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October 15, 2015

Japan

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Ninth Edition Now Available in Japan

IMG_2072.jpgTo celebrate the release in Japan of the ninth edition of its world bestseller, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD), Oxford University Press held a launch party in Tokyo on 30th September 2015.

Patrick White, Content Director of the ELT Division and Reference Grammar at Oxford University Press, and Obunsha, co-distributor in Japan, gave presentations at the party, which also commemorated A.S. Hornby and other editors of the first editions, who dedicated their life to making the dictionary.

IMG_2068.jpgThe dictionary has sold over 38 million copies since the publication of the first edition nearly 70 years ago, and it currently has over 100 million users including the mobile apps. The new ninth edition has an increased focus on facilitating learners’ speaking and writing, and offers access to online premium content including updated iSpeaker and iWriter with extensive pronunciation support via videos with record and playback functionality.

Also in this edition, contemporary words such as 'Twitter' and ‘blogsphere' have been added, along with words of Japanese origin including 'shonen' and 'shojo'.

Click here to learn more about OALD9.
OALD9 is available at ELTBOOKS

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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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August 19, 2015

Japan

Oxford University Press was selected to partner with Otsu City on developing a teaching methodology

Oxford University Press commissioned by the Otsu City Board of Education in Shiga as partner in the “Research and Development of ICT-driven Foreign Language Teaching Methodology” project.

Oxford University Press (located in Minato-ku, Tokyo; represented by Managing Director Kiyokazu Nakamura) has been selected to partner with the Otsu City Board of Education in Shiga on a project to research and develop an ICT-based teaching methodology for elementary school Foreign Language Activities classes. The Otsu City government, led by Mayor Naomi Koshi, will establish a leading English education programme for 37 public elementary schools, using Oxford University Press materials, customised lesson plans and teacher training. The project is scheduled to run until the end of March 2018.

Overview The Japanese government introduced Foreign Language Activities to elementary school education for fifth and sixth graders in 2011, with plans to incorporate English language classes into the official curriculum of elementary education by 2020, urging educational institutions as well as local governments in Japan to focus more on English language education for children. Since 2014, the Otsu City government has introduced several schemes to enhance English language training at public schools as part of a wider educational plan for facilitating international understanding, including employing more assistant language teachers (ALT), exploring English teaching methods that harness information and communications technology (ICT), and experimenting with foreign language activities for children in early elementary school years. In October of the same year, the Board of Education held an open tender to find a partner for their “Research and Development of an ICT-driven Foreign Language Teaching Methodology” project with a total budget of \161 million. The applicants were required to provide a detailed proposal for materials, training and assessment before being approved to conduct a nine-week pilot programme in a city school. Oxford University Press was announced as the winning bid on June 6th.

The project consists of a syllabus designed to not only help children improve their English skills, but to nurture their “ability to live”, as stated in the Ministry national curriculum guidelines for elementary schools. This “ability” encompasses communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills. The project also requires an extensive teacher training programme, created to help elementary school teachers conduct English lessons confidently and consistently.

The programme will be further developed in 5 model schools from September 2015 before being rolled out to all 37 public elementary schools in the city at the start of the 2016 academic year.

Through collaborating with teachers, technology partners and academic researchers at the University of Oxford, Oxford University Press works to create the best possible environment for learning and teaching. With a history dating back to 1478 and over 50 years’ experience in Japan’s educational industry, Oxford University Press is most widely known as a book publisher, however it also provides a wide range of educational services, working with institutions and teachers to meet the changing needs of students at all ages and levels. Oxford University Press is driven by its mission and belief that education changes lives and it strives to create vibrant classrooms which prepare students and teachers for the global stage.

More Details http://www.oupjapan.co.jp/news/pr/media/oup_pr_20150820_E_otsu.pdf

[Contact] For more details, please contact us. Richard Attwood Business Development Manager, Japan Oxford University Press

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March 19, 2015

Vietnam | Technology

Improving English Language Instruction with Innovative Solution

More Than 1,400 Teachers in Vietnam Develop Classroom English Language Proficiency Using National Geographic Learning’s ELTeach

Collaboration between Cengage Learning’s NGL and the National Foreign Languages 2020 Project provides innovative solution in ELT professional development

Boston, MA – February 24, 2015 – Demonstrating a shared commitment to providing quality professional development for teachers of the English language, National Geographic Learning (NGL), part of global education company Cengage Learning, and the National Foreign Languages 2020 (NFL2020) Project are working together to improve English language instruction in Vietnam. Using NGL’s ELTeach, an online, integrated professional development, assessment and certificate program developed in partnership with Educational Testing Service (ETS), more than 1,400 teachers and trainers in Vietnam have participated in professional development opportunities under the NFL2020 initiative. As a project by the Vietnamese government to build national foreign language capacity, NFL2020 provides initiatives to evaluate and improve English curriculum and English teacher education curriculum.

Through the collaboration, 600 teachers of English were selected from ten Departments of Education and Training (DoETs) across Vietnam to complete the ELTeach English-for-Teaching online course and assessment. Another 838 trainers also took part in a training of trainers (ToT) program using ELTeach, which included face-to-face training delivered by NGL to provide the skills necessary to train large groups of teachers moving forward. In September 2014, the participating teachers and trainers took the Test of English-for-Teaching (TEFT™) Assessment developed by ETS and received a score report and certificate from NGL and ETS upon completion.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the NFL2020 Project to help Vietnam achieve its English language education goals,” said Dennis Hogan, executive director, National Geographic Learning. “Since its release in 2012, more than 10,000 teachers spanning 19 countries have successfully completed courses using ELTeach. These teachers, and the teachers and trainers in Vietnam, are joining a global community of leaders in English language teaching that are better equipped to teach English in English and are more confident in the use of educational technology. In fact, an interim efficacy report from the Vietnam collaboration notes that of those surveyed, 89% of teachers cited increased confidence in using English in the classroom and 98% of ToTs reported more confidence supporting and coaching teachers.”

"After this course, I have the energy and confidence to start a new school year and an eagerness to apply what I have learned from the ELTeach program,” said Ho Thi Phi Phuong, Bui Thi Xuan Upper Secondary School, Hue city. “I hope that in the coming years, the government could create more opportunities for English teachers to take part in professional development courses, like ELTeach, so that we will have chances to connect with native teachers, using updated teaching methods."

ELTeach is an online program supporting teachers of English through coursework and assessments in English-for-Teaching and Professional Knowledge for ELT. ELTeach is designed to ensure that teachers of English have the language and professional knowledge necessary to implement their national English curriculum successfully and confidently. It helps teachers to build professional confidence through learning and practicing language and concepts in the context of what they already know.

For more information on ELTeach, please visit elteach.com. To view other products from National Geographic Learning, visit ngl.cengage.com.

About Cengage Learning and National Geographic Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. National Geographic Learning, part of Cengage Learning, is a provider of quality core and supplemental educational materials for the PreK‐12, adult education and ELT markets. Cengage Learning and National Geographic Learning distribute a variety of content from the National Geographic Society to the academic and library markets worldwide. www.cengage.com.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide. www.ets.org.

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November 21, 2014

Japan

Spoken English Practice To Enter Japanese Market

Premier Spoken English program Spoken English Practice, today announced the company is looking to enter the Japanese market in the first half of 2015. This announcement underscores Spoken English Practice's continued dedication to providing an innovative solution to thousands of non native English speakers who are trying to improve thier English skills around the world.

Spoken English Practice's unique approach is based on the core belief that the best way to improve one's ability to speak in English is to have real conversations with native English speakers. However, this is an extremely difficult thing to do if you are not living in a non English speaking country. Spoken English Practice provides a reliable platform where you can practice English speaking with native speakers over an extended period of time.

"90% of non native English speakers agree that the best way to improve Spoken English is to have real conversations with native speakers.You can learn all the grammar rules in the universe, you can memorize millions of words, but if you don't practice speaking English with native speakers, you will not become fluent" said Liam Walker, Program Director, Spoken English Practice.

About Spoken English Practice

Award-winning English speaker training program, Spoken English Practice have helped over 9,000 non native English speakers improve their English Speaking skills in over 40 countries.

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September 12, 2014

Japan | Events

National Geographic Learning Event to be Live-streamed

National Geographic Learning | Cengage Learning will be live streaming their mini-conference English, 21st Century Skills and Young Learners! on Sunday 21st September 2014 so you can join from the comfort of your own home. The event will feature a bumper selection of skills, games, and exercises to incorporate 21st Century Skills into your classroom. Global educator Dr. Joan Kang Shin, will share ideas on storytelling, cross-curricular topics and engaging activities that bring your classroom to life, and will give you the tools to help your young learners succeed as global citizens.

The event will be broadcast from 2:00pm Japan time on Sunday 21st September via the link below.

• Live Broadcast
• Read More

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April 01, 2014

Events | Japan

Cambridge University Press to hold tribute event for Robert Habbick

Cambridge University Press in Japan (CUP) has announced that there will be a tribute to Robert Habbick held on April 24th at the Gakushi Kaikan near Jimbocho Station in central Tokyo.

Robert Habbick passed away on September 30th, 2013. An initial tribute event was held at the JALT National Conference last year, but due to the timing, many people were not able to come.

CUP stated: "The purpose of the event is to share fond memories of Rob, be they stories or photos. There will be an open mic and projector. Everyone interested in participating is invited to submit photos either by email to the address below or by bringing a memory stick on the day itself." Those not able to come may send on messages for the condolence book to the same email address (below).

The party will start at 7.15 pm, there will be drinks and light food, and the party will close around 8:45.

The access details can be found here:
http://www.gakushikaikan.co.jp/info/access.html

Everyone with friends or colleagues who were close to Robert is invited, and CUP has asked that friends and colleagues inform other friends and colleagues of Robert's about the event.

Anyone wishing to attend the the tribute party should contact the organiser by email at japanelt@cambridge.org, by April 17th, with 'Robert Habbick' in the subject line.

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January 29, 2014

Malaysia | Education

Malaysia: Cambridge working with Ministry of Education

Cambridge English Language Assessment is working with the Ministry of Education in Malaysia to carry out an in-depth study of the learning, teaching and assessment of English in Malaysian schools.

The large-scale project will focus on children and teachers in schools from pre-school to pre-university.

Hanan Khalifa, Head of Research and International Development and Martin Robinson, Assistant Director Assessment from Cambridge recently met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in London to brief him on the progress to date of the project, entitled "The Cambridge Baseline Project: measuring English language standards and establishing an evidence-based baseline for Malaysian schools."

The study is part of a programme which aims to ensure every child is proficient in Bahasa Malaysia and English and is endorsed by the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013–2025.

Deputy Director-General of Education (Policy and Development, MOE), Datuk Amin Senin, said Cambridge English was commissioned to undertake the study in May last year. Amin said the study will measure the English language proficiency of students and the teaching abilities and practices in schools.

The study will review the current national curricula, learning materials, examinations and teaching practices, as well as testing the language levels of students and teachers at the end of pre-school, end of primary school (Year 6), end of lower secondary (Form 3), end of upper secondary (Form 5) and end of Form 6.

The findings from the study will provide the Ministry of Education with baseline data that can be used to set realistic and achievable targets for future learning. Recommendations are expected to be submitted to the government in March 2014.

Martin Robinson commented “Malaysia is embarking upon a visionary education reform programme to ensure that every child will be proficient in Bahasa Malaysia as the national language of unity and in English as the international language of communication. We are very impressed by the rigorous approach the Ministry of Education is taking and it is especially commendable that the Ministry is employing such a ground-breaking, evidence-based approach to providing solutions to the challenges it faces. By undertaking such a comprehensive review of the whole English language education system, Cambridge English Language Assessment is helping Malaysia turn the visions and aspirations of the Education Blueprint into realistic and achievable targets. The Cambridge Baseline Project is the first step in helping Malaysia deliver lasting, genuine educational reform”.

