I would like to respond to Brett Gross’ Dec. 13 letter, “A dangerous notion if widespread,” and to Alexander Ross’ Dec. 13 letter, “Narrower vs. broader view of study.” I understand their point (that Japanese people should learn English for more than just reading texts and writing exams). But I wonder how well they understand the English education system in Japan. Their arguments don’t show that they do; besides, their tone is bossy.
Again, as a university student I went through the Japanese English education system, so I think I know something about it. I see the problem and it is with the Education Ministry, which tries out this and that new idea in English education while doing nothing to systematize English education from primary school through university. If the ministry had done so, maybe we wouldn’t be arguing in the first place.
Japanese English education, for better or worse, is what it is, and until the ministry decides on a plan of English education that bridges all grade levels, it will remain what it is. Say what you want about language learning, but students won’t learn English until they recognize the need.