Japanese elementary school teachers lack confidence in teaching English

February 22nd, 2011By Category: Teaching in Japan

Coming in just as Japan starts expanding English language education in the nation’s schools – a recent survey has found that the majority of elementary school teachers who are about to start teaching English this April lack confidence in teaching the subject and feel burdened by it.

The survey of teachers conducted by Benesse Educational Research & Development Center showed that 68% were not confident about teaching English and 62% felt it to be a burden.

The results indicate inadequate training, with the center describing the development of teaching materials and other preparations as ‘‘insufficient.’

The survey, conducted between July and August, covered 8,000 randomly selected public elementary schools, with a total of 2,326 teachers in charge of fifth or sixth grade classes providing valid responses.

Of the respondents, 81% said their current English classes are going well, but those who said they were confident about teaching the subject remained low at 32%. Twelve percent said they were not confident, while 56% said they did not have much confidence.

Sixty-two percent described teaching English as a burden and 73% thought it would be better if teachers who specialize in English gave lessons.

Schools devoted an average of 6.8 hours on training teachers for English classes between April 2009 and last summer, but 20% of respondents said they had received no training, the survey showed.


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