TEN REASONS WHY ENGLISH LEARNING IN JAPAN FAILS
by Charles Jannuzi, University of Fukui, Japan
Here is a list of brief summaries of all the reasons, with links to all ten reasons as they appeared in serial form at the JPN HEO Blog.
Reason #1: Japan is linguistically and culturally self-sufficient--so most Japanese do not have a pressing need to learn or use English (English is a FOREIGN language).
Reason #2: Japanese is not closely related to English--so it takes longer for beginners to learn how to learn English.
Reason #3: Japanese is not written with an alphabet--this makes literacy for EFL a hindrance to learning the language.
Reason #4: Learning to read and write Japanese fluently takes away too much time from the rest of the curriculum, including EFL learning.
Reason #5: Lack of national consensus on foreign language education--most agree change is needed, but it is hard to get agreement on concrete steps.
Reason #6: The situation at universities--negative washback from entrance exams and the preparation for them at the senior highs.
Reason #7: The situation at universities--elite academics, non-elite students, mismatch of expectations, poor results with general education studies.
Reason #8: A lack of EFL programs, specialties, majors, minors, concentrations.
Reason #9: The foreign language teaching and learning 'culture'. That is, the overall approach to teaching and learning EFL (and these are collaborative activities) that is specific to Japan.
Reason #10: The language teaching 'profession' in Japan. There is a lack of serious and useful teacher training and professional development. In higher education, those who are most often designated to teach EFL courses have backgrounds in literature, linguistics, and teacher training, not actual EFL teaching.