Published international research low by Japanese

Compared to the world growth in publishing at eighty-percent Japan is falling behind at just 14%.  Figures given this morning showed exchange to America has fallen from the peak of over 47,000 students to under 19,000. Furthermore, money put into research has dropped dramatically.  If Japan is to compete academically it will need to increase…More

The “hidden” poverty in Japan and its effect on the future

A documentary on tonight’s NHK titled “The Hidden Poverty” said 1-in-6 children are under the living in poverty. Only until recently has the government began surveying this. What makes it hidden is that families are finding ways to make ends meet but at the expense of the children education. Some senior high school students are taking on…More

Don’t blame the computers for poor scores

Recent PISA score (shown in today’s newspaper) from the OECD has shown Japan has dropped from 4th to 8th in the ranking for Reading. A government official was quoted as saying the lower score was due to the change to an all-computerised testing system, and that students were confused as to how to answer questions.…More

Hideo Kageyama Rocks

According to The Japan News (formerly The Daily Yomiuri) renowned Japanese educator Hideo Kageyama (homepage in Japanese) will be release a rock song entitled ‘Benkyo Shiyoze’ (Let’s Study!) on 8 May. You have to hand it to Prof. Kageyama who is now advisor to the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education. His techniques for motivating students are…More

Introduction of elite language education at Tokyo University

It’s about time such a program was introduced anywhere in Japan. Tokyo University will start streaming some students into an elite language program to groom future global leaders (13 July 2012, Daily Yomiuri). Although many unversities in Japan have something similar running nothing with such vision and aim is available. Tertiary institutions have to take…More

What has Zen got to do with English language teaching?

Everything. “Revisiting” my master in Zen on YouTube the other day I was compelled to think about what it means to be a language student and how it relates to Zen. It seems to me many of the students I teach unnecessarily limit themselves with a psychological barrier – they believe they will never achieve…More

Do Japanese really need compulsory English?

In today’s Daily Yomiuri there was an article about the results from a survey of 3,225 middle school students on their perception about English. The survey conducted by the National Institute for educational Policy Research found only eleven percent of students want to find work which requires English. But seventy percent also said they believed…More

Three things Tokyo University students have in common

I was reminded by Stephen Krashen’s post on reading, access to books, and school performance about the three things Tokyo University students have that help them get into the University – bookshelves (with books of course, and the more the better), a globe (to help them see the world differently (or is it correctly)), and…More

Respect for teachers – Japan at the bottom of the heap

According to a quiz question on Sekai no Hate Made Itte Q (The Quiz Show that Goes to the Ends of the Earth [for answers]) Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, The Philippines and Romania rank first (with 100%) as countries in which their tecahers are respected most by their students. Second was Italy and Third was…More