Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Big Joke??

Thanks to Matt Akamatsu for sending me this blogpost from a former ESL teacher in Japan and long-term Japanese Resident. It doesn't exactly sum up my experience, but I think it gets at some of the tension we foreign teachers encounter as we attempt to teach English. Should we do our best to make our students the best English speakers possible, even if it requires us to make class no fun? Or should we try to make class fun so that they will be more interested in English in general at the expense of building a more solid linguistic foundation?

And if you think it's possible to do both at once, please let me know because I sure need the help.

Nick Ramsay on October 3rd, 2006

You’ve got two kinds of schools in Japan, the English Conversation eikaiwa schools, and juku, or cram schools. Eikaiwa are where the foreigners like myself teach, while juku are heads down, study, study, study, Japanese teacher-led classes. Although English lessons at juku focus soley on reading and writing English, I always thought that eikaiwa were equally important for learning communication. Now, though, I’m changing my mind…

After disciplining one of my elementary school students for atrocious behaviour, his mother kicked up at an enormous fuss.

“This isn’t a school!”, she said. “We don’t pay this money for you to discipline our children! They come here to have fun! If I wanted my child to learn English then I’d send him to juku!”

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