English in Elementary Schools to Increase to Twice a Week for 6th Graders

In the most recent news, the Gunma Board of Education is to mandate that elementary schools in Maebashi, Numata, and Tsumagoimura increase English lessons from once a week to twice a week for 6th graders, about 70 times per year. Not only that, but English will now be an official subject, with report cards and evaluations.

This follows the Japanese Ministry of Education’s plan to increase English to 3 times a week for 5th and 6th grades, as well as introduce official English classes to the 3rd and 4th grades by 2018.

Here are a few questions for the future:

  • How will Japanese teachers respond?
  • Will the ALT system change as well? Especially since ALTs currently may not have time to teach twice a week.
  • Will the communicative-focus of the current system change, and what or how will things be evaluated?

Image: US Navy.