Regarding L. Zoller’s July 11th letter, “Strange texts for learning English“: I fully agree with the comments made about the textbooks approved for Japan’s elementary schools. I am a voluntary English teacher for the sixth grade and I read the same textbooks. I was horrified at the standards of the book, which contain many errors as well as a strange way of speaking English. Perhaps a robot wrote the book.
How could the government have approved these pathetic books? They will not help students achieve any level of proficiency. Luckily, as a volunteer teacher, I am not bound by the rules, and I choose not to use these books in my classrooms.
When will the government wake up and raise the teaching standards? I feel that the government should set up English-language training centers for teachers in every prefecture and staff them with the best English teachers from around the world. The current Assistant Language Teacher system is not working because ALTs are not trained teachers and they are bound by the strictures of the system. They have little freedom to improvise their teaching methods.
Furthermore, English should start at the kindergarten level — not in elementary school. Children can easily learn two languages from an early age. Adults are stopping them from attaining proficiency. I can see the eagerness to learn in 4-year-old kids at several kindergartens where I teach.
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