Read the original post on Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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January 24, 2014

Employment | Education | Opinion | Japan

Japan: Teachers tread water in eikaiwa limbo

In the Japan Times, Craig Currie-Robson looks at the often harsh reality of coming to Japan to become an English conversation teacher.

Every year, thousands of young native English-speakers fly to Asia in search of an adventure, financed by working as English teachers. They come from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Britain, Canada and elsewhere.

But it can be risky leaping into another country on the promise of an “easy” job. In Japan’s competitive English teaching market, foreign language instructors are treading water. “Subcontractor” teachers at corporate giant Gaba fight in the courts to be recognized as employees. Berlitz instructors become embroiled in a four-year industrial dispute, complete with strikes and legal action. Known locally as eikaiwa, “conversation schools” across the country have slashed benefits and reduced wages, forcing teachers to work longer hours, split-shifts and multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Armed with slick websites and flashy recruiting videos, big chains such as Aeon, Gaba and ECC send recruiters to Australasia, North America and Britain to attract fresh graduates. New hires come expecting to spend their weekends and vacations enjoying temples, shrines and exotic locales. Newcomers may also be lured by the prospect of utilizing that ESL (English as a second language) diploma or CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) they’ve worked hard for. Yet from the start, they’ll effectively be customer-service staff, delivering a standardized product. Recruiting campaigns take full advantage of the prospective teacher’s altruistic angels. They look for suckers.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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Malaysia | Teacher Development

Malaysia: 1,022 teachers take Cambridge Placement Test

Malaysia's Daily Express reports on the country's latest measure to improve the standards of English language education.

A total of 1,022 English teachers are now undergoing the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) in their respective districts in Sabah.

Education Director Datuk Jame Alip (pic) said on Wednesday the course is aimed to improve their English skills and teaching pedagogy methods.

"They are being trained by the British Council in their respective districts," he said.

CPT is a course introduced by the Education Ministry with the collaboration with the British Council in a bid to boost the implementation of the Education Blueprint.

Deputy Prime Minister cum Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in June last year announced that 9,000 teachers will be selected for the CPT course nationwide.

A special entity called Education Implementation and Performance unit (Padu) has been set up to monitor and ensure the success of this initiative.

Read the full article from the Daily Express.

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January 23, 2014

Japan | Publishing | ELT People | Business

Ryoji Fukada appointed as Chairman of CUP Japan

ryoji-fukada.jpgRyoji Fukada has been announced as the new Chairman of Cambridge University Press, Japan.

Fukada-san brings to the Press a vast wealth of experience in the international publishing industry, serving most recently as Chairman of international subscription agent, Swets Information Systems, Japan.

Prior to joining Swets, Fukada-san spent six years as Managing Director of Springer Japan, and before that, was Managing Director at Elsevier Science Japan, which included Elsevier’s Electronic Journals platform, ScienceDirect.

Tony Lund, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press, Asia, said: ‘Asia is a key area for future growth for the Press so we are delighted to welcome Fukada-san to the newly-created position of Chairman to unlock the potential in Japan. The role will help to provide strategic leadership to all the Press’s business in Japan and Fukada-san’s experience is a very good match for such a task.

Commenting on his new role Fukada-san said: "It’s an extremely exciting time to join Cambridge University Press as we seek to maximise the opportunities open to us in the important Japanese market. I very much look forward to working closely with Tony and hope that my experience, coupled with the Press’s rich portfolio of product, will help realise the full potential of the market in Japan."

Cambridge University Press in Japan provides academic and English language teaching materials throughout Japan. Based in Tokyo, Cambridge representatives work directly with libraries, universities and education professionals and also promote to booksellers – in turn allowing them to supply the many customers with some of the highest quality research and teaching materials available.

Read the original press release from Cambridge University Press, Japan.

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January 16, 2014

ELT People | Japan

RIP Kevin Cleary

kevin-cleary.jpgWe were saddened to hear of the death of Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) President Kevin Cleary. We do not have any details. If anyone would like to write something via ELT News, we would be more than happy to post it.

A veteran of over 20 years in Japan, Kevin was an Associate Professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. He also taught accounting at the Meiji University Graduate School of Accountancy and "English through Cinema" at the Sophia University Community College. He was the author of more than a dozen works, mainly on the area of adapting scientific articles for language learners.

Kevin first got involved in the running of JALT when he became treasurer of the Tokyo chapter in 2003. He held a variety of other positions within the organization and was selected as president in 2010. He lived with his family in the coastal town of Kamakura, near Tokyo.

The above is from a brief profile of Kevin on the JALT website.

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January 15, 2014

Vietnam | Education

Vietnam: schools struggle to employ foreign teachers

vietnam-english-classroom.jpg
Many schools in Ho Chi Minh City are facing difficulties in employing foreign English teachers due to the obstacles of high payment, and a lack of teachers and textbooks.

Several schools are struggling to raise funding to pay USD2,000 per month to English teachers from the Philippines, while the number of recruited teachers is still much less than the demand.

According to a plan drafted by the HCM City municipal Department of Education and Training, there should have been around 100 English teachers from the Philippines teaching at local primary and secondary schools by the end of 2012. To date, they have only recruited 13 who are working and 26 who have agreed to work in early 2014.

Under the plan, the municipal government would subsidise half of the funding and the rest would be covered by contributions by school fees. However, due to the lack of funding, schools now are forced to mobilise all the funding from students’ parents in order to pay a monthly salaries of USD2,000 to Filipino teachers each.

In order to ensure payment for teachers, students are required to pay VND120,000 (USD5,67) per month. However, the mobilised funding is not enough due to the variable number of students at classes, forcing schools to offset costs through other sources.

Read the full article from Vietnam Net.

Photo: April Gravette R. Miralles, an English teacher from the Philippines. (Vietnam Net)

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January 13, 2014

Japan | Opinion | Education

Japan: A course of action for English education

tokyo-classroom.jpg
There is plenty of debate happening in Japan with regard to the government's stated plans to yet again overhaul the English language education system.

Last week’s Learning Curve column, “English fluency hopes rest on an education overhaul,” looked at the persistent mismatch between the education ministry’s stated goals and the actual outcomes of English language education in Japan.

With that in mind, this week’s article features scholars, parents and native English-speaking teachers offering their ideas on how to produce greater numbers of fluent English speakers in the country.

Top of the TEAP

Underlying the low levels of English-speaking ability in Japan is the administration of the university entrance exam — the National Center Test for University Admissions — which does not include speaking or writing. At present, the exam’s English portion consists of an 80-minute reading-based section and a 30-minute listening-based one. After the National Center Test, applicants take university-specific exams of which there are more than 1,000 (with varying levels of English requirements).

Because the Japanese education system is a “degree-ocracy,” in which the path to university acceptance and graduation is believed to determine any success thereafter, teachers teach to these entrance examinations. Absent the presence of speaking and writing sections, the general population of students are unlikely to learn these skills.

Professor Paul Underwood of Toyo Eiwa University hopes that universities will consider offering the Test of English for Academic Purposes (TEAP) exam in addition to their own. Created last year by the Eiken Foundation of Japan in conjunction with Sophia University, it is geared toward native Japanese speakers and includes speaking and writing sections.

Alternatively, Robert Aspinall, a professor at Shiga University and author of the 2012 book “International Education Policy in Japan in an Age of Globalisation and Risk,” believes that, like the A-level examination system in Britain, only advanced students should sit for English exams that test for all four English skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. This will ensure that at least a handful of students are “not just passively studying English like it’s a dead language.”

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

Photo: Yoshiaki Miura, The Japan Times

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January 12, 2014

Japan | Education

Teachers must nurture critical thinking, confidence in English

japan-classroom.jpg
Regular Japan Times columnist Amy Chavez opines about the requirements for the Japanese government to achieve its stated goals in English language education.

Recently, it was revealed that Japanese public schools may start teaching English earlier (from third grade of elementary school), with more classes per week. The new “blueprint” for English education, to be implemented by 2020, even aims to have some junior-high classes taught in the target language. By high school, it is hoped, Japanese will be able to converse in English at a “viable level of proficiency.”

Uh-huh. It’s one thing to set lofty, desirable goals, and another to know how to achieve them.

As a native English speaker, teachers beg me to allow their Japanese students to practice English with me. As a former ESL (English as a second language) teacher, I am also pre-qualified for the task, since foreign language instructors in Japan are known to possess infinite patience along with the ability to speak artificially slowly and clearly. Furthermore, we are unlikely to surprise nescient learners with vocabulary or sentence patterns they haven’t yet studied.

If the students are high school age or below, they will introduce themselves with the predictable “My name is . . .” followed by “Nice to meet you.” Usually these two sentences are strung together and delivered rapid-fire as if they were one long 10-syllable-or-more word. While this method gets the task finished quickly for the student, I am rarely able to catch the pupil’s name among the garble.

Once the performer has finished, he retreats and the next classmate comes up to the plate to pitch the same scenario.

Sorry guys, but this is not English communication; this is memorizing English phrases.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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January 08, 2014

Japan | Education

Japan: English fluency hopes rest on an education overhaul

english-class-in-japan.jpg
A look at the problems facing Japan as it aims to improve the nation's English language skills in advance of the 2020 Olympics.

Ringing in 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a dream: One nation that will actively re-engage with the global marketplace.

To realize this dream by 2020, it’s commonly accepted that the Japanese need to improve their English. So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately there are a few.

Though English has been a part of the official national syllabus since 1947 and many subsequent education policies have addressed curriculum reform — most recently the 2008 “Revisions of the Courses of Study for the Elementary and Secondary Schools” — there is widespread concern that few Japanese can actually speak fluent English.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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December 18, 2013

Teacher Development | Japan

Tokyo to boost teachers’ ESL for 2020 Olympics

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on Japanese government plans for its English language teachers to undergo 'Olympic' training.

As of next year, high and junior high school English language teachers in Tokyo will be required to spend three months abroad, in a bid by the Tokyo Board of Education to raise the standard of English teaching in schools as the city prepares for the 2020 Olympics.

Through the programme, teachers will study on a TESOL course, and live in a homestay in order to gain an understanding of different cultures. The project will launch with its first intake of 200 teachers in their third year of teaching in April 2014, provided the ¥600 million (USD$5.9 million) annual budget is approved by the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

Eventually, all of Tokyo’s high and junior high school English teachers will have to spend three months abroad, though the locations have not yet been decided. There are currently around 3,300 eligible teachers in the prefecture.

At the moment, there is no national study abroad programme for English teachers, and overseas study is not a prerequisite for teaching.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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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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December 11, 2013

China | Education

Job-oriented foreign languages teaching

The People's Daily speculates on the recent policy shift to de-emphasise the importance of English for young children and in college entrance exams in China.

A sea change is on horizon in the way Chinese people learn English. And along with it, a debate is growing among teachers and parents as to how foreign languages are to be taught and learned in this country.

In October, the Beijing municipal education authorities decided to lessen both the importance and proportion of foreign languages in the college entrance examination, or gaokao, of the municipality, starting 2016. Similar moves were reportedly being planned in Shanghai and a number of coastal provinces.

Since then, the policies on foreign language teaching in schools have been revised by the education authorities of one province after another. Children are no longer encouraged to start learning English at a very young age, say in their first and second years in primary school, or in kindergartens.

