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October 10, 2015

Japan | Teacher Development | Secondary Level | Primary Level

This week is Japan Teacher’s Week

To celebrate International Teacher's Day, NPO Teach For Japan, with the support of the Ministry of Education and others, has organised Japan Teacher's Week 2015.

The week started out with a discussion hosted by Yusuke Matsuda, founder of Teach For Japan. Items under discussion included: the life of the typical teachers in Japan; the experience of teachers in Japan vs that of those in other countries; career paths for teachers; and the impact of new initiatives from MEXT.

Other events happening during Japan Teacher's Week include:
- A free exhibition "Teacher's Voices" being held at MEXT in Tokyo until the 9th October and in Ebisu from 5th to 12th October;
- TEDxTokyo on 10th October with the topic "Igniting Curiosity".
All events are in Japanese only.

Also during Japan Teacher's Week, Japanese recruitment website DODA is also featuring education related job posts from 5th until 18th October.

More information on Japan Teacher's Week can be found here.

About Teach For Japan:
Teach For Japan is a non-profit organization founded by Yusuke Matsuda in 2012 with a vision to tackle education inequity in Japan by recruiting, training, and supporting teachers and appointing them in various schools to reach out to underprivileged and troubled children and inspire them.

To learn more about Teach for Japan, click here.

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January 30, 2014

UK | Primary Level | Pre-school

Able readers damaged by phonics, academic says

english-childrens-books.jpgNot directly about English as a second or foreign language, but the BBC looks at the controversy about teaching pupils at British schools to read using phonics.

The interests of able readers are being threatened by an insistence primary school pupils are taught to read using phonics, an academic has said.

The Department for Education wants English schools to use the reading system, which requires children to blend common sounds into words.

But Durham University researcher Andrew Davis says those already starting to read are likely to be put off.

The DfE insists synthetic phonics is the best way to teach reading.

The teaching method encourages children to sound out words rather than recognising the whole word and reading it for meaning.

The government strongly encourages schools to use reading schemes based on synthetic phonics, and part-funds a range of books approved as meeting its criteria.

Read the full article from the BBC.

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December 17, 2013

Japan | Secondary Level | Primary Level

Japan: English education set to get serious

Japan's education ministry recently announced its latest overhaul of the country's English language education system, reports The Japan Times.

Junior high school English teachers should conduct classes exclusively in English and be periodically tested on their skills in the language using a third-party proficiency test, and formal English instruction should start in the fifth grade of elementary school from 2020, according to a blueprint for education reform unveiled Friday.

As part of the plan for elementary to high school English education, more assistant language teachers also will be hired, education minister Hakubun Shimomura said.

“We want to raise the standards for English education at the junior high and high school levels by having teachers conduct classes in English in junior high school, and focusing on the presentation and debate aspects of English usage in high school,” he said.

The proposals are part of the “Execution Plan for the Reform of English Education in Response to Globalization,” the ministry’s blueprint for strengthening English-language education from elementary to high school.

Among other factors, the education ministry is hoping to take advantage of heightened interest in the language ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which will draw large numbers of visitors to Japan.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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November 22, 2013

China | Primary Level

Mixed reactions over cutting English classes

primary-school-students-china.jpg A decision to push back English-language classes for Beijing primary school students to the third grade has received mixed reviews from city teachers, parents and experts.

The Beijing Commission of Education decided on Tuesday that primary school students in the capital will not begin learning English until the third grade.

The decision will take effect in next year's fall semester. Currently, English classes begin in the first grade.

It is the commission's second major change to the city's education system in recent months. In October, it reduced the total score of the English-language portion of the gaokao, or China's college entrance exam, from 150 to 100. This change takes effect in 2016.

While some parents, teachers and experts said starting English classes in the third grade will add to an already heavy homework load, others said first- and second-graders are currently having a tough time learning both Chinese and English simultaneously.

"I think it's better for children to learn a language - including English - earlier," said Zhao Xingli, mother of a 9-year-old girl in Beijing.

Read the full article from Chinese news site ECNS.cn.

