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April 05, 2005

First SELHis Report on Progress

Today's Daily Yomiuri carries the 15th installment in the series on Super English Language High School (SELHi) pilot program. The article reports on a recent Tokyo forum organized by the education ministry in which the first 18 schools, 15 public and 3 private, to join the program took part. The number of schools currently particpating as SELHis is now about 100. The schools have chosen various approaches to their English programs, some using only selected students, others introducing school-wide immersion programs. Common features were an increased motivation by teachers to produce results and most classes being taught in English only, without reverting to lengthy Japanese explanations. Many of the schools reported that they have seen an improvement in language ability across the board, not only in communicative skills, and refuted the often-cited concern that a communication-oriented approach is not suited to Japan's university entrance exams. A teacher from Chuo High School in Gunma Prefecture said that his school had recorded their best ever results in the exams this year.
SELHi in action / 1st schools finish up, look back (link will expire)
A related article looked at a policy in the public school system that has hampered some of the SELHi programs. Teachers are moved from school to school every several years, which has resulted in difficulties fitting new teachers into the often unique and advanced SELHi programs. One school in Osaka prefecture has seen six teachers, half of its English faculty, transferred during the 3-year program.
Teachers suffer the standard shuffling (link will expire)

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