In the latest move, the Ministry of Education proposed that foreign language tests should no longer be part of the once-a-year college entrance examination. Instead, they should be offered as a social service, and be held multiple times in a year.

All these moves, both plans and suggestions - and presumably more will come - should not be seen as only a nationalistic whim. Nor should they be independent from the overall endeavor to reform the system and the ways in which many subjects, not just foreign languages, are being taught to Chinese students.

Read the full article from The People's Daily.

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November 25, 2013

India | Education

Quality suffers, English still 'foreign' for Gujarat students

gujarat-students.jpgExperts blame poor school teaching and diminishing reading habits for the low standard of English among students in the Indian region of Gujarat.

“Friends, our dear sister
is departing for foreign
in two three days,
and we are meeting today
to wish her bon voyage,”

The lines, written by Indo-Anglian poet Nissim Ezekiel in the poem ‘Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS’, decades ago throws open the clichés that plague English in our country even today.

And Gujarat is no exception. Is English still a foreign language to the country? Why is it that students, despite being trained in the use of the language, continue to falter?

Recently, Gujarati boy Pranav Mistry- alumnus of Nirma University and currently head of Think Tank team of Samsung Research America that designed the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch, faced criticism for his heavily accented English. This has once again raised the issue of quality of English teaching in institutes and colleges in the state.

Read the full article from DNA India.

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November 22, 2013

Thailand | Education

Thailand - English teaching projects inadequate

A report on how Thailand should look to its Asian neighbors for ideas on how to reform English teaching. The country ranked last in a recent English proficiency index.

Thailand has implemented English-language learning projects to improve English skills for students over the past several years, but most of the projects demonstrated a lack of consistency and seriousness, a study has found.

The study also found that Thailand should learn from methods used in China to develop students' English proficiency.

There, Chinese students need to pass College English Tests (CET) as an exit exam before gaining college degrees.

The study on "English Language Teaching (ELT) Policies and Situation" in five countries _ China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand _ was aimed at comparing the strengths of ELT in Thailand and enhancing the English abilities of Thai learners.

The study was conducted by Sa-ngiam Torut, a lecturer in the faculty of education at Silpakorn University.

The study findings were presented on Wednesday at a seminar titled "International Lessons: English Learning Reform," organised by the Quality Learning Foundation (QLF).

Read the full article from the Bangkok Post.

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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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November 18, 2013

Pakistan | Education

Pakistan: 94% of teachers lack English skills

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on British Council findings that show ongoing educational reforms in Punjab still have a very long way to go.

Ninety-four per cent of Pakistan’s primary and middle school teachers lack the necessary English language skills needed for providing a quality education in English, due to what a report from the British Council’s Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI) calls a lack of “buy-in” to the government’s policy to expand and improve English medium education.

Of the 2,008 teachers sampled from Punjab’s 18 districts, 62% of private and 56% of government school teachers scored in the lowest possible band in the Aptis test – a computer based competency test used by the British Council– indicating an inability to use familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases.

“We are committed to continuing to work with the School Education Department of the Government of Punjab to improve the situation for both teachers and learners and ensure that English medium education is of the highest possible quality,” said Richard Wyers, Director Punjab at the British Council.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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Japan | Teacher Development

Tokyo teachers to study abroad

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will send some 200 Japanese and other non-native English teachers to study at foreign universities for three months in fiscal 2014, Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose announced.

The capital will lead state reforms in English-language education in the run-up to the 2020 Summer Olympics, Inose told a news conference Friday.

The dispatch will cover junior high and high school teachers who have been working for at least three years. The city hopes they will learn effective teaching methods and everyday English while abroad.

Tokyo will also hike the number of full-time assistant language teachers at high schools to 100 in 2014 from just five at present. That number will rise to 200 in the following year, so that all of these schools are staffed with native English-speaking ALTs

Read the original article from The Japan Times.

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November 15, 2013

Russia | Asia

Quality English expands missions to Russia

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on a recent successful mission to Russia by a marketing association for independent English language schools.

English language schools from Europe and North America met over 30 Russian agents at the Quality English mission in Moscow last month.

Quality English is a marketing association for independent English language schools that conform to universal high standards. Ten schools from the UK, four from Ireland and one each from the USA and Canada attended the workshop.

Representatives from the British Council and the Irish Embassy in Russia were also on hand to provide support and advice while the Association of Russian Education Advisors (AREA) shared market insights.

One of the mission’s sponsors Isobel Clarke from the Wimbledon School of English said the event facilitated interaction with quality agents.

“I really found it very useful to sponsor the event, as after the [Wimbledon School] presentation a lot of agents came to see me as they liked the look of the school,” she said. “I feel I got to speak with people that I wouldn’t have necessarily met had it not been for the presentation.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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November 14, 2013

Events | Japan

Tokyo - Oxford Day 2013

wine-cheese.jpgWould you like to explore some practical new techniques for your classes?

Oxford University Press Japan would like to invite you to a day of thought-provoking and practical workshops by international and Japan-based experts on a range of high-interest areas in English language teaching. Topics to be covered include blended learning, creativity, CLIL, testing, using tablets, “Can-Do” statements, critical thinking, and more.

Presenters include: Goodith White, Keith Morrow, Grant Trew, Malcolm Swanson, Chantal Hemmi, Ben Shearon, Shigeru Sasajima

Also on offer:

  • Lunch* (vegetarian option available)
  • Wine and cheese party*
  • 20% discount on books
  • "Early bird" prize draw

Cost: FREE, but pre-registration is required.
Date: Saturday, November 23rd
Time: 09:30-17:00 (Doors open at 09:00)
Venue: AP Shibuya Dogenzaka 11F
(three minutes from the "Hachiko exit" of Shibuya station.)

(* For pre-registered guests only)

P.S. If you can't make it for Oxford Day, you can still hear Goodith White talk about "Technology in the classroom" at a special event in Shinjuku on November 25th. For more information, click here.

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November 01, 2013

Republic of Korea

'Mothers are best teacher for children'

Teaching English in KoreaYBM Sisa.com, one of the largest language schools in Korea, is promoting the teaching of English at home, by mothers.

Teaching at home is becoming popular among mothers interested in teaching their children English, instead of sending them to private institutes.

The English Teachers Academy (ETA) has been taking advantage of the popularity of this to run a program for mothers who want to teach their children at home more professionally and effectively.

The program was developed and is provided by YBM Sisa.com, one of the largest language schools in Korea. It is based on the belief that mothers can be the best language teachers for their children.

“Mothers spend most of their time with their babies, so they are the first person from who babies can learn how to talk,” said Eun Soo-jeong, a general manager of YBM Sisa.com during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

“They don’t just read books to their children in a passive way, but narrate the stories in them. They sometimes sing songs or use toys or props while doing this,” Eun added.

“We have developed the ETA program for mothers who want to gain professional knowledge for home teaching. It also helps them to find jobs. Most of them gave up or resigned from work to devote themselves to caring for their children,” she said.

Read the full article from The Korea Times.

Photo courtesy of YBM Sisa.com

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October 28, 2013

Malaysia

Malaysia's English language crisis

A shortage of competent English language teachers and a looming deadline that will affect all school-leaving students are creating a sense of crisis in Malaysia's education system.

In Perak on the northern Peninsular Malaysia, an English teacher uses textbooks meant for seven-year-olds to teach her Form One class of students, mostly aged 13.

"When I first taught them, they could not even tell the difference between 'when' and 'what'," the teacher, who wants to be known only as Yee, told The Straits Times recently.

"I had to put my planned lessons aside and start with the basics."

It is the type of story many English teachers in Malaysia share, but are reluctant to speak openly about because they worry about being sanctioned by the education ministry.

And so, when the ministry recently announced that from 2016 onwards, students in Form Five - the equivalent of a GCE O-level class in Singapore - must pass English before they can obtain their school-leaving certificates, it set tongues wagging.

After all, last year, almost a quarter of 470,000 Form Five students failed English, and only 16 per cent of them scored highly in the language.

"Without the school-leaving certificates, the students cannot further their studies or get jobs," said Lok Yim Pheng, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession. "Is their future being killed?"

Part of the problem, educators say, is that there are not enough qualified English teachers. Recently, the education ministry revealed that 70 per cent of the country's 70,000 English teachers failed a competency test to teach the language.

The ministry is now working overtime to re-train thousands of English teachers around the country to try and meet the 2016 deadline.

"It is an ambitious goal, but we cannot tolerate students not being able to communicate in English any more," Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, head of a new agency within the ministry, told The Straits Times in a recent interview.

"Something needs to be done."

In Malaysia, English is a |compulsory subject from Primary One to Form Five. Despite that, many school-leavers, especially in rural areas, cannot converse or write fluently in English.

It was not always this way.

Read the full article from The Nation.

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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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October 22, 2013

Malaysia

Malaysia: Furore over bill to train English teachers

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThere is anger in Malaysia over the vast sums being paid to consultants, including McKinsey & Co and British Council, for the training of English teachers.

After the uproar over McKinsey & Co’s RM20 million bill to draw up the National Education Blueprint (NEB), Putrajaya is in the spotlight again for paying three other external consultants a staggering RM270 million to help teachers here improve their English.

Citing details from a recent parliamentary reply, DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said the training programme, stretched out over three years from 2011 to 2013, was meant to train a total of 7,500 teachers from 1,800 schools nationwide at a cumulative cost of RM268.5 million or RM89.5 million each year.

The three handpicked consultant firms - British Council, Brighton Education Grpup and SMR HR Group - are each tasked to provide a total of 360 trainers or “English speaking mentors” over the three-year period, he said.

The firms’ responsibilities are divided geographically, Zairil added, with the British Council slotted to provide mentors for teachers in Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak, while Brighton Education Group will train teachers in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Malacca, Johor and Negeri Sembilan and the SMR HR Group will train teachers in Penang, Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Selangor.

“In other words, close to RM270 million is being spent to hire 360 English mentors. This breaks down to RM250,000 a year for each mentor, or an extravagant sum of almost RM21,000 a month,” the Bukit Bendera MP said in a statement here. - See more at: #sthash.YYFFPqxZ.dpuf

Read the full post on The Malay Mail Online.

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October 18, 2013

Thailand

Phuket: more details needed for education visa

teach-English-in-Thailand.jpgLanguage schools will be required to fill out a more in-depth form for visitors applying for education visas from November 1, as part of attempts by Immigration to control the number of people working illegally in Phuket.

Education visas are required by foreigners who want to stay in Thailand to study.

Subjects that can be studied in Phuket range from teaching of English as a foreign language (TEFL) through to Thai boxing and mixed martial arts. However, some people use this visa as simply a way to stay in the country, do not attend language classes and often find work instead.

At a meeting at Phuket Immigration yesterday (October 17), it was announced that from November 1 staff at language schools will have to fill out a new form for every student enrolling who requires an education visa.

The form is more specific than previously, and now requires details of how many language classes the student will attend per week (including days and times) and what exactly they will be learning on every given day.

Authorities plan that this new form will make it easier to monitor students who are in Thailand on the education visa but who skip classes and/or work illegally.

Last week a post was made on ThaiVisa’s web forum, with the poster, “Phronesis” (a Greek word for wisdom or intelligence), informing forum readers: “There are 42 language schools in Phuket. They are being called to a meeting with immigration on October 17.

“Immigration want to do away with the student visa because of its abuse by Russians and other foreigners working illegally on the island. So … if you are like me … and are currently staying in Phuket on a ED visa … don’t get too comfortable.”

Read the full post on The Phuket News.

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October 14, 2013

Malaysia

Malaysia: Fulbright ETA programme grows bigger

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThe Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme in Malaysia is set to become one of the world’s largest when it expands to 100 volunteers next year.