Photo: An English teacher helps Chongwen Elementary School first graders take an exam in Beijing last year. Liu Ping/For China Daily

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October 25, 2013

Japan | Primary Level

Required English from third grade eyed

The Japanese government is considering having children start compulsory English education two years earlier than currently.

The education ministry is considering moving up the starting year of obligatory English-language education in elementary schools to the third grade from the current fifth grade by around 2020, government officials said Wednesday.

The move would force the government to considerably boost the number and quality of English teachers and native-language assistant teachers at more than 22,000 six-year elementary schools with 7.1 million children across the country.

During his daily press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said children should be given more English lessons and at an earlier age in elementary school.

“(The government) will consider concrete (education reforms), including moving up the starting year from the current fifth,” Suga said.

The education ministry came up with the idea in response to a government education panel’s call for developing human resources needed in this age of globalization. The idea was included in the panel’s policy recommendation report published in May.

Under the current system, a 45-minute English lesson is held once a week for fifth- and sixth-graders in elementary school.

Read the full post from The Japan Times.

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September 30, 2013

Philippines | Secondary Level | Primary Level | Pre-school

Philippines: Bill to reinforce English in schools

study-English-in-Philippines.jpgA senior Filipino politician is seeking to make English a teaching language from kindergarten right up to 12th grade.

House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. has authored a measure to restore English as medium of instruction in all school levels.

House Bill 1339 proposes the adoption of a new bilingual program in schools in which English, Filipino or the regional language may be used as the teaching language in all subjects from kindergarten to Grade 3.

“We have high hopes that our bill, once enacted, will go a long way in boosting the English competency of our future labor force participants, and build up the capability of our high school as well as college graduates to gain and maintain employment,” Gullas said.

“English is the world’s working language. It is also the language of technology. Young Filipinos with inadequate English skills may risk getting marginalized in the lucrative global labor markets of the future.”

According to Gullas, also House higher and technical education committee vice chairman, his bill proposes English as teaching language from Grades 4 to 6 in elementary school, and from Grades 7 to 12 in junior and senior high school; English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school.

Read the full story from Manila Standard Today.

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September 09, 2013

India | Primary Level

Punjab village teacher's 12-hour English class a big hit

Teach-English-in-IndiaA teacher in India takes a novel approach to help less privileged students see they don't need to attend a private school to master English.

Dispelling the notion that English is Greek to students of government schools, a teacher held a marathon 12-hour session on English grammar at Government Elementary School in Rahimpur village in Jalandhar district to mark Teachers' Day. Unlike the English learning class in the British television series of the seventies, "Mind Your Language", the class held by teacher Ram Krishan was a success. When the session ended at 7pm on Thursday, the students came out confident and visibly at ease with the language that had been their Achilles heel in the past.

Irked by the categorisation of students from government schools as poor in English language skills, Krishan decided to set the balance right. "Elementary schools don't have exclusive English teachers and teaching is left to social sciences tutors. The private schools use the English USP to attract students. Children in government schools are generally considered to be laggards in the language. I want to clear this misconception," Krishan pointed out.

Proving that a good teacher can hold the students' interest, most of the children stayed till the end though there were no curbs on their leaving the class. "It was so interesting. It was as if the curtain had lifted in our minds," said Romi Jassal, a Class IX student whose father is a driver.

Read the full article from The Times of India.

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June 13, 2013

Vietnam | Primary Level

Vietnam - Rising competition in primary English teaching

Teaching-English-in-VietnamThis article from VietnamBridge provides a snapshot of the private ELT school sector in Ho Chi Minh City. For reference, 1 million Vietnam Dong (VND) is approximately equal to $50.

Nguyen Hoai Chuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training, said that primary schools in the city have applied some programs of both local and foreign providers on a trial basis. They are still seeking most suitable programs for local pupils.

The most popular is the Cambridge’s English teaching program with monthly tuition at over VND3 million each pupil. However, this level is rather high compared to financial capability of most local households.

A survey of iSmart Education Joint Stock Company shows that only 1-4% of households in HCMC can afford to pay VND4-10 million a month for their children’s education.

