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!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Regarding Yukio Tsuda & English Education in Asia

 We published a four part article debating with comments by Japanese university professor
Yukio Tsuda, and here is Paul Canosa`s take on English education in
Japan, Yukio Tsuda and his experiences of speaking English in southeast Asia on a
recent vacation:

Canosa writes:

Hi all, hope everyone had a happy and healthy vacation

I just returned from a trip to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and
throughout the trip people there conversed with me in English. Only once did
someone say that they "couldn't" speak English. They went ahead and tried their
best, and you know what ? it was good enough !

I heard some of the following

"you want pancake ?"
"where you go ?"
"you lost ?"
"where you are from ?"
"you like cambodia ?"
"baht is good yeh"
"irashai, how you ?"
"what time you go ?"

all these examples would be marked as wrong on any written test but in fact
these are perfectly fine examples of functional English. It was understood, and
we had a fantastic time, especially my Japanese wife who marveled at how south
Asian people just try to use English.

We returned to Haneda and there was almost zero English. Imagine all the time
and money spent on English education here in Japan, yet the airport at Siem Reap
Cambodia had more functional English than Haneda. I do not mean to smear the
many wonderful English speakers who work at the airport, but it was an eye
opener for sure !

I am coming to the conclusion that English in Japan is an educational system
problem, with a cultural issue added on for added measure. The Japanese have to
take a good luck at their current system and continue to make reforms. Slow and
steady is better than none I say.

Tests and homework do not reward the spoken language (at least in my opinion)
and simply force students to spend more time in the books to improve their
"grammar" scores. If students do homework in my class we then read it aloud, I
also encourage all students to read aloud in the mirror, in the bathtub and with
their eyes closed. The more you speak the better you become right ?

so with all due respect to Professor Tsuda (whose degrees and experience trump
mine) I disagree completely. However to each his or her own. Viva la diference !

paul canosa in shizuoka city