The Greenlist of English Schools in Japan

Thoughts and Opinions on Teaching English in Japan, plus many lists of good schools in Japan at our homepage. You can post your resume or job for free too. Check out the homepage!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Japan & her Standardized Test Based Education System

Japan & her Standardized Test Based Education System

by Kevin Burns

For some positives in Japanese education, one need look no further than the local

kindergarten or the local elementary school. For everything other than English education,

they are doing a good to great job of educating the children of Japan. Classes are

creative, teachers are caring on the whole, and students are happy and learning.

Were the whole education system to be like this from kindergarten to the end of university,

the Japanese people would be happier, healthier, and more productive, both in GDP

and creative terms.

Unfortunately this all ends at age twelve. Those are the years that exam hell starts and

students never really recover. The standardized test based education system of Japan that

starts in the junior high school years kills any kind of initiative, creativity and especially

thinking outside of the box. Unfortunately, these last three are what Japan especially needs in the 21st century; perhaps Japan`s most challenging 100 years yet.

For many years now Japan has employed this test based education system and passing

the all important tests is what educators and students—not to mention parents, are focused on. The result of all this test taking and stress, is a nation of order takers who have

trouble making decisions, let alone stating an opinion.

Don`t believe me? When you next meet a Japanese, just for fun, ask them their opinion on something. If they are able to give an opinion then do this: Ask them why?

Why do they feel that way? In many cases, they will be stumped.

In spite of this standardized test hell that most Japanese find themselves in during their

school years, a few would be Michael Angelos manage to slip through. Most however

have their creative thoughts stripped from them or numbed into oblivion.

Recently, one of my bright, light students returned from North America to once

again study at his old university. He was shocked at the passivity of the students. He

hadn`t realized how passive, non-responsive, and void of opinions Japanese university

students were.

He said that in America, he studied with students from all over the world and he

enjoyed hearing and expressing his opinion with others. He couldn`t understand how

the students of Japan were so passive and quiet. He expressed the desire to go back to

America as soon as possible to study there. Many Japanese who have lived abroad

have said the same thing.

In the news, Japan`s prime minister Hatoyama has been dubbed “loopy,” by the

American press and his lack of decision making on the Okinawa bases issue. Once he

made a decision, he then turned around and reneged on it, and apologized to Okinawans

for his backslide. The lack of decision making ability is not restricted to the general

populace, it occurs in all ranks of Japanese society. Hatoyama of course is a product

of this education system.

It is not only the students who are having a difficult time, the teachers are too. Many

have to be off work due to stress, the stress of having their students do well on the test. Many teachers teach to the test, in order to keep their jobs, but they create a life of

drudgery for their pupils. Many Japanese seem to have lost their love for education and learning once they enroll in junior high school. Indeed too much test taking may result in shallow learning and a negative feeling towards


For the future, Japan needs to ask herself:

Are we creating the people we need to solve the problems of the future?

If the answer is: No!

Then this is a recipe for disaster.

I feel that Japan needs creative thinkers, people who can think outside of the box. These will be the people who will solve Japan`s problems of immigration, an aging population,

unemployment, off-shore employment, trade, and of course the environment. However,

perhaps the most pressing problem is the psychological health of her citizens.

For this latter, and the other problems mentioned above, I think there are valuable lessons held in kindergarten.

For more on teaching English in Japan visit our homepage.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

ETJ Events around Japan

Oxford University Press / David English House

ETJ One-day Certificate Course
in Teaching Japanese Students

(for teachers of teenagers and adults)
Important: This is the last chance to take this course

June 20 - Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo

June 27 - Seifu High School, Osaka

Training sessions
Rob Waring: Reading skills - methods and applications
Alastair Graham-Marr: Teaching skills for listening and speaking
Mike Guest: Testing and evaluation
David Paul: Personal construct psychology and its implications in the classroom

E-mail Rie Totomi to reserve a place
(The application website will be up and running very soon)

See also:


CHIBA -- May 23 (Sun) 13:30-16:30
My Share for Picture Books, Songs and Chants
Speaker(s): various
Chiba ETJ

KYOTO -- May 23 (Sun) 15:10-17:00
Elements in Fun and Effective Activities
Speaker(s): Chuck Kayser
Kyoto ETJ

AICHI -- May 30 (Sun) 10:00-12:00
1) Engaging Junior High Students with Cooperative Learning
Activities; 2) American Values, Human Values, and Teaching English
Speaker(s): 1) Ben Backwell; 2) Peter Warner
Aichi ETJ

Apr 17

NAGASAKI -- April 17 (Sat) 14:00-16:00
Jokes and Cartoons in the EFL Classroom.
Speaker(s): Richard Hodson, University of Nagasaki, Siebold
Nagasaki JALT

May 22-23

SUITA, Osaka -- May 22 (Sat)
The 9th Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference 2010 - Learner Perspectives
Speaker(s): Call for papers deadline is Feb 15, 2010

May 22

OKAYAMA -- May 22 (Sat) 15:00-17:00
Self-Access Language Learning as Classroom-Based Instruction
Speaker(s): Garold Murray
Okayama JALT

May 23

OITA -- May 23 (Sun) 10:00-16:00
Oita English Language Teacher Training Seminar 2010
Speaker(s): Kazuya Yamamoto, Ed Kellerman, Etsuko Minami, Simon
Goddard Weedon, Neil Millington, Todd Beukens, Colin Thompson

