English Teaching in Japan to Change in 2020

The English curriculum in Japan is scheduled to change once again in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics. With this renewed push, the Ministry of Education hopes to perform better globally in standardized tests as well as in business.

The changes, compared to current situations are:

  • English will be a mandatory subject from the 3rd grade (elementary school) for the entire nation. Currently, municipalities decided to study, or not to study, English as an integrated subject or as conversational English. English has only been mandatory starting from the 5th grade from 2011 or so.
  • English will be taught using immersion and other modern methods in junior high school. Currently, English is grammar-based but includes some communicative elements.
  • English classes will use debates and discussions in senior high schools. Currently, most schools focus on the vocabulary and grammar necessary for college entrance exams.

The timeline for the changes:

  • 2016-2017: Finalize plans.
  • 2020: Implement 3rd grade English.
  • 2021: Implement junior high English.
  • 2022: Implement senior high English.
  • Of course, plans can change. However, teachers should start preparing for the future now. Start by studying some English!

    Source: Feature: Japan eyes revising school-based English teaching curriculums as global proficiency wanes | GlobalPost.

    Image: John W. Schulze