The successful programme now has 75 volunteers in rural classrooms in Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Perak.

Expressing support for it, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said English was a global language and speaking it was an advantage.

He said the programme was an opportunity for students to boost their confidence in the language.

“It teaches confidence and changes lives,” he told reporters after meeting with local students and their American ETAs at a hotel here yesterday.

Kerry said the programme was also an enriching experience for American college graduates who volunteered to spend nine months teaching in schools here.

“I really admire these ETAs. Thank you for being part of this remarkable programme,” he told the volunteers.

New York native John Greisler, 24, who is based at SMK Slim in Batang Padang, Perak, said he signed up to continue teaching in Malaysia for another year.

He said his students, who included orang asli from the Semai tribe, were initially very shy but he eventually managed to get them to speak.

Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange executive director James Coffman said the Fulbright ETA programme, which started in Malaysia in 2005 with just 15 volunteers, became a federal programme funded by the US and Malaysian governments after a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2010.

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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 27, 2013

Asia | Education

English proficiency tops Thai student agenda

study-English-in-Thailand.jpgThailand's Education Ministry is set to overhaul English language teaching given a setback in the skills among Thai instructors and students.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said English is vital in the digital era and a springboard to knowledge in many other fields.

Chairing a workshop on “How Thailand should reform English teaching,” he admitted that the country is short of qualified teachers for English language and urged the use of information technology in English language classes.

“We should rethink if the Ordinary National Education Test, or O-NET, is sufficient in assessing Thai students’ English proficiency. What is the indication of success?” said Mr Chaturon.

The education minister’s attempt to revamp Thailand’s teaching system--particularly the subject of English--is mulled in light of an international rating of educational proficiency in which Thailand was ranked last in Southeast Asian countries, behind Vietnam and Cambodia.

He said the teaching system should aim at enabling students to communicate like native speakers, instead of rote learning.

The 2009 assessment of English-language teachers’ proficiency was displayed in the workshop. It showed the proficiency of 60,732 teachers at medium level, 29,838 teachers at basic level, and only 3,701 teachers or 3.92 per cent at a high level.

The 2010-2013 strategy emphasises improving the proficiency of English-language teachers and increasing English communication classes more than an hour a week.

Read the original article from Pattaya Mail.

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September 24, 2013

Kazakhstan

First Cambridge English School confirmed in Kazakhstan

teach-English-in-Kazakhstan.jpgIn its centenary year, the Cambridge English School network has expanded into Kazakhstan for the first time.

A school in Almaty is the first school in Kazakhstan to join a new programme developed by experts in Cambridge which aims to help raise English standards in their school.

The Gymnasium #105 located outside Uraz Zhandossov, Almaty, Kazakhstan is the first school in Kazakhstan to become a member of the Cambridge English School network. It has achieved this status by committing to offer a range of Cambridge English exams to all of its pupils supported by high quality teaching and learning materials from Cambridge University Press. The school teaches children from 6-7 years old to 16-17 and specializes in teaching foreign languages including English, French, and Chinese. English is taught from the first grade. The school has experience of preparing students for Cambridge English: First, which it will now extend to the lower level Key and Preliminary exams and the Young Leaners English Tests.

The schools sees the introduction of these exams as an exciting opportunity to ensure students have an internationally recognised qualification at every stage of their studies, leading up to Cambridge English: First which will give students the passport they need to study at institutions both in Kazakhstan and abroad.

Staff at the school see Cambridge English exams as independent external assessment of what students know and of how teachers teach and are looking forward to working with the local Cambridge English authorised centre in Kazakhstan ‘Study Inn’ to ensure teachers have all the support required for success.

Read the full report by India Education bureau.

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September 19, 2013

China | Education

Modern English class inspires rural Chinese pupils

Teach-English-in-ChinaA look at the role of ELT within the Hope Project, which aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China.

Zhao Minghui, 11, is picking up English words through making faces. As a fourth grader of a rural primary school in Laiyuan County, north China's Hebei Province, Zhao, together with her classmates, is having a unique English class.

This was the scene on Monday, when a special language-learning program saw visiting volunteer teacher Liu Wei, a former member of a national English research group, use an avant-garde story-based approach to attract kids from Dongtuanbu Central Primary School (DCPS) to actively participate in the class.

Some 160 kilometres from Beijing, Laiyuan is officially classed as one of China's most poverty-stricken counties. With many people struggling for daily necessities, education in such rural areas is far less developed than in cities.

That is why the Hope Project continues to work to improve the situation. Initiated in 1989 by the China Youth Development Foundation and the Communist Youth League Central Committee, it aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China, to help children of poor families complete elementary school education. DCPS is covered in the project.

Read the full article from MySinchew.com.

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September 17, 2013

Pakistan | Opinion

Pakistan: The politics of language teaching

teach-English-in-Pakistan.jpgThis opinion piece from a lecturer in English at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University looks at the problems of outdated teaching methods and the continued perception of English as an imperialist language.

English Language is generally considered to be the legacy of British colonial rule in Pakistan and strangely, many political and religious leaders have time and again proposed the idea of doing away with English language and promote our own national language Urdu. They consider it to be the cultural invasion of Britain and America and all other English speaking countries in the world and make it a part of yet another of their conspiracy theories to contaminate the minds of Muslim youth with their literature and language.

What they fail to realize is that English is no more the Language of Britain as there are 750 millions of speakers of English(used as a foreign language) across the world as compared to 365 million speakers in Britain and all other English speaking countries, according to the British Council. English has grown in stature and importance with the advancement of Globalization, media and the internet. It is widely used in the world for business communication, political discourse and in academics. Roughly speaking, about 1428 books are daily published in the world, majority of which are written in English Language.

In Pakistan most of the people consider English to be a problem. One of the major hindrances in learning English is the traditional approach of teaching and unavailability of trained and qualified language teachers.

Read the full article from The Frontier Post.

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September 16, 2013

Malaysia | Teacher Development

Malaysia: All about change

malaysia-all-about-change.jpgThis is the latest of many articles in the Malaysian media recently about ongoing and high-profile changes to English language teaching in the country.

The winds of change have blown through various schools in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan over the past two years with the introduction of the British Council’s English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP).

Teachers who once found teaching the English language to students a challenge because lessons were teacher-centred, have developed new perceptions and changed their approach so that lessons are student-centred and engaging.

Now, members of the public can read about the teachers’ experiences in The Book of Change, a collection of over 100 short stories written by the project’s mentors and teachers.

The book along with a series of short films on the ELTDP were recently launched by the British Council in Putrajaya.

Read the full article from The Star Online.

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September 14, 2013

Cambodia | Education

Poverty poses challenge to learning English in Cambodia

cambodian-pupil.jpgPoverty poses a big challenge to English-language education in Cambodia, where quality English lessons are only available in expensive private schools. But not all hope is lost as individuals and NGOs are doing their best to help the country’s poor learn the language.

English will be the working language throughout Southeast Asia in 2015 when the ASEAN Economic Community is formed.

In Cambodia, however, poverty still poses a big challenge to the quality of English-language education, usually only available in expensive private schools.

Some 200 children take turns fighting for a space in a tiny unit in northern Phnom Penh, where they learn how to read, write and speak English once a week.

For these children, the small room may be the best English school they will ever attend.

English lesson is a great privilege in this Southeast Asian kingdom. Although it is commonly taught in public schools, teaching quality is usually very low.

To receive English schooling, around US$1,000 per year is needed. That amount might be affordable in developed countries, but not in Cambodia where one third of its 15-million population earns less than US$1 per day.

But at Tinath New Generation Academy (TNGA), poor children aged between six and 18 years old can enjoy that privilege for free.

Read the full article from Channel NewsAsia.

Photo: AFP/TANG CHHIN SOTHY

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September 13, 2013

Education | Malaysia

Malaysia: English teachers to come from India?

Teach-English-in-MalaysiaThe heated debate continues in Malaysia since a government decision to make English a compulsory must-pass subject for high schoolers by 2016, with the quality of the majority of English language teachers deemed well below the required standard.

PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) demanded to know today if Putrajaya (the federal administrative capital of Malaysia) had already inked a deal to import English teachers from India prior to announcing the National Education Blueprint, noting the short three-year notice the government had given to turn every school English-ready by 2016.

The party’s information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the decision to turn English into a must-pass subject seemed to come without any semblance of an action plan to address Malaysia’s stark shortage of qualified English teachers.

In a statement here, Tuan Ibrahim pointed out that while announcing its plans to improve English proficiency here, the government had in the same breath admitted that over 70 per cent of the country’s 60,000 English teachers had scored poorly in the English Language Cambridge Placement Test.

“This means at least two-thirds of our English teachers are considered ‘incapable’ or ‘unqualified’ to teach the subject in school,” he said.

“Is this likely to be resolved by 2016? What about the students, especially those in the rural areas, how would they prepare themselves to face a must-pass English examination from now until 2016 with the current quality of our teachers?” he added.

Read the full article from The Malay Mail.

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September 12, 2013

China

Call to reduce English lessons to ‘save’ Chinese

chinese-child-studying.jpgWhile urban China is rapidly internationalizing, one former official thinks teaching kids English is doing more harm than good.

A former senior education official has triggered heated debate after he publicly denounced the teaching of English to young children and called for more classes on Chinese traditional culture.

Wang Xuming, a former spokesman of the Education Ministry and now president of Language and Culture Press, wrote on his verified Sina microblog account that China should abolish English classes in primary schools and commercial English schools for children. Instead, it should increase the number of classes on guoxue, or national study, which refers to the study of Chinese traditional culture.

"[We should] free the children and save the Chinese language," he wrote.

In 2002, the Ministry of Education ordered primary schools across the country to teach English classes, starting from the age of nine in the third grade, but it is now common for first-graders to have English classes.

Wang, who boasts more than 1.8 million followers of his microblog, said he proposed more lessons on guoxue because the quality of Chinese-language textbooks and examination results were so weak, while English-language teaching materials and performance results were strong.

Read the full article from The South China Morning Post.

Photo: Reuters

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September 09, 2013

Malaysia | Secondary Level

Malaysia: Spelling the blues over English ruling

Teach-English-in-MalaysiaIn this opinion piece, Leanne Goh looks at the implications of a government decision to make English a mandatory passing subject for Malaysian secondary school pupils.

Our SPM students do best in Bahasa Malaysia and worst in English.

Going by last year’s SPM results, 23% of the candidates failed English and this group risks completing 11 years of schooling without that final paper qualification come 2016 when a pass in the language is made compulsory.

They number more than 105,000 out of the 459,118 candidates who sat for the exam last year.

And to compound the problem, there will be another compulsory pass next year (besides BM) – History. This core subject saw the biggest decline in passes in last year’s SPM – 19.7% failed compared to 16.7% the year before.

So, in the near future, low achieving students have to overcome three “hurdles” to obtain that SPM certificate or join the workforce without paper qualification. And we are talking about potentially a six-figure number.

This puts tremendous pressure on everyone. And no one knows it better that the Education Ministry as the mastermind of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 which was launched on Friday.

Read the full article from Malaysia Today.

Read a related piece from The Malaysian Insider on conservative reaction to the decision.

(Editor's note: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students in Malaysia. More from Wikipedia.)

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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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Asia | Opinion

Asian academia faces language block

Teach-English-in-AsiaMalaysian political scientist and historian Farish Noor writes on the challenges faced by Asian academics who are not publishing their work in English.

The debate over the teaching of the English language continues, not only in Malaysia but also in many other countries across the world. While the form and content of the debate has been shaped by domestic political considerations and agendas, there are some pressing realities that we cannot escape from; and one of them is the simple fact that English remains the most commonly used language in global academic circles.