CHIBA -- May 23 (Sun) 13:30-16:30
My Share for Picture Books, Songs and Chants
Speaker(s): various
Chiba ETJ

KYOTO -- May 23 (Sun) 15:10-17:00
Elements in Fun and Effective Activities
Speaker(s): Chuck Kayser
Kyoto ETJ

May 26

TOKYO -- May 26 (Wed) 18:00-20:30
Shifting Paradigms in Online Language Learning: The Link between
Technology and Organizational Culture
Speaker(s): Larry Davies (ABD), St. Thomas University
West Tokyo JALT

May 27

TOKYO -- May 27 (Thu) 10:30-12:30
Online Workshop, Motivating Children with Graded Readers
Speaker(s): Yuco Kikuchi
English Teaching Workshop

May 28-30

KYOTO -- May 28 (Fri) 18:00-20:15
Pre-Conference Workshops for JALTCALL 2010
Speaker(s): Bill Pellowe, Daniel Beck

May 29

NIIGATA -- May 29 (Sat) 10:00-17:00
The 2nd Annual North East Asian Region (N.E.A.R.) Language Education Conference
Speaker(s): Various speakers (Keynote speaker Joseph Shaules)
Niigata JALT

May 29-30

KOCHI -- May 29 (Sat) 13:00-17:30
1st Annual Shikoku JALT Regional Conference
Speaker(s): Featured speakers Ian Isemonger, Masahiro Nagasaki and Harry Carley
East Shikoku JALT

May 30

AICHI -- May 30 (Sun) 10:00-12:00
1) Engaging Junior High Students with Cooperative Learning
Activities; 2) American Values, Human Values, and Teaching English
Speaker(s): 1) Ben Backwell; 2) Peter Warner
Aichi ETJ

TOKYO -- May 30 (Sun) 10:00-20:00
ECAP (ELT Career and Professional Development Conference) 2010
Speaker(s): William Snyder, Columbia University Teacher's College;
Masaki Kobayashi, Kanda Gaigo University; Chuck Sandy, Chubu

MITO, Ibaraki -- May 30 (Sun) 12:30-17:00
Creativity in the Classroom (four presentations)
Speaker(s): Tomoka Kaneko, Tim Murphey, Atsushi Iida, and Samuel Nfor
Ibaraki JALT

MORIOKA, Iwate -- May 30 (Sun) 13:30-16:30
Understanding Students' Non-Verbal Behavior: What does that silence
mean, anyway?
Speaker(s): Peter Ross
Iwate JALT

Jun 5

TOKYO -- June 5 (Sat) 9:00-17:00
JALT Business English SIG Inaugural Mini-Conference
Speaker(s): To be decided
Business English JALT

Jun 11

NAGASAKI -- June 11 (Fri) 19:00-21:00
Dinner with Canadian author Joy Kogawa in Nagasaki
Speaker(s): Joy Kogawa
Nagasaki JALT

Jun 12

OITA -- June 12 (Sat) 13:00-15:00
Let's Personalize it
Speaker(s): Brian Cullen and Greg Goodmacher

KITAKYUSHU, Fukuoka -- June 12 (Sat) 18:30-20:00
How and Why to Improve Reading Speed
Speaker(s): Ken Gibson
Kitakyushu JALT

Jun 13

MAEBASHI, Gunma -- June 13 (Sun) 14:00-16:30
Using Literature Circles in a Content-Based Course
Speaker(s): David Williams
Gunma JALT

MATSUYAMA, Ehime -- June 13 (Sun) 14:15-16:20
(1) Reflections on Disagreements; (2) Creative Questioning: Puzzles
for Pattern Practice
Speaker(s): (1) Carol Rinnert, Hiroshima City University; (2) Simon
Capper, The Japanese Red Cross Hiroshima College of Nursing
Matsuyama JALT

Jun 19

NAGASAKI -- June 19 (Sat) 14:00-16:00
Questionnaire Development Workshop: What should be done BEFORE asking
students to fill them out?
Speaker(s): Keita Kikuchi, Tokai University
Nagasaki JALT

OKAYAMA -- June 19 (Sat) 15:00-17:00
Practical Business English for Lower Level Learners
Speaker(s): Grant Trew
Okayama JALT

KOBE, Hyogo -- June 19 (Sat) 16:00-18:00
Examining Learner Autonomy Dimensions
Speaker(s): Jonathan Aliponga (Kansai University of International
Studies, Craig Gamble (Kansai Gaida), Yasuko Koshiyama (Kansai
University of International Studies), Keiko Yoshida (Kobe Gaidai)

GIFU -- June 19 (Sat) 19:00-21:00
Designing and Implementing Discipline-Specific Projects to Motivate Non-Majors
Speaker(s): Paul Moritoshi, Himeji Dokkyo University

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Need a Teaching Position in Japan?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Homepage

I have been updating the Homepage all over the place. It is now well over 200 pages!
So it is one of the biggest sites about teaching english in Japan. There are many lists of
English schools too, so check it out!

How to Teach English in Japan

(Pictured: The Canadian branch of my
family and I in Hawaii. One of the perks of teaching is having the time and money for travel!)

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