Japanese students.
Importance of Native English Teachers
Although Japan has strong relationships with English speaking countries, they lack the opportunities to immerse themselves in conversations with Native English speakers due to the geographical distance between them. This is why I think it is vital that Native English teachers abroad have the opportunity to teach in Japan. They can offer an enriched environment, which not only focuses on the grammatical side to learning the English language, but also offers an audio-lingual method whereby simply teaching English through continuous speech and repetitive games ensures the English language becomes habitual.
What I care about
I care about the way in which I teach the English language to my Japanese students, in order for them to have a successful outcome. I think it is essential for Japanese students to experience different teaching styles, compared to the standard English curriculum they place in schools. I care about making my lessons fun, practical, and entertaining as I feel students have a better understanding of the spoken and written language. They are able to retain the English language better in their memory when the lesson is enjoyable and stimulating.
Furthermore, it is important to ensure that your Japanese students understand the benefits of learning the English language. Retaining stronger English-speaking skills, will enable students to travel the world building relationships with foreigners and facilitating future partnerships with foreigners and foreign establishments. There are also many ways and methods for students to become fluent in the English language, such as through TV shows, social media, movies, books, games and the use of the internet. The current education system exposes your students to the notion that English is a subject that you have to study, rather than a language that can also be learnt outside of the classroom, which they may find more practical, beneficial, and fun. An enthusiastic approach to studying a new language is much better for students at all levels, as they are more likely to engage with learning the language.
Putting yourself in your student’s shoes, will give you a better perspective of how and why you would want to learn a new language, this also shows that you care about how student’s will comprehend the lesson style. I found that classes should consist of interesting and useful topics for all students. If students are unable to connect to the lesson with their own person lives, the learning process can be obstructed. For example, when teaching University student’s in Japan, it becomes clear through the lessons, that they adapt well to lessons which discuss; travel, different cultures, entertainment, music, hobbies and global issues. This will further enhance the student’s interests and increase the chances of them participating in the lesson. Many student’s will discuss their dreams to visit different countries or study abroad, which is why they are keen on learning and studying the English Language. Many want a successful outcome because of this, so it is important to incorporate the above factors into your lessons.
Reminding your students through your actions, that you don’t just care about their education, but you also care about them as people, is when student’s will feel that you are in invested in their whole person, so they are more likely to invest in themselves. Taking an interest in their lives outside of an academic environment, allows them to feel heard, valued and cared about. It shows that you as an English Teacher are genuinely devoted to them and their future successes. Building your student’s belief in themselves, will enable them to master their own learning.
My view of teaching Japanese students, centers around understanding why they care about learning the English language, what they want to achieve from the lessons and how I can help towards achieving their language goals. However, as a Native English speaker and a teacher, it is important to assist Japanese students throughout their learning process in a positive and consistent manner.
Click on the links below for useful ‘Tips and Tricks’, as well as resources on how to become a successful English Teacher in Japan: