Japan has been going through a period of major reforms in English language education over the past two decades with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) attempting to promote the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodology. …
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Culture and innovation 3 2.1 Definition of culture 3 2.2 Cultural influence on innovation 4 3. Own teaching situation 6 3.1 Classroom culture in Japan: realities in the classroom 6 3.2 MEXT's Top-down drastic reforms 7 4. Importance of considering culture and the need for innovation 7 4.1 Importance of culture for ELT innovation in Japanese secondary English education 8 4.2 Why Japan needs such a drastic innovation in English education 8 5. Suggestions for successful implementation of ELT innovation in Japan 8 5.1 Milder implementation of CLT 9 5.2 Adaptation not adoption 9 5.3 Intercultural competency 10 5.4 Reformation of yakudoku 10 6. Conclusion 11 References 12 Appendix 14 List of Figures Figure 1: Resistance to culturally incompatible ELT innovations 4 List of Tables Table 1: High and low context cultures 5 Abbreviations used ALT Assistant Language Teacher CLT Communicative Language Teaching ELT English Language Training ESL English as a Second Language JET Japanese Exchange and Teaching (Programme) JTE Japanese Teacher of English MEXT Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (of Japan) 1. Introduction Japan has been going through a period of major reforms in English language education over the past two decades with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) attempting to promote the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodology. ...
In the 1989 guidelines, it was declared that the development of students' communicative abilities in English was to become the focus of English language education in Japan (MEXT, 1989). The latest reforms in 2008 introduced more drastic reforms favouring the adoption of CLT and instructing Japanese teachers to teach English by using only English in class. This innovation is set to be implemented in senior high schools in April 2013 (MEXT, 2008). CLT is now widely accepted as a dominant methodology in second/foreign language teaching in the West. But when imported into non-Western countries such as Japan, it has caused confusion and led to resistance by teachers and students alike. As with many other East Asian countries, Japan now faces a big challenge in implementing CLT in actual classrooms (Littlewood, 2007). White (1995: 118) asserted that if innovators take the beliefs, values and history of the surrounding culture into deeper consideration then the positive innovation they propose can usually stand a better chance at long-term acceptance. The discussion of the significance of culture in implementing innovation in English language education in this paper begins with defining culture and describing the characteristics of Japanese culture using the high-low context culture framework developed by Hall (1976). The writer's own teaching experience at a senior high school English class in Japan is then described to provide insight into classroom realities in Japan and the impact of MEXT's reforms. This is followed by an analysis of the cultural influence on innovation and a discussion of how and why culture is an important consideration in English language education in Japan. It is hoped that the suggestions made thereafter will
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42 Pages(10500 words)Dissertation
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