The University of Tokyo seeks to improve the quality of teaching methods at Japanese universities by introducing a new course for graduate students. This seemingly small but potentially important new direction marks a shift in priorities from research skills to teaching ability.

For too long, the quality of classroom instruction at Japanese universities has been insufficient, with students bored by teachers who know how to research and publish but do not know how to communicate well in the classroom.

The initiative by the University of Tokyo is highly welcome, especially for undergraduate students who must learn from lecturers with little or no training in classroom techniques, learning theory or educational psychology. Investing time and effort into learning how classrooms work better will improve university education tremendously.