Results tagged “japan”
According to this article in Elt News, Berlitz in Japan has seen 40% of its teachers become unavailable since the earthquake and tsunami in March, and is looking to change its provision through online lessons.
I have been taking a Japanese course that is taught through the direct method or the audio-lingual method. We spend our time on decontextualised drills focusing on a grammatical or lexical item, building up sentences of increasing complexity and surreality.
When I was living in Japan, it was virtually impossible to avoid Nova advertising; they were all over the subway, in my newspaper and on TV. For the last few months, the company, the largest of the eikaiwa schools in Japan, has been in free-fall, ever since they got into trouble over their refund policies. The company now seems to be in its death throes.
An extremely lengthy thread about Mark Smith and Smith's School of English, Japan on the AACircle ESL Blacklist was closed by the administrator on the grounds that he had seen 'indisputable documentary evidence' that Mr Smith was innocent of all the accusations made against him.
In a BBC online article about the need to promote non-European languages in British schools, Dr Anderson of Goldsmiths College is quoted as follows:
It's a question of status - the message has been that these languages are less important. We need to get to a point where we don't think in terms of foreign languages and community languages, where there isn't this sense of a hierarchy of languages, where all forms of language learning are valued.
In an interview on ELTNews on a recent visit to Japan, Professor Henry Widdowson says that the most obvious example of a conceptually flawed theory in ESL teaching is "the current precept that English teachers must only use real or authentic English in their teaching that is to say the English that naturally occurs in the contexts of native speaker use. This directive comes from corpus linguistics and as such has no necessary pedagogic validity whatever."
The toilet in my hotel in Kyoto had the following warning:
When you sit on the seat the cold water automatically flow. Wait for the 'off' lamp to wash.
When you get on the seat 'standby' lamp starts flashing. If you press button upon seating you may have cold water spray.
English as an International Language (EIL) is being debated quite a lot at the moment. The idea sounds fine to me in many ways- most interactions in English nowadays are between non-native speakers, so we should focus on international communication rather than solely attempting to teach learners to strive towards native speaker competence. The idea of familiarising students with the Englishes used by people from other nations and cultures makes sense as that is what most will have to do when they use their English in their lives.
The first bombs in London happened when I was in Tokyo. The webmaster of this site was at King's Cross when one of the bombs went off, and watching his video footage on the BBC website was very strange, given the close ties he and I have.
A student contacted me about the phrase 'quantum leap', which she had seen in a text she was reading at work. Her sense told her it meant a big step, but her dictionary only told her that quantum was the smallest discrete quantity of a physical property. She had run into a dreaded contranym.
I have been in Japan for a few days. While I was in Cambodia, I remained completely illiterate, but in Japan I have managed to read a word. In Cambodia, there was a lot more English used in signs, so I managed to get by without bothering about the script. Here, there is quite a lot of English used, but to a lesser extent.
I recently came across the MissionFinder.org website and saw adverts to 'Use ESL to help plant churches among unreached Muslim peoples.' I found this rice missionary approach a little troubling; I see no reason to see a culture and religion as rich as Islam as 'unreached' and worry about the idea of abusing ESL in this way. Missionaries masquerading, as ESL teachers are nothing new; Mormons, generally honest about their intentions, and evangelical Christians, among others, poured into post-war Japan offering English lessons, while trying to make converts, and South Korea was also targeted. Little headway was made in Japan, but South Korea has a huge evangelical Christian population. Now they are heading for 'unreached' Muslim countries as well as refugees in the USA and other western countries.
I am taking lessons in Khmer. Twice a week I go for my classes in a classroom that is literally in the shadow of the Toul Sleng genocide museum, also known as S-21, the school turned into a notorious prison where thousands were tortured before being executed in Choeung Ek, the Killing Fields of the Democratic Kampuchea regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
A couple of days ago I switched the TV over to a Japanese channel and watched a bit of a news programme. My comprehension is so low that I can only try to pick out a few words that I can recognise. This time I managed three: yes, man and a word indicating a question. This was still better than the nature programme I had tried earlier where I had recognised squirrel and a Japanese love bird, whose English name I don't know. At this rate it will take the rest of my life to understand a simple news bulletin.
The list of the most valuable words for Google Adsense makes for interesting reading. The list is full of obvious terms, money dominates the top part, ahead of sex, with a smattering of diet pill terms. However, the top ten is full of terms related to cancer caused by contact with asbestos (mesothelioma). Clearly, as the lawsuits relating to mesothelioma lung cancer move forward, the internet vultures are circling, so the most valuable word in the English language, indeed the most valuable word in the world at the moment is 'mesothelioma', the main disease, closely followed by 'mesothelioma attorneys' or 'mesothelioma lawyers'. I could have predicted much of the content of the list, but I would never have guessed this.
I was thumbing through a battered English language textbook a friend had used in High School in Japan in the 1980s and found the following sentence used as an example of how to use 'as well as':
When riding (in italics) in a motorcar, I, as well as the driver, am liable to find zebras a nuisance.
I am currently enjoying an extended stay in Cambodia; long enough to try to learn some of the language, but not long enough to get to grips with the writing. Because I will be leaving for Japan in a while, where another language and a highly complex writing system awaits me, I have decided to remain illiterate in Khmer and focus only on the spoken language.
There has been endless talk about the dumbing down of education, but little about how far up the educational ladder this decline has got, with most of the scorn saved for courses like Media Studies and arguments about why training courses have been awarded degree status.