My Impression on “Japan going the wrong way in English-education reform” by Sawa Takamatsu

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Reading Practice

I have read the article on the Japan times today.  I feel my English reading skill has been improving since I started studying for TOEIC test.  It took about fifteen minutes to read this article and I do not feel much stressed.  I do not think I used to read that fast with comprehension. 

I did not know the author, Dr. Takamatsu Sawa.  I googled him and found that he was a former President of Shiga University.  He wrote his English learning history and it was quite interesting for me to read.  In conclusion, he opposes new English education, with more English classes to younger students, but what difference is, he is against “new” system and he said previous one is better, for four reasons.  I would like to write three of his points.

Japan going the wrong way in English-education reform
English-language education in Japanese schools should focus on reading and writing rather than conversation to build a strong foundation.

Students have more things to learn

Surely, to have English classes, some the number of other classes have to be reduced.  He said young students should learn more important subjects than English, though he did not point out what they are exactly.  I personally agree with him.  Just conversation level of English is not enough and students should learn how to think logically.  Just saying words and phrases are okay at first, but to communicate with people all over the world truly, we should think deep enough.  I mean what to talk is more important that how to talk.  In that sense, children should learn more subjects than English “conversation”.

Reading and listening is more important?

I felt this point is “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”  He said if a Japanese person have really high reading and writing skills, they will eventually get sufficient speaking and listening skills when they have chances to stay abroad.  I think this should be true, but not the best way.  It is often said in SLA that “Older is faster and younger is better.”  Since adult learners can use their learning experience and knowledge, they can improve their speaking and listening skills fast.  What we should consider, however, is that those people will still be struggled with conversation skills by the time they have gain those skills.  I personally think it is positive for people if they do not have to suffer from the “skill gap.”

Google translate will change the world

Thinking of this is a bit scary for me but we should think.  Do we can give enough worth to children through English classes even in the future?  These days, I often get surprised how accurate Google Translate is.  Actually, Japanese version of my blog is translated by Google.  Though I have to fix small weird parts, it is very good.  In the future, ordinally we might not have to learn other languages to communicate.  Still, I believe that for accurate communications or as human beings, we need some foreign language skills.  Language teachers should aware of significant power of translation.  



今日はジャパンタイムズの記事を読みました。 TOEICテストの勉強を始めてから、英語の読解力が向上していると感じています。この記事を読むのに約15分かかりましたが、あまりストレスを感じません。私は以前はそれほど速く読んでいたとは思いません。





この点は「鶏が先か卵が先か」ということだと感じました。彼は、日本人が本当に高い読み書き能力を持っていれば、海外に滞在する機会があれば、最終的には十分なスピーキングとリスニングのスキルを身につけるだろうと語っています。これは本当のはずですが、最善の方法ではないと思います。 SLAでは、「古いほど速く、若いほど良い」とよく言われます。大人の学習者は学習経験と知識を活用できるため、スピーキングとリスニングのスキルをすばやく向上させることができます。しかし、私たちが考慮しなければならないのは、それらの人々は、それらのスキルを習得するまでに、会話スキルにまだ苦労しているということです。個人的には、「スキルギャップ」に悩まされる必要がなければ、ポジティブだと思います。




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