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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class: News and Current Events in Japan, Season 1 - Lesson 16, Elementary School English Education
In schools across Japan, English as a foreign language is being revamped.
In this lesson, we'll learn about this news story.

Lesson focus

In the current course of study, special "foreign language activities" classes are established once a week in the 5th and 6th grades of elementary school.
The classes are about encountering foreign languages (mainly English) through songs and games.
Because it is not a "subject," teachers emphasize the "overall enjoyment of coming into contact with a foreign language" and do not give specific grades.
Learning activities, such as "listening" and "speaking," are central.
However, this will change greatly in the next course of study.
First, the current "foreign language activities" will be from the 3rd and 4th grade in elementary schools, and from the 5th and 6th grade, "English" will become a "subject."
"Foreign language activities" will start at an earlier age, and "reading" and "writing" will now be taught seriously from the 5th and 6th grade.
It's worth noting that "English" will become a "subject" from the 5th and 6th grade of elementary school, and clear grades will be given.
Furthermore, content such as "third person" and "past tense" are currently learned in junior high school, but these will be added to the content to be learned in elementary school.
Many Japanese people are not good at English and have long been criticized for their English being useless after 6 years of learning.
Therefore, it is natural that the country aims to train worldwide talent, trying to put more effort into English education.
However, there are still many problems, such as securing human resources to teach "English" as a subject in elementary schools.
The burden on teachers who must basically teach all subjects by themselves will increase even more.
Moreover, many people firmly hold the opinion that the Japanese language should come first, rather than English.
The full introduction of the next course guidelines for elementary schools is in the fiscal year 2020, and it will draw attention to what extent such problems are resolved by then.


Those are the key facts about the elementary school English education in Japan.
If you want to find the related Japanese keywords, make sure to check out the lesson notes.
Okay, that’s all for this lesson. Thank you for listening everyone, and keep listening for more of the most talked about news stories in Japan!