From the 1st grade of junior high school, Japanese students begin learning English. Each Board of Education in each prefecture or locale chooses from three different textbooks. These books are: the above New Horizon, New Crown and Sunshine. The differences between these textbooks is minable; all three cover the same vocabulary and grammar points.
The first page in the English textbook is dedicated to educating the young Japanese mind of how people greet one another around the planet.
This is followed by learning simple greetings in English and the English alphabet.
Students then begin to learn the basics. In the above case – “This” and “That” This is my desk. That is your desk.
As the students study there way through the text, each exercise or unit, introduces new vocabulary and new syntax which the students are expected to memorize.
It is important to note here, that English is taught by Japanese teachers who, for the most part, are unable to speak English themselves. Memorization is how Japanese students study all subjects. The focus is on passing tests and high school examinations. This is type of learning is, I feel, the main weakness in Japan’s education system. Memorization in subjects like math and science is find but in English? No. It is because of this method of study that many Japanese lack any kind of creativity. Students are, generally, not taught to think and create but to listen, copy and remember. Japanese people are experts at copying and improving technology but actually inventing or creating something from nothing is not their forte.
sensei – teacher or someone considered knowledgable. 先生
seito – school or university student.生徒
gakko – school 学校
chugakkou-Junior high school 中学校
kyouiku- education in Japan 教育
kyoukasho -textbooks 教科書