In order to circumvent the somewhat heated temperature of the debate here, allow me to offer some observations based on my experience teaching in some other Asian countries. In countries like India and Pakistan, the teaching of English remains a serious concern for many students, parents and educational institutions that wish to give Indian and Pakistani students a fighting chance in the ever-changing global economy. For many of the new industries that have emerged, including information technology, the working knowledge remains English - despite the linguistic nationalism that is articulated and foregrounded by some politicians and activists there.

One country that I have come to know rather well by now is Indonesia, where I routinely travel to do research as well as to teach. It has been my honour, and pleasure, to meet a wide range of Indonesian academics, who have become my colleagues and friends for more than a decade now. Equally rewarding has been the experience of supervising more than a dozen Indonesian post-graduate scholars, who have done their doctoral theses under my supervision.

It is no exaggeration on my part, I feel, when I say that the Indonesian scholars and students I have met and known are among the best academics I have come across. Indonesia today produces some of the best work in the humanities and social sciences, and in all honesty, I have to state that the quality of work I have seen in Indonesia matches the work I have seen in countries like France, Holland and Germany, where I have also worked and taught in.

However, there remains one stumbling block that hinders Indonesia's rise as a major centre for teaching, research and knowledge-production, and it is the fact that an overwhelming majority of the works produced by Indonesian scholars today is in Bahasa Indonesia. And, despite the fact that Indonesia's population numbers almost a quarter of a billion souls, Bahasa Indonesia is not widely known, spoken or read beyond the shores of Southeast Asia. It has always seemed grossly unfair to me that Indonesia's academic presence is not known or felt wider, but the sad fact is that English remains the dominant language of academia in both the social sciences and the hard sciences.

Read the full article from the New Straits Times.

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September 07, 2013

Japan

Okinawa teens practice English with Marines

camp-courtney.jpgA snapshot of the softer side of the controversial U.S. military presence in the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa.

The sound is unmistakable. Giggling, laughter and words being over-emphasized and articulated, followed by attempts to mimic, all with varying degrees of success. It’s a classroom.

“This camp showed me that Marines are nice and kind people,” said Rinna Ishikawa, a Maehara High School student and third year attendee of the annual Camp Courtney English Camp.

Ishikawa and 21 other students attended the camp Aug. 11-16 to learn English, with the help of Marine volunteers, as well as get to know their neighbors.

The camp was started by Ichiro Umehara, the community relations specialist for Camp Courtney, 13 years ago in response to requests from parents in the surrounding community.

Read the full article from DVIDS.

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September 06, 2013

India | ELT People

From Anglophobia to master of English

munawar-zama.jpgThe head of an English-language training and personality development institute has been helping under-priviliged Indians to get life-changing opportunities.

In early 1985, a nine-year-old Muslim boy from a middle class family in Nalgonda, 100 kms from Hyderabad, sat glued to his transistor radio as Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin prepared to score his third consecutive century against a formidable English team.

English-language cricket commentary emanated from the radio for 15 minutes, followed by commentary in Hindi. Every time the commentary went into English, the boy – who couldn't understand a word of it – became restless.

He impatiently waited for the Hindi commentary to hear how his hero Azharuddin was playing.

In those brief moments of excitement and restlessness, the Anglophobic boy made a decision: he must learn English.

In a posh New Delhi hotel in the August of 2013, the boy, Munawar Zama, now the CEO of an English-language training and personality development institute, was honored with the "Indian Youth Icon Award 2013" for his contributions to changing the lives of thousands of students across the country.

Read the full article from World Bulletin.

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September 05, 2013

Events | Indonesia

Indonesia: English teachers aiming to up their game

Teach-English-in-IndonesiaThe Jakarta Post seems to be a bit harsh in its sweeping statement about the abilities of Indonesia's English language teachers, in this report on the recent TEFLIN Conference.

As the majority of English language teachers in Indonesia lack competence, more than 500 teachers from all over the country are meeting in Jakarta to exchange knowledge and experiences, involving their counterparts from the region and native speaking countries.

“The speakers and presenters at the three-day conference are expected to offer input, based on their research and experience, on how to improve the teaching of English as a foreign language in Indonesia,” the president of the Association of Teaching of English as a Foreign Language in Indonesia (TEFLIN), Fuad Abdul Hamid, told The Jakarta Post after the opening ceremony of the conference recently.

The 60th TEFLIN International Conference, presented 10 main speakers in general sessions and 316 presenters in parallel sessions. The speakers and presenters come from various universities in Australia, the UK, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the US.

The conference was organized by the TEFLIN, in cooperation with the University of Indonesia’s (UI) Faculty of Humanities and Universitas Siswa Bangsa Internasional.

Fuad acknowledged that even though English language teachers in Indonesia were required to have teaching certifications, most of them were poor in English proficiency, making their teaching ineffective.

Read the full article from The Jakarta Post.

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Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan has chosen: English first, Russian later

English-in-UzbekistanTwo decades after independence from the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan has relegated the study of Russian as a foreign language in favour of English.

President Islam Karimov’s latest education decree mandates that English classes start in the first grade, with Russian classes starting in the second.

In a country that has just celebrated twenty-two years of independence from the Soviet Union, schools are mostly taught in Uzbek – with English and Russian considered foreign languages.

Non-Uzbek schools have also shifted their priorities from once commonly spoken Russian – which is still widely spoken throughout Uzbekistan – to English.

In Tajik, Kazakh and Kyrgyz language schools the number of weekly Russian lessons has been cut from two hours to one.

In Uzbek-language schools, Russian will continue for now to be taught for two hours a week.

In Russian-language schools, Russian language and Russian literature will be offered as a native language, and the amount of time devoted to studying the language will remain unchanged.

This year, as last year, all school teachers in Uzbekistan are required to participate in weekly English lessons.

Gulbakhor Iskanderova, a teacher of Russian and literature, reports that teachers – regardless to the subject they teach – are mandated to open each school day by saying “Welcome children” and having a five minute conversation with their students in English.

Read the full article from Uznews.

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India | Events

10th International Congress on English Grammar

English-in-IndiaYou are invited to submit papers for the 10th International Congress on English Grammar, which will be held in southern India in January 2014.

Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, Coimbatore, India in association with Systemic Functional Linguistics, Hyderabad, is organizing the 10th International Congress on English Grammar (ICEG 2014) on 23-25 January 2014.  The theme of the conference is Grammar and Grammar Teaching: Changing Perspectives.

The Congress aims to support and uphold interaction and meaningful discussion among researchers from all over the world in the fields of English Grammar, Lexicography, Linguistics, English Language Teaching and Communication Technology in Language Teaching. The first ICEG was held in Hyderabad in July 1999. This world renowned Congress was subsequently hosted by some of the elite and premier institutions in India and abroad.

ICEG 2014 focuses on current topics in Language, Linguistics and Literature. The event creates a platform for scholarly interactions on the major changes in teaching of English. The Congress draws researchers from all over the world to present their research findings and to implement these language teaching techniques to the needs of the learners.

Participants are requested to send abstracts based on their original and unpublished research articles related to the above mentioned topics. The abstracts should not exceed 200 words and should envelop creativeness, scope, methodology followed, findings/observations and discussions. The names, affiliations, mobile, email address and full mailing address of all authors must be mentioned.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 5 November 2013.

For more details, please  visit the ICEG 2014 website.

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September 04, 2013

Vietnam | Opinion

Why Asia needs white losers

teaching-english-in-vietnamVietnam's Thanh Nien News reports what it calls a "tongue-in-cheek look at 'racism' in hiring English teachers."

Last week this paper carried an article titled English teaching: Is White Right? The piece, written by Nazley Omar, made a pretty strong case that Vietnam uses racist hiring guidelines to recruit teachers.

I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s not that Vietnamese educators and parents are racist for overtly discriminating against Asian teachers. They just understand that their kids have a lot to learn from white losers.

In her piece Ms. Omar describes a Filipino teacher with a four-year degree in education, an English teaching certification, and a tough time finding a job. Meanwhile, she asserts that “any white person with a pulse and a degree” can net an English teaching job in Vietnam.

Hey. That’s just simply not true. It takes a bold, visionary type of white person to come over here and teach, especially those of us who have no background in education or formal training.

Read the full article from Thanh Nien News.

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August 31, 2013

China

Foreign teacher dances with students

english-teacher-china.jpgWhile I'm sure this program was enjoyable and beneficial for all involved, the post by the Chinese State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs reads as much like propaganda as news. The headline is just so...understated.

The 2nd international English summer camp was hosted in Xiuwen international academy, at the city of Zibo, Shandong province, with support from the city’s human resources and social security bureau and the foreign expert affairs office.

There were 500 primary and secondary school students and 22 foreign teachers from Britain, Canada and Australia taking part in the 14-day camp, which started July 11, with a curriculum based on foreign teaching, which was flexible, humorous and interactive.

There were many activities held by the students, such as an English song program, evening campfire parties and dance parties, which helped the young people improve their English proficiency and their sense of self and practical skills, and gave the Chinese students a taste of foreign culture and history.

One international teacher, who was really impressed by the people of Zibo’s beauty and hospitality, commented, “The locals are very enthusiastic and their specialties taste delicious,” then added, “The students are quite smart, lovely and polite, and say ‘Hello’ to me in English every time I see them.”

Original article from State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs.

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August 30, 2013

Nepal

Nepal: English by Radio to air from today

learning-English-in-Nepal.jpgIn some remote parts of the world, the Web is not yet where it's at. The Himalayan reports on a new weekly radio show for English language learners in Nepal.

An English language programme, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, will be broadcast on five radio stations from Friday.

There will be 52 episodes of the weekly programme, produced in collaboration with the Nepal English Language Teachers' Association (NELTA), according to the Embassy. Its coverage will span 60 districts across Nepal.

The English by Radio programme aims at helping teachers and students to improve their English language proficiency, the Embassy said in a statement.

In the first episode, the U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde introduces himself and answers questions from a language teacher. Ambassador Bodde also talks about the U.S. Government’s support for improving the quality of English language teaching in Nepal.

Read the full article from The Himalayan.

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August 27, 2013

Pakistan | Teacher Development

Islamabad - ELT workshop for seminary teachers begins

pk.pngThe Express Tribune reports on an ELT workshop for Islamic scholars in Pakistan, led by international teaching trainer Don Johnson.

A two-week “Madaris Teachers’ English Training” workshop jointly by the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) and the US embassy, Islamabad, kicked off here on Monday.

Renowned international teaching trainer Don Johnson from the US and Dean Faculty of Language and Literature, IIUI, Dr Munawar Iqbal Gondal are the resource persons while Student Affairs Adviser Dr Safeer Awan is coordinating the workshop, said a press release.

Around 40 seminary teachers from Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Peshawar, Mohmand Agency, Malakand, Islamabad and other areas of the country are participating in the workshop.

The workshop includes communication language teaching, teaching pronunciation, vocabulary, lesson planning, teaching writing skills, teaching grammar and reading skills and interactive sessions to improve English language proficiency and pedagogy.

Read the full article from The Express Tribune.

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August 22, 2013

Mongolia | Events

Mongolia TESOL International Conference, October 2013

teach-English-in-Mongolia.jpgThis year the 7th National TEFL / 3rd Mongolia TESOL International Conference will be held at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Ulaanbaatar. The conference will be held on October 4-6, 2013 under the theme "Sharing Language Learning Experiences." University and secondary school teachers, university students, ELT professionals and educators are invited to present and participate in the conference.

