Kitakyushu JALT:

Dichotomies and Issues in Japanese Elementary School English Education ? A Tale of Two Teachers

Date: Saturday, February 9th, 2008 Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Speaker: David Latz and James Burdis

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is implementing a comprehensive push for English lessons in elementary schools. As of 2004, MEXT claimed over 90 per cent of elementary schools had conducted some form of English education. MEXT also aims for native speaker Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) to be present in the majority of English language classes in elementary schools.

David Latz and James Burdis will give a snapshot of elementary school English education, and encourage discussion on some of the issues arising from MEXT policy. They will present a timeline of MEXT's policy reforms for English education in elementary schools, and give accounts of their respective experiences in public and private elementary schools, and how English has been introduced in these contexts.

They will then open the floor to discussion of some of the dichotomies and issues associated with English in elementary schools, such as native vs. non-native teachers, team taught vs. solo lessons, and dispatch teachers vs. teachers as faculty.

It is the presenters' hope that the audience gain an understanding of the scale of MEXT policy, and an insight into some of the issues that will affect teachers and students, the effects of which could arguably be of lasting consequence in their educational lives.

David Latz is a Brisbane-born Australian who has been teaching in Japan since 1999. He has taught in a range of workplaces, from conversation schools to the university level. He is currently employed at both Kyushu Kyouritsu and Shimonoseki City universities. His present professional interests include the teaching of pragmatics-based conversation strategies and the use of the Immediate Method in university English classes.

James Burdis is a British educator who has been teaching English in Japan since 1999. He holds an Honors BA in Linguistics and a Certificate in Elementary School Teaching of English and Maths He currently Senior English Teacher at MGSG Elementary School in Kitakyushu.

Organization: Kitakyushu Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Kitakyushu JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1000 yen

Venue: Kitakyushu International Conference Center (a 5-minute walk from the Kokura train station for shinkansen, JR train)

Location: Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan


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