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Teaching harder in Japan than here 2009/10/8 10:44
I was told when you go over to Japan to teach English, you are not required to know Japanese because you do not use Japanese in the classroom - you only use English.

Here in America, I have taken quite a few language classes (French, Spanish, and Japanese). In every class the teacher (who was a native of the language) was very skilled in speaking English as well as their native language. In the beginning most of the classes were conducted in English, it was only towards the end where the teacher and the students only spoke in the foreign language.

I imagine teaching in English in Japan is a lot harder because the students do not know English that well making it a lot more difficult for them to catch on where as here in America the teacher is expected to teach in English first.

I'm not exactly sure how to word this, so sorry if it makes no sense. And I may be wrong in saying that the students don't know much English. I am thinking junior high school students - do they already know English?

Does anyone understand what I mean?
by Sade (guest)  

team-teaching 2009/10/8 13:42
Sade, people who teach in junior high schools in Japan usually "team teach" with a Japanese teacher of English. The Japanese teacher does any necessary explanations in Japanese, and the English speaker may model correct pronunciation etc. They are almost never by themselves in a classroom. Does this go some way to answering your question?
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

From my experience 2009/10/8 18:05
Having attended Japanese school as a exchange student in their junior high school and high school, Japanese junior high students will have a difficulty conversing with U.S. first graders. Even if Japanese student continue with English learning from junior high to college, he/she would be about 9th grade level in English comprehensions if at that.

[You are absolutely correct that U.S. educational system better meet the needs of students in the bilingual educating versus
Japan by hiring teachers that are native to the language they are to teach and is bilingual.]

Japan educational system has transformed itself from, sending student abroad to learn English and making then an English teacher upon returning to Japan - and Japan have been proactive by hiring foreigners from the English speaking country. Nonetheless hiring a foreigners lacking the skills in the Japanese language further impede student's from fully grasping the English language. Good example is - here at Stanford we have many Japanese students - in my weekly meeting with them their biggest complaints are their inability to fully grasp the meaning of the sentence (reading) or in structuring the proper sentence (answering or speaking). Inability to fully discern and to comprehend foreign language is a common anomaly facing all foreigners because it's not their native tongue.

I believe you can relate to this. Therefore, if your future plans are to teach an English in Japan, I recommend your Japanese ability is up-to par with students in your class.

by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

Thank you!! 2009/10/8 22:07
Thank you Sira and Stanfordgal!!

It is nice to know there is another teacher there who is Japanese who can help! I am planning on taking Japanese courses along with my major in ESL. So if teaching, if I feel that I could help the students understand better by talking in Japanese to explain some thing - would that be okay? Or would that be left up to the other teacher who speaks native Japanese?
by Sade (guest) rate this post as useful

English in the classroom 2009/10/9 06:17
In many cases you will be told to only ever speak in English in the classroom- it depends on the school and the JTE (Japanese teacher of English) though.

For communicating with people outside the classroom though, Japanese skills are invaluable. Have you also looked at teaching English conversation in private language schools etc? Teaching in elementary schools, high schools etc is not the only job option for English teachers in Japan.

Also have a look at sites like www.eslcafe.com or just do a search on "teaching in Japan" and you will find that there is a huge amount of info on this topic on the internet.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Hello Sira :) 2009/10/9 06:27
That's what I thought is that some times you are not allowed to speak Japanese.. I think some times explaining things about English in the student's native language would be helpful though.. But if it is against the rules, I would not do it.

I did think about teaching those younger than high school. I am planning to teach with the JET programme first though which I believe is only teaching high school. After my year or two is done with JET, I would like to teach young children. I think it would be fun, but I heard teaching young children in private schools is hard because there is not many job openings..

Thank you for the link, I will definitely look at it!!
by Sade (guest) rate this post as useful

JET Program 2009/10/9 08:53
Sade, hi there

No, the JET program foreigners don't teach only high school students. You can be sent to junior high school (and most definitely you will) and even elementary schools with the new attempt / approach of the Japanese Government to teach English to younger children.

And, YES, becoming a language teacher over here can be pretty difficult with many people who want to teach and few who want to learn.

But it is always worth a try. Check out the official JET homepage as well as the URLs of private language schools, that should be a start.
by kulachan rate this post as useful

Stepping stone 2009/10/9 08:59
As all career, never rush, do your utmost to be a integral member of their team. Experience is invaluable assets.Your devotions, dedications, and affinity to teach will open many more opportunities..., that will come to those that do not expect but are well qualified. Therefore since you are a foreigner in a unique and totally polar opposite culture - learn and accept their system first, then in a timely fashion, with subtlety suggest to your teaching partner "may I try" will convey your interest.
by stanfordgal rate this post as useful

not only kids 2009/10/9 09:18
Sade, at private language schools many of the students are adults- I taught English here for a long time and only ever taught adults. Many of them were old enough to be my grandparents. All age groups in Japan learn English.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Thank you everyone! 2009/10/9 21:52
You were all very helpful! And I am willing to teach English to any age, but I am very interested in working with children at some point! I think it would be very fun! But like I said I am very excited to teach in general! :) And I am glad to hear that JET teaches more than just high school!

Thank you Stanfordgal! I know what you mean. I must be patient and I will be. I think teaching even just in English will be fun! And as time goes, if I am also allowed to teach in Japanese that would be great! I am really just so excited to do this at all! I know I will be teaching - but I think I will also be learning SO much from the students and all the other people I meet as well! :)

I wonder seeing as how not many even want to learn English (at least I keep reading the junior high to high school kids aren't excited about it) - how to keep their attention and make them excited? Hmm..
by Sade (guest) rate this post as useful

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