Founded in 1997, the English Language Teachers' Association of Mongolia (ELTAM) aims to develop English language teachers at nationwide level and promotes all kinds of English programs. It supports English language teachers' development and, therefore, one of its major activities is organizing an annual conference to bring teachers to share their teaching practices and experiences and promote their networking.

Those wishing to present at this year's conference should request a proposal form with the guidelines for those who are willing to share ideas, experiences and discuss some of the latest ELT innovations. There is also an opportunity to volunteer during the conference preparation and organization. Contact organizers by e-mail (miraedu@yahoo.com, mongoliatefl@gmail.com) or telephone at 99-279-476.

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August 14, 2013

Journals | Nepal

Call for papers, Journal of NELTA 2013

np.pngThe editorial board of the Journal of NELTA (Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) would like to invite contributions for the 2013 issue.

First published in 1996, the Journal of NELTA is a premiere publication of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). This journal has been an integral part of NELTA’s mission for ‘enhancing the quality of English language teaching and learning through professional networking, supporting and collaboration’.

It is also a means towards achieving NELTA’s goal of providing a ‘forum for exchanges of ideas and experiences at national, regional and international levels’.

The editorial board would like to invite contributions for the 2013 issue of the journal. Contributors are encouraged to make their work relevant to classroom teaching as well as to serve the larger purpose of creating or promoting ELT discourses at local, national, and regional contexts. Contributions that deal with ELT theories and methods will serve the professional community only to the extent that they are situated in the authors' own practices and/or in the contemporary educational and social contexts. The objective of this volume is to gather the voices of teachers, scholars, and educationists who are best able to define and advance the conversation and practice of ELT.

Manuscript must be submitted as an email attachment accompanied by a well-written cover letter to the editorial address: neltajournal@gmail.com or neltaeditorialboard@gmail.com. All enquiries and communication related to the articles for the Journal of NELTA should also be sent to the same email address.

The deadline for submission is September 30, 2013.

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India | Tests

CBSE ties up with Trinity College to train ESL teachers

teach-English-in-IndiaIndia Today reports on a tie up between the Indian board of education for public and private schools and Trinity College, London in a program to integrate English language in the curriculum.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will train teachers for the implementation of the Assessment of Speaking and Listening (ASL) skills in collaboration with Trinity College, London, an official said Tuesday.

ASL has been introduced in all CBSE-affiliated schools for Class 9 and Class 11 in an effort to integrate English language in the curriculum.

"Principals of schools need to identify senior teachers of English from their schools who are eligible to take the online screening test to qualify for examiner trainers in the ASL," said Sadhna Parashar, CBSE director, training research and innovation.

Read the full article at India Today.

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China | Crime

Shenzhen arrests visa-dodging English teachers

teach-English-in-China.jpgThe Shenzen Daily reports on a crackdown on English teachers working in the southern Chinese city without a visa.

Several foreigners who do not possess valid teaching certificates or working permits were arrested at English training centers in Nanshan District recently.

They were suspected of illegal employment and were taken away by the exit-entry management department of the Nanshan District’s Public Security Sub-bureau for further investigation, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported yesterday.

The bureau did not reveal how many foreigners had been arrested or give further details as investigations into the cases are still continuing.

At present, there are about 13,000 foreign residents living in Nanshan District, accounting for 42 percent of the expatriate population in the city.

Read the full article from Shenzen Daily.

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August 13, 2013

India

The language of social change

teach-English-in-IndiaThe Hindu reports on Vidyarambam Trust, which teaches English to underprivileged children in India and has also helped check dropout rates in government schools.

They are the children of poorly paid carpenters, electricians and daily wage labourers. Raised on the border of the poverty line, mostly in rural areas, these boys and girls have just one path to a better life – an education. But despite their talent and perseverance, this chance is compromised when they need to take an admission test or talk about themselves at a job interview. The bottleneck? Everything is in English.

“An urban child learns English as early as age two”, says Mr. V. Ranganathan, founder of the NGO Vidyarambam Trust, a non-profit organisation that provides free tuition and educational material to underprivileged children. “Until recently, government schools did not teach English at all. We’ve had teachers in these schools tell us that children are hesitant to even open their books. They don’t have the guts to attempt to read”. He believes that for the same reason, dropouts are common after Std. VIII or so, when English is abruptly introduced into their syllabus.

Vidyarambam’s strategy to put these children back on track involves logic that is simple, yet powerful – they recruit people who have completed Std XII and provide them with training on phonetic-based teaching of English (a far more effective method than conventional alphabet-based teaching), after which they are equipped to teach primary schoolchildren the basics of reading, writing and grammar. Older students (Std VI to IX) are taught by those with graduate degrees and the same training.

Read the full article from The Hindu.

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August 12, 2013

Republic of Korea | ELT People

The $4 Million Teacher

kim-ki-hoon.jpgThe Wall Street Journal travels to South Korea to meet an English teacher who earns a "rock-star" salary and looks into the "shadow system" of after school tutoring.

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students' online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

"The harder I work, the more I make," he says matter of factly. "I like that."

I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like—one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world's other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

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August 10, 2013

India | Events

Call for papers - Teacher Educator Conference 2014

tec14-logo.jpgThe deadline is approaching to submit proposals for next year's International English Language Teacher Educator Conference in India.

The British Council, in full partnership with English and Foreign Languages University (EFL-U) Hyderabad, will come together again to host the International English Language Teacher Educator Conference in India with support from the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI) and the International Association for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

This event is considered to be the world’s largest English language teacher educator conference and is now in its fourth year. The conference will be held again in Hyderabad, Telangana (formally known as Andhra Pradesh), India from 21 – 23 February 2014.

The main theme of the conference will be 'Innovation in English Language Teacher Education' and the conference will be structured around following three sub themes - 'Innovations in Continuing Professional Development for English language teacher educators and teachers', 'Learning from Experience', and 'Technological resources for language education'. So far, the only plenary speaker announced is Simon Borg, Professor of TESOL at the School of Education, University of Leeds.

A call for papers has been announced and those who wish to present at this conference can submit their proposal online. The last date to submit a proposal is 30 August 2013. Only online submissions will be accepted for vetting.

More details and proposal submissions on the British Council website.

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August 08, 2013

China | Business

STS signs English training deal in China

sts-china.jpgTravel company STS is to bring native English teachers from the UK to China for a pilot program at a Beijing language school, reports The PIE News.

Sweden-based study travel giant, STS, has agreed the terms of a pilot project to deliver English language training in China, to 720 students at Chaoyang Foreign Language School in Beijing.

The deal will see STS teach Chinese students for a seasonal summer course, delivered in a state-run institution, with the backing of China’s local educational authority.

It marks a new departure for the firm that operates language schools, offers high school placements, au pair and college studies. Once the course, delivered this summer, is over, STS will also help train the Chinese English teachers to improve their own skills.

James Crimp, Director for STS Language Schools, explained, “Our goal is not purely to educate, but to help provide confidence in speaking English. Once the course has finished, we will teach the Chinese English teachers how to further improve the students’ English skills and their ability to speak the language with confidence.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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August 02, 2013

Republic of Korea

Learning English in Korea - in the 1880s

korean-school-1880s.jpgThe Asia Society blogged yesterday with a brief but interesting glimpse of the English teaching scene in Korea at the end of the 19th century.

We all know that students have it rough in Korea. They go to school early in the morning and then after school spend several additional hours in private learning institutes studying math and English. These institutes are everywhere now, but they haven’t always been.

In 1882—just prior to Korea opening to the West—Koreans who desired to learn English had to travel to Japan. But not everyone viewed the study of English as a good thing. When one young Korean scholar confided to his friend that he wanted to learn English so that he could study Western books, his friend scoffed at the notion, declaring it was instead more acceptable to learn the Japanese language because “the Japanese were less barbarous than Western nations.” Learning English would turn this young scholar into a barbarian. When the scholar insisted on learning English, his friend threatened to kill himself as he could not bear to think of his companion becoming a barbarian.

Read the full post on the Asia Society website.
(Photo copyright Robert Neff COllection)

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July 29, 2013

India | Teacher Development

Delivering a jolt to India's teacher training

teach-English-in-IndiaThe New York Times reports on Muktangan, an organization that is taking a whole new - and effective - approach to teacher training in India.

Samidha Shetya, a mill worker’s daughter with a 10th-grade education, was among the first group of women to start working as teachers for a private group called Muktangan in 2003.

She is now among hundreds of teachers who initially had no formal training, much less university degrees in education, working with children from low-income homes.

When Mrs. Shetya began at Muktangan, she was given three months of training and told to find children she could enroll in kindergarten; she began with two classes of 30 students each. Having studied only in the Marathi language, she had to use a translator to get through Muktangan’s English-language curriculum.

Read the full article from The New York Times.

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July 25, 2013

Republic of Korea | Opinion

Cultural understanding key to English learning

English-Teaching-in-KoreaYoon Seon-joo, country manager of EF Education First Korea, writes this week in The Korea Herald about the role of culture in learning English.

When I was little, I had a great opportunity to live in the U.S. with my family for almost two years, which is when I first learned English and made foreign friends. I attended ESL or English as a second language classes at school with other international students whose parents were graduate students there like mine. During the first few days, the most difficult flash card to remember was “bread and butter” because, for me, “bread,” “and” and “butter” were three “unassociated” words instead of one like “apple” or “grapes” on other flash cards. Seeing others eat bread together with butter and doing so myself, however, I was soon able to remember this phrase, as eating bread with butter quickly became as natural as eating rice with kimchi. This was a 7-year-old Korean girl version of “living the language” and learning language by linking it to culture.

Read the full article from The Korea Herald.

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July 17, 2013

India | Publishing | ELT People

Manas Saikia, MD of CUP India, announces retirement

manas_saikia.jpgManas Saikia, founding partner and Managing Director of Cambridge University Press India, has announced he will be retiring at the end of April 2014.

Manas has had a long 28-year association with Cambridge University Press, since he joined in 1985 as a sales representative. He created Foundation Books with his partner Vinod Vasishat, after an exchange crisis made conditions difficult for importing books.

In 2006, Cambridge acquired a stake in Foundation Books which then became Cambridge University Press India. Cambridge increased its share in 2009 and has now agreed to acquire the remaining shares to give it full ownership. Manas has announced his retirement from the Board, but agreed to stay on as Managing Director during the transition period until the end of April 2014. Recruitment for a new Managing Director will start immediately.

Cambridge University Press India has seen huge growth under Manas’s leadership. He has also facilitated the representation of both Cambridge International Examinations and Cambridge English Language Assessment in India.

Read the full announcement from Cambridge University Press.

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July 11, 2013

Vietnam | Teacher Development

Pygmalion effect unlikely to propel Vietnam's English upgrade plans

English-Teaching-in-VietnamAn ambitious government project aimed at churning out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 has failed to enthuse experts who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish in 7 years a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades.

THANH NIEN NEWS: Hundreds of thousands of students sitting for their university entrance examinations this week would have been surprised to know that many of their teachers were sharing their acute anxiety.

“I just feel extremely nervous,” said Nguyen Duc Nghiem, a junior high school English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City. “The upcoming test is wearing me down,” he told Vietweek.

Nghiem is among some 86,000 English teachers across Vietnam who are taking European standard exams aimed at gauging if they are competent enough to churn out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 as part of an ambitious government project. The tests for the teachers are being carried out gradually until 2015 and those who fail the screening can face dismissal.

“I only wish we had more time to get prepared for such tough tasks,” Nghiem said.

The timeframe of the project has been severely criticized by independent experts, who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades. Other things about the project do not add up as well, they say.

Read the full story from Thanh Nien News.