These families usually send their children to high-quality international schools such as British International School, RISS and CIS with tuitions from VND20-40 million a month. Meanwhile, around 4-5% of households can spend from VND4.5 million to VND10.5 million per month and send their children to international bilingual schools with tuitions from VND3-20 million a month. Some 13% of families can spend VND2.2-4.5 million a month and the remaining pay VND2 million or less.

Given this situation, English teaching solution providers have stepped in, offering various programs such as Cambridge, i-Learn and Langmaster.

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June 06, 2013

Teacher Development | Qualifications | Primary Level | Pre-school

OUP to launch Teachers' Academy in Japan

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Oxford University Press recently announced the upcoming launch of the Oxford Teachers' Academy in Japan, starting with a first course about "Principles of Teaching Young Learners" to be held from July 13-15 in the OUP office in Tokyo. The course will cover such diverse topics as "How children learn," "Classroom management," and "Using songs and chants." It is open to all English teachers, though participants require an English level of intermediate (TOEIC 600/ CEFR B1) or above.

Oxford Teachers’ Academy provides short courses, endorsed by and created in collaboration with the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, with lasting benefits to teachers. Courses contain 18 hours of content delivered over 3 days (from 09:00-17:00) to groups of 20-35 teachers. Participants who successfully complete the programme and provide evidence of learning will receive a certificate issued by OUP and endorsed by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

Oxford Teachers’ Academy has run courses in over 30 countries, making a difference through education and learning to thousands of teachers and students.

Read more about the course and instructors.

Register now for the course.

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June 03, 2013

Japan | Primary Level

Practicality, cultural literacy must be heart of elementary school English

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Saturday's edition of The Mainichi ran yet another editorial on the plans to make English a formal subject in Japan's elementary schools.

The Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, overseen by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has proposed that English should be made into an official subject for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders, as well as an unofficial subject for fourth-graders and below.

While public interest in the proposal is quite high, the Central Education Council -- an advisory panel to the minister of education, culture, sports, science, and technology -- will face numerous challenges in creating a framework for enhancing English-language education at elementary schools. In order to create an effective system for elementary school-level English education, therefore, the panel should hold in-depth discussions on the issue.

So far, elementary schools have taught English conversation as part of their "integrated studies" classes, falling under the heading of international understanding. In 2006, the Central Education Council proposed that English should be made into a compulsory subject for elementary school children. Thereafter, one English lesson is now given to fifth- and sixth-graders per week as a "foreign language activity."

Read the full editorial from The Mainichi.

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May 17, 2013

Vietnam | Primary Level

Lacking money, teachers, English program goes at snail’s pace

Teaching-English-in-Japan"VietNamNet Bridge reports that in the 2012-2013 academic year, only 20 percent of first graders in Hi Chi Minh City could learn English in accordance with the 2020 national foreign language teaching program.

To date, the national program still cannot be implemented in the districts of Binh Tan, Phu Nhuan and district 6.

Le Ngoc Diep, Head of the Primary Education Division of the HCM City Education and Training Department, said the city hopes to raise the proportion to 50 percent in the 2013-3014 academic year, but admitted that the program is facing too many difficulties.

If the difficulties cannot be settled, the city’s targeted plan of having 100 percent of primary school students accessing to the English teaching programs -- either the intensive learning program and national program, would fail.

Read the full story from VietNamNet Bridge.

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Japan | Primary Level

Enhanced English education sought in Japanese elementary schools

Teaching-English-in-Japan"The Japan Times reports on the latest government proposal to boost English language learning

A governmental panel on education reform will propose enhancing English-language education in elementary schools by making it an official subject for fifth- and sixth-graders.

As a way of nurturing people who can play an active role amid intensifying international competition, the panel headed by Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata will suggest boosting English-language education in elementary schools, according to a draft proposal.

Teaching English in elementary schools has been mandatory for fifth- and sixth-graders since the 2011 school year. But English is not treated as an official subject and is taught only once a week, mostly by homeroom teachers who have not had proper training in the language.

Read the full story from The Japan Times.

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About Primary Level

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Primary Level category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Pre-school is the previous category.

Qualifications is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

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