This month all fifth- and sixth-graders start experiencing English education. Takahiro Fukada’s Feb. 26 article, “Are schools ready for English?,” truthfully depicts the dire situation at hand. The education ministry is fully responsible for the mess and insufficient preparation of teachers. Nothing has been done to this day in spite of warnings from various respectable education professionals, including resident assistant language teachers (ALTs).
I urge all elementary teachers to be calm and to prepare as best they can under the differing circumstances they may experience. If you lack the native English-speaking resources available from ALTs, think “Globish” with confidence! Globish is the new globalized lingua franca for communication between nonnative English speakers of different nationalities. It is used on the Internet. It is simplified English without grammar, sentence structure or standard pronunciation, and it is absolutely comprehensible and useful.
At the same time, I suggest making an effort to find voluntary or cooperative competent English-speaking Japanese or natives in the nearby community or neighborhood and hold constant English conversation jam sessions as much as possible after school. Get used to an English conversation environment, including correct pronunciation. (Of course, some teachers may have to gain the understanding, cooperation and support of the local municipal education board, which sometimes acts like spoiled bureaucrats.)
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