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July 10, 2013

China | ELT People

Foreign teacher's different approach gets results

English-Teaching-in-ChinaA Chinese news website reports on an Oxford University graduate who is achieving great success as a high school teacher in the city of Foshan with his "different approach".

XINHUANET: Under China's college entrance exam system that is widely believed destiny-shaping, English teacher and form tutor Neil Porteous has amazed others with the excellent scores his students achieved in the test in June.

All 45 students in his class in Shimen High School in the city of Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province, passed with good enough results to access the country's key universities.

Six of them ranked among the top 100 in the province, where 727,000 students took the exam, also known as gaokao.

The 31-year-old Brit said the students were smart, while his pupils and colleagues said his teaching and tutoring methods were the reason for the success.

Read the full article from Xinhuanet.

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July 09, 2013

India | Teacher Development

Indian region teams with British Council to improve teaching

English-Teaching-in-IndiaThe British Council is teaming up with regional government to raise English teaching standards in Maharashtra, a state in the western region of India.

INDIA TV NEWS: Maharashtra Government has tied-up with the British Council to enhance English language teaching skills of teachers of the state-run secondary schools.

Education Minister Rajendra Darda said that his department in collaboration with the British Council would implement ‘English Language Initiative for Secondary Schools’.

“Specifically, teachers who teach students of VIIth to Xth class would be trained in English language. Around 20,000 teachers from the state will be trained by the government and British Council,” Darda said.

Last year, education department had signed an agreement with the British Council to train teachers from government-run primary schools.

Darda said that education department has opened a corporate social responsibility (CSR) cell, which will provide platform for corporates to invest in school development programmes such as upgrading school infrastructure, setting up libraries, laboratories and so on.

“We are not asking them (corporate houses) for money. We are just providing them CSR platform,” the minister said.

Report from India TV news.

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July 05, 2013

Malaysia | Employment

100 US grads to join 2014 Fulbright programme in Malaysia

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaA total of 100 young American university graduates will be participating the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) programme in Malaysia next year.

United States (US) Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Paul W. Jones said one new state will be added in the 2014 programme but it had yet to be decided by the Malaysian government. Currently, the American teachers are placed in schools in Johor, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak. "This year, 75 young American university graduates are experiencing Malaysian hospitality, food and culture as they help teach English in schools across the states."

"Next year, 100 people will follow in their steps. This rapidly growing programme was extraordinary successful not only for our people to people ties but also for a lot of students who can practice English with the native speakers," Jones told reporters at the 4th of July reception in conjunction with the US Independence Day. He said many students in the participating schools had improved their English language skills and understood the vocabulary and grammar.

The Fulbright ETA programme is an initiative by the Malaysian and US governments to support English language education in Malaysia, which began in 2012.

(Story courtesy of Bernama, the National News Agency of Malaysia.)

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July 04, 2013

Republic of Korea | Tests

S Korea's new English test shows glitch, faces criticism

English-Test-in-KoreaThe Korea Herald reports on a technical glitch that prevented dozens of students from completing a recently launched national test of English language ability.

A number of students who recently took a state-administered English proficiency test complained that there were critical errors in the exam system.

They said that they were unable to complete the Internet-based exam because their answer sheet suddenly disappeared from the computer screen.

Fifty-eight of the 1,116 test takers cited the same error, raising questions about the National English Ability Test that the government developed with a reported investment nearing 30 billion won (S$33.3 million) over the last four years.

It was the first time students had taken the test after the Education Ministry announced it last year as an alternative to the current state-administered college exam.

Developing the NEAT, the ministry originally sought to substitute the English section of College Scholastic Ability Test from 2016.

But critics say the government is implementing the new test without careful planning. Teachers are concerned about lack of programs and teaching materials to prepare students. Parents also worry that it may drive more students to private education.

Read the full story from The Korea Herald.

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July 02, 2013

Asia | Education

More Pakistani schools to teach in English

Teaching-English-in-PakistanThe Pakistani government has announced plans to expand a program that is increasing the number of schools in far-flung regions of the country that teach core subjects through the medium of English, according to Central Asia Online. The report makes reference to security issues mentioning, almost as an aside, "violent attacks" and "bombed schools."

A recent move by the Pakistani government to have more schools in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) teach classes in English will improve the standard of education, officials say.

Fifty-two FATA schools in April started teaching in English, they said, following the lead of seven schools in Kurram and Khyber agencies that earlier started teaching their 3,642 pupils in English.

The new programme will affect schoolchildren in grades six and higher in general science, Pakistan studies and math, Abid Majeed, secretary to Khyber Pakhktunkhwa (KP) Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, told Central Asia Online.

"Five schools from each agency were selected and three from each Frontier Region [FR]. Of every five selected, two were girls' schools," Majeed said, noting that only one school in FR Lakki Marwat was chosen because the main town had no other schools.

The initial switch, which occurred in April, affected 3,231 sixth-graders, he said, noting that the number of pupils affected will double next year and triple by 2015, as the new sixth-graders are added to the mix and the previous classes advance in grade but remain under the English-teaching programme.

Read the full story from Central Asia Online.

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Malaysia | Events

Borneo to host 2014 Asia TEFL Conference

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaThe Borneo Post reports that Malaysia will host the Asia TEFL International Conference for the second time next year. The largest English language teaching event in Asia, it will be held in the city of Kuching, capital of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak.

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching will have the honour of hosting the Asia TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) 12th International Conference 2014 on Aug 28-30.

This will be the second time it is held in Malaysia and the first in Kuching, said Asia TEFL president Professor Lee Hyo-Woong.

He said Asia TEFL is the largest English language teaching event in Asia and the international conference will focus on providing a regional platform for English teachers and trainers to connect with various English language institutes around Asia.

“The annual event is for English language teachers to meet and discuss ways to promote the use of proper English through present and new methodologies and opportunity to gain knowledge through the workshops and talks,” said Lee at a press conference yesterday.

Read the full story from The Borneo Post.

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June 29, 2013

Japan

Aso: Poor English saved Japanese banks

mt.pngJapan's deputy prime minister, no stranger to controversy, says the language barrier was what shielded the country's bankers from the excesses of the global financial crisis.

Japan’s banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, Finance Minister Taro Aso says.

Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them.

“Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks,” Aso told a seminar in Tokyo on Friday.

“There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that’s not true at all. Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

Read the full story from Japan Today.

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June 28, 2013

Japan | Education

Confusion in Japan over call for 'global human resources'

global-human-resources.jpgA recent feature in The Mainichi took a lengthy look at the confusion surrounding the term "global human resources' and its practical implications for English language education in Japan.

Recently, not a day goes by without someone proclaiming the importance of nurturing "global human resources." Bold proposals abound, including the use of TOEFL scores as a criterion for admission to college, and the introduction of English as a subject in lower elementary school grades. What, however, does "global human resources" actually mean?

At the Institution for a Global Society (IGS), a Tokyo preparatory cram school catering toward elementary, junior high and high school students who aspire to attend schools overseas, founder and CEO Masahiro Fukuhara teaches a class on "creating values."

"It doesn't matter what it is: just say what you think!" Fukuhara urges, nudging and encouraging the 15 high school students, who all appear to be at a loss. The topic of the day's lesson is: "Which do you support? The Syrian Armed Forces, or Syrian rebels?"

"You don't have to have the right answer. Japanese people are too worried about getting it right, which is the reason they are scared to speak up," he says. "This is the biggest news story on CNN. You have to know about it if you're planning to go to college abroad."

The students are constantly kept on their toes by Fukuhara's ongoing barrage of questions and prompts. Twenty elementary school students and 35 junior high and high school students attend the school, which was founded in 2010. There were only four students in the beginning, but as calls for "global human resources" increased, so did inquiries from families interested in the school.

Read the full story from The Mainichi.

ELT News interview with Kumiko Torikai.

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June 27, 2013

UK | China | Teacher Development | Business

TEFL Scotland seals China training deal

tefl-scotland-logo.jpgThe BBC reports on a Scottish company which "began life in a garden shed" and has won a million-pound contract to develop training courses for English teachers in China.

Under the deal, TEFL Scotland will partner Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Website for Primary and Middle School Teachers' Further Education.

It is one of China's largest online training providers for teachers.

The deal is worth an estimated £1m over three years.

TEFL Scotland and Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co, which operates as teacher.com.cn, will jointly develop and promote TEFL distance and classroom training and international culture exchanges to English teachers across China.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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June 26, 2013

Japan | Events

FAB-4 Annual Brain Days in Nagoya

fab-4.jpgThe FAB-4 Annual Brain Days, a NeuroELT conference, is coming up on July 6-7 at Nanzan University in Nagoya. The conference explores how to use the connection between neuroscience and teaching in the English language classroom. Joseph Shaules of the Japan Intercultural Institute will join the conference for the first time with a plenary session called "Banana, Monkey, Panda: Cultural Neuroscience and Intercultural Education." The session asks which two of the three – banana, monkey, and panda – you would group together. Surprisingly, your response involves both your culture and your brain. For a teaser of Joseph’s talk, check out his YouTube.com video.

Other plenaries will be given by conference founders Robert Murphy (Practical NeuroEFL Pedagogy), and Marc Helgesen (DIY NeuroELT: Making Your Textbook More Brain Friendly).

There will also be over 35 additional presentations, workshops, pecha kuchas, and poster sessions by many presenters including Brian Cullen, Kim Horne, Lesley Ito, Nagisa Kikuchi, and Joshua Meyerson. Curtis Kelly, another one of the conference founders will be giving a presentation (via Skype). See the FAB-4 website for a full schedule and early bird discount preregistration, available until June 30.

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Vietnam

Vietnam province investing in ELT

Teaching-English-in-VietnamVietnam's TuoiTreNews reports on regional investment in English language teacher training.

A central Vietnam province plans to spend over VND176 billion (US$8.4 million) on a project to improve the learning and teaching of English from now until 2020.

The People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province has said that most of the funding will come from the state coffers and the remaining will be raised from other sources.

This year the province will allocate VND24 billion ($1.1 million) for assessing the English command of 510 teachers, improving the language proficiency of 270 instructors, enrolling 30 teachers for improvement courses to be organized by the central government, sending 5 teachers to English-speaking countries for further training, and supplying learning and teaching equipment to schools at all levels.

Previously Long An, a southern province, had earmarked VND437 billion ($20.8 million) for helping its K-12 students to be able to speak English after graduating from high school.

Read the full story from TuoiTreNews.

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June 25, 2013

Malaysia | Teacher Development

Don't be hazy when it comes to English proficiency

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaColumnist Satiman Jamin writes today in the New Straits Times about the issue of English proficiency among Malaysia's English teachers. The country's education minister was at a small university on Saturday for the launch of "Let's Talk and Let's Go Global", a programme to help raise the English language proficiency of secondary school students.

(Minister) Idris said similar programmes would be conducted by other universities and teachers' training institutes around the country.

However, his acknowledgement that English proficiency among students in schools suffered because of the lack of qualified teachers indicated that something must be done to ensure that the universities roped in to help the schools do not have the same problem.

"As reported in the newspapers recently, our 60,000 English teachers sat for the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT), and the results showed that two-thirds of them did not have the required qualification to teach English," he said.

Read the full article from New Straits Times

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June 24, 2013

China | ELT People

Famed English teacher's ex demands money

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe high profile divorce dispute in China between "Crazy English" founder Li Yang and his American ex-wife, whose marriage was ended several months ago on the grounds of domestic abuse, is back in the news.

The former wife of a famous Chinese English teacher has asked him to give her the money he owes her according to the conditions of their divorce.

