• Eureka, Calif.


Thank you for the April 10 editorial “Ready for English“: With all due respect, I would like to offer a few thoughts.

I have worked three years as a business English tutor for a communications firm in Tokyo, and I am a TOEFL exam rater. Previously, I worked in Phnom Penh and provided private lessons at the Japanese Embassy. Also, I tutored Japanese students attending Eton College in Britain. With this background, combined with the fact that I have never been to Japan, my perspective might be of interest to Japanese readers.

First of all, it should be understood that a high percentage of American high school graduates would perform very poorly on exams such as TOEFL. That might seem hard to believe until you consider all the reports about the failing educational system in the United States. I think the reports are true.

Japanese students should NOT be emotionally brutalized. Since fifth- and sixth-grade teachers in Japanese schools cannot be expected to understand the complex nuances of English — when many native English speakers also have problems with grammar, usage, etc. — these teachers should know better than to act as if they understand that which they do not.

Students will see through this and become estranged from English study.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

scott zagoria

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