Here are a few English headlines from Japan. What are your thoughts?
* JET programme still going strong: Japan to invite 4,334 youths from 36 countries under JET program
* Speaking confidence: Ordering a Big Mac in English is scarier than playing in the World Cup says Honda – (I’ve only found this reference in English)
* Crazy quote from a English expert: “Even if children learn English when they are very young, they won’t be able to speak it properly without relearning the meanings and usage of words as they get older.” from this article. Guess she needs to start using GE!
*The Yomirui also reported that 30,000 schools to get digital whiteboards (but their page has expired). Get yourself one for $40 if your school just puts the expensive one in a store cupboard because no one can use it – and then moan they have no budgets!
*But then Education Ministry wants to look at health risks of IT
* Which fits in well with a BBC report of Japan’s Low-tech belly
Just to add a few random thoughts to your random thoughts.
Since the JET program’s main goal (or so I hear) is to introduce Japanese culture to those around the globe, I’d say it has done a very good job. It only looks like a waste of money if you compare the salaries to increase in English abilities. However when you take into account all the ex-JETS (Richard included?) you may say that in the long run in has been successful, too.
As for technology. My schools now have a big screen TV in each classroom. It’s funny to think that I am about the only teacher who uses it regularly (if at all) thanks to GE.
As for the “crazy quote by an English expert”. I am inclined to agree with this crazy quote. I have seen young fluent speakers (under the age of 6) lose their fluency if they don’t have any more contact with that language. It would be interesting to see if children retain language better via songs. (GE)
As for McD’s, It took me about 2 years to be able to ‘correctly’ pronounce the Japanese version of this restaurant (Makudonarudo).
and last, I am convinced life in Japan would be better once you have more women in executive positions. You get all the high tech TVs but still struggle with a good clothes dryer, child rearing support and care of the elderly. This may sound sexist, but I can’t help but feel Japan needs more of a variety of input, and that comes from more of a variety of the background of the executives.