Kim Lee, ex-wife of "Crazy English" teacher Li Yang, submitted her application to the Beijing Chaoyang District Court on Thursday, demanding Li pay her 11.75 million yuan (about $1.9 million).

According to Lee, Li has paid 150,000 yuan in child support from July 2012 to December 2013, as well as 300,000 yuan in property distribution money.

On February 3, the court granted a divorce to the couple on the grounds of domestic abuse. According to the verdict, Li was ordered to pay Lee 50,000 yuan in compensation for her psychological trauma and a one-off sum of 12 million yuan in consideration of the property the couple shared, as well as an annual child support payment of 100,000 yuan for each of their three daughters until they reach 18 years of age.

Read the full story from China Daily.

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June 20, 2013

Republic of Korea | Education

Instability for English instructors in Korea

Teaching-English-in-KoreaThe Hankyoreh today reports on opposition to the Korean government's policy of putting English conversation teachers on rolling 4-year contracts rather than permanent positions.

Four middle-aged women wearing funeral clothes stood in front of the Central Government Complex in Seoul at around 11am on June 19.

"The government’s inconsistent education policies have left all the powerless irregular workers out of jobs," they declared. The women, English conversation instructors for elementary and middle school classes, called for indefinite contracts. Ko Sun-gyung, who heads the Association for Professional English Conversation Instructors, blasted the Ministry of Education for "sending out an announcement to make it appear that this was lifetime employment, only to turn around and later backpedal."

"We’ve been trying to help advance public education by teaching English to children in farming and fishing villages who don’t have access to private education," she said.

"Now, 6,100 English teachers have ended up being cast aside like old shoes."

Read the full story from The Hankyoreh.

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June 19, 2013

Japan | Tests | Qualifications

TOEFL score to be requirement for teaching hopefuls

Teaching-English-in-JapanJapanese newspaper The Mainichi recently reported on a planned new English language test score requirement for university students hoping to become elementary school teachers.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to require college students studying to become elementary school teachers to obtain a specified score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to graduate, an LDP lawmaker has told the Mainichi Shimbun.

An English-language course was introduced as a once-a-week foreign language activity for fifth- and sixth-grade students in the 2011 school year, but the course remains unofficial, and students are not graded on it.

Read the full story from The Mainichi.

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June 17, 2013

China | ELT People

ESF teacher's quest to visit every province in China

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe South China Morning Post today reports the story of one English teacher's quest to travel largely unseen parts of China and the 600-page book that resulted from the journey.

The strangeness of English Schools Foundation teacher Chris Taylor's quest to visit every mainland province dawned on him as he sat down on a bench in a town square in Ningxia - an obscure northwestern chunk of China most foreigners have never heard of, let alone considered visiting.

Alone and nearly 2,000 kilometres away from his family in Hong Kong and his job as head of senior school at Sha Tin College, the 43-year-old suddenly found himself surrounded by a throng of locals. "They just sat really close to me and stared and stared," he recalls.

"As soon as I did anything like get my notebook out, everyone would be really interested and lean over and stare. I distinctly remember just wanting to be left alone and sitting there doing nothing until people finally dispersed and gave me a bit of space."

Read the full story from the South China Morning Post.

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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 07, 2013

Japan | Employment

Temple, Sophia to hold English career fair in Tokyo

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Temple University Japan and Sophia University announced this week that they will hold a joint career fair in English later this month. The Tokyo English Career Fair event, which will be English-only, will be held on Wednesday June 19 at Sophia University. Students can attend free of charge but registration, through the Sophia University website, is required for non-TUJ and Sophia students.

As one of the selected universities of the internationalization project (Global 30) pursued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Sophia University offers English-based degree programs and promotes active exchange between 180 partnering universities in 40 countries world-wide. At TUJ, all classes are taught in English and 60% of the undergraduate student body is non-Japanese. Both institutions are committed to supporting job placements of foreign nationals and Japanese students with global career aspirations, and therefore started working together and held the first joint career fair in English last year.

The event is designed to attract a wide range of internationally-minded students with advanced language skills. Last year’s fair attracted 10 companies and approximately 300 students from over 40 countries studying across Japan, making it a very international fair. Most participants requested the event be held on an annual basis.

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June 06, 2013

Israel | Asia

Mysterious pitfalls of teaching English in Israel

Teaching-English-in-Israel"If teaching English in Israel is on your horizon, you may want to read this teacher's story.

Schools and the ministry blame each other for the current state of affairs; I have only experienced a similar level of chaos in third world countries limping along on non-existent economies.

After volunteering as an English teacher in various schools for several months I was hired by a Druse school and a school in the Arab sector. The staff and children were welcoming to the point that I felt like a rock star most days.

Teaching English to such eager students, surrounded by mostly supportive staff should be pure joy. Unfortunately, month after month there was no sign of pay – instead more and more random paperwork was thrown at me by the schools and Education Ministry while I was patronizingly told to be patient. It was not until I started a mandatory six-month college course (about teaching English in Israel), where I met fellow (Anglo and Russian) English teachers that I realized we were all in the same sinking boat with no life jackets or preservers.

Report the full story from The Jerusalem Post.

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June 05, 2013

Republic of Korea

English teachers save drowning woman in Korea

Teaching-English-in-Korea"Blogging report from Korea tells of a foreign couple, both English teachers, saving a drowning local woman.

Heartwarming expat news is coming out of Daejeon, at the moment, as local news reports are indicating that a pair of native English teachers saved a drowning Korean woman. The married foreign couple were taking a walk near the Expo Bridge in Mannyeong-dong of Daejeon's Seo-gu district, when they heard a sound coming from the water. After seeing the woman floundering in the water, the foreign husband immediately responded by diving in and brought her to the shore, where the wife also tended to her until emergency responders arrived on the scene.

The humble couple declined wanting to reveal their names or images to the public, and merely stated, “We just did what we had to do.”

Expats from that region seem to be good swimmers and life-savers, as some of you may recall in 2009, the foreign teacher from America who saved 2 drowning college kids in the ocean near Mokpo. The Missouri native was experienced with CPR and was able to resuscitate one of the Koreans and aided him until medical help arrived.

Report courtesy of EverydayKorea.com.

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China | Publishing

New edition of English-language textbooks unveiled

Teaching-English-in-China"The People's Daily Online recently reported on a new version of a popular series for primary and secondary learners of English in China.

A new edition and a larger-print version of Good English, a famous series of English-language textbooks from the United Kingdom, was unveiled at a news conference in Beijing on May 29.

The books, originally called Oxford Reading Tree and published by Oxford University Press, are English-language teaching materials for native speakers in the United Kingdom, and are used in over 80 percent of primary schools in the UK.

They are also used as English-language textbooks by more than 133 countries around the world, and were welcomed by teachers, parents and children after they were first introduced to and reprinted in China in 2008.

To better meet the needs of young Chinese English-language learners, China Youth Publishing Group, publisher of the books in China, said it decided to release the new edition and the larger-print version on the eve of International Children's Day, which is June 1.

Read the full article from People's Daily Online.

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June 03, 2013

China

Pop culture helps students learn English

Teaching-English-in-China"An article today about Hong Kong teachers who are using pop culture to help students from less privileged backgrounds learn English as a second language

We are learning A, B, Cs
A, B, Cs are not easy
Our class name is 5D
5D also means "fai dee"

Composing bilingual rap with puns like these has helped students in a Band Three school in a working-class area build bridges between their Chinese mother tongue and English. By identifying more closely with hip hop and rap artists as role models for their own language learning, students develop identities as English-speakers, says Angel Lin, associate dean at the HKU faculty of education.

A pioneer of innovative interdisciplinary approaches to second language education, particularly for young people, she advocates entry points like these to create a fun, meaningful context for the use of English among students.

Read the full article from the South China Morning Post.

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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 30, 2013

Online | Japan

There's an English doctor in the house

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Japanese company Mosuke Inc. today issued a press release to announce the launch of its new English language training website.

Local company Mosuke Incorporated has launched a new website targeted for the Japanese businessperson interested in improving his/her English. The new website is called Eigo Doctor.com ( http://eigodr.com ) and is designed for use with a PC, tablet computer, or smart phone. “Eigo” is the Japanese term for “English”.

Compared with other Asian countries, Japan ranks consistently in the bottom quartile in English language ability as measured by TOEIC and TOEFL language scores. Businesses have repeatedly implored the Ministry of Education to raise the standard of Japan’s English teaching quality and its teaching staff to little avail, while major businesses themselves continue to resort to “Engrish” (grammatically incorrect English) for their multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. Ignominious examples abound.

Read the full press release. (bilingual, Japanese and English)

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May 29, 2013

Malaysia | Education

Malaysian royalty all for English-medium schools

Teaching-English-in-Malaysia"The New Straits Times reports on royal support in Malaysia for schools that teach through English.

Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, the consort of the sultan of Johor, said yesterday that she would support any Education Ministry plans to set up English-medium schools.

Speaking after opening the 22nd International Conference of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta), where she is the royal patron, she said, "Having an English-medium school will serve as an alternative for parents who want their children to be proficient in English." She cited her own experience when she went to England to study after completing her education at a national-type primary school in Malaysia.

The three-day event was held in the southern city of Johor Baru, just across the Johor Strait from Singapore, and saw the participation of 450 educators from 28 countries. Melta was formed in 1982 to promote the teaching of English in Malaysia.

Melta president Associate Professor Dr S. Ganakumaran said the focus of the event this year was to evaluate the changes in the national education system and help teachers cope with the changes.

Read the full story from the New Straits Times

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China | India | Nepal | Pakistan

1,000s of English teachers from Britain to teach in Asia

Teaching-English-in-US"Malaysia's The Star reports today on a plan to bring teachers from Britain to teach English in Asia.

Business conglomerate Melewar Group has joined forces with a British education recruitment specialist to send out native speaking English teachers from Britain to 14 countries in Asia to teach the language.

The first batch of teachers are expected to arrive in these countries in the third quarter of this year under an agreement signed between English Learning Group Ltd, a member of the Melewar Group, and STC Consortium Ltd here yesterday.

The teachers would be sent to South-East Asia as well as to Bangaladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Read the full story from The Star Online

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May 21, 2013

Events | Singapore | Republic of Korea

Upcoming events in Korea, Singapore

Teaching-English"A quick reminder of two major events coming up in Asia in the next week.

The Korea TESOL National Conference 2013 will be held this weekend, May 25-26, at the Korea National University of Education. The conference brings together several key concepts in contemporary TESOL (including professional development, second language acquisition, theory informing practice, classroom-centered research projects, and pedagogy) into a meaningful theme, Developing Professionally: Plug-and-Play SLA Pedagogy, which seeks to provide teachers with practical ideas that can be readily applied in their classrooms.

The international plenary speaker is Dr. Keith Folse, an internationally renowned scholar and lecturer. Perhaps best known for his many books on grammar, he is an Associate Professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida. Invited guest speakers include Dr. Kim Jeong-Ryeol (President of the Korea Association of Foreign Languages Education) and Robert S. Murphy, a leading voice for “neuroELT” in Asia.

KOTESOL website

Teaching-English"At the National University of Singapore, the CELC Symposium 2013 will be held between May 27-29. It is the fourth international symposium for English language teachers held by the Centre for English Language Communication, and combines classroom-based research paper presentations, workshops, demonstrations, poster sessions, and colloquia to give presenters and participants an enriching professional experience. This year's theme is Alternative Pedagogies in the English Language and Communication Classroom and the keynote speakers are professors Christopher Candlin (Macquarie University), Ulla Connor (Indiana University), William Grabe (Northern Arizona University), and Ann Johns (San Diego State University).

CELC Symposium 2013 website

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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 Asia

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

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