Nara JALT:

Controversies over the Current Policy of English Education by the MEXT and the Possible Contributions of Native and Non-native English Teachers

Date: Saturday, June 16th, 2012 Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Speaker: Hidetami Nakai, Tenri University

With the ever increasing dominance of English as the primary global language world-wide, many diverse perspectives about the status of English have become established. While many appreciate its usefulness and significance and try to enhance English education at local levels, some are cautious about the dominance of English and its negative effects on the indigenous languages and foreign language teaching. Apparently Monbukagaku-shou (MEXT) has taken the former standpoint and is now setting forth yet another series of policies to reform and reinforce English education in Japan. One particularly controversial educational policy is the recent requirement that all Japanese high school English teachers conduct their classes exclusively in English.

With these trends in mind, Prof. Nakai will first summarize the controversies surrounding the status of English in the current global communities as well as in Japan and secondly, will discuss how, in addition to skill training, additional purposes of English education (such as culture studies) can be retained and promoted in Japan. Finally, the potential roles of native-speaking and non-native speaking English teachers in English education at present in Japan will be summarized. Japanese English teachers who are interested in this issue are encouraged to join with native-speaking English teachers in this vital discussion.

Biography: Prior to his current position at Tenri University, NAKAI Hidetami taught English for 23 years at several public high schools in Nara Prefecture. In 1981, he received an educational fellowship sponsored by the Australian government and studied TESL at the University of Canberra. Mr. Nakai later attended Temple University in Osaka where he received his M.S.Ed. degree in TESOL. Now in his 15th year at Tenri University, he chairs the foreign language department and is in charge of English teacher training. One of his greatest professional joys is helping students who want to become middle and high school English teachers. The focus of his research includes English education in Japanese public schools; foreign language policies; and teaching pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca.

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

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 500 yen

Venue: Yumekaze Hiroba, Nara (map)

Location: Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan


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