• Macedon, Australia

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Regarding the July 26 article “65% of universities are setting academic bar lower for freshmen“: Great article! I think anyone who teaches English here, as I have been doing for the past two years, will tell you that the number of teaching hours is not the problem. It’s the style of education. As it is, most teachers stay around the office for a good four to five hours after school.

First of all, we have teachers who don’t seem to understand the subject matter themselves. They don’t do things to keep up their knowledge. In America, for example, teachers are required to attend functions in their field to stay on top of the latest developments. In Japan, they force-feed children facts that they don’t even understand.

Homework is pointless busywork. It doesn’t enrich students or give them good practice with the subject matter. One teacher I worked with had students copy the textbook word for word over summer vacation! Students are sometimes out of control and violent. It’s as if teachers have completely given up on the students and themselves. The problems the schools are having are related to Japanese culture, and they won’t be fixed unless Japanese people are willing to change.

brett smith

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