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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Blood!

Well it`s that time in the ALT year, for changing of the guard.

The school year start s in April here, so Interac and private ALT`s often change at this time. JET`s change to coincide with the Western school year.

We`ve just been joined by one new ALT in Ninohe, 1 in Kunohe and 1 in Karumai. And we`ve just found out who the new JET`s will be in my town as well. I`m superpsyched! (Although I really am going to miss Dan and Tyler :()

One of the new ALTs is married, supporting our theory of sterotypes here. For example, I replaced a black ALT, and I theroise that my post will be given to a Black JET until a black JET does something wrong. Dan`s married and so is his successor. That post will probably go to a married person forever.

At the schools, there are new teachers as well. Japan shuffles teachers around from school to school every few years. The only addition to my life this year, that I really can`t stand is the new Elementary English School book. They`ve decided, to make English teacing in the 5th and 6th grade of elementary school 'official'. SO now it has a text book. It doesn`t come on stream til next year, but they've started using the text book here.

I don`t like the book. For a million reasons.

Logistically: It`s set up for two people to teach together. The form teacher and ALT are supposed to teach the lesson together. Or rather, the form teacher teaches and the ALT supports. None of my teachers have made any effort to do any more than they usually do. Additionally, the teacher`s guide is written only in Japanese. I read enough Japanese to be able ot understand it, but not fully. The book itself is pretty much all pictures, so it`s indecipherable without the teacher`s guide.

The book is a step backwards, because the children will be taught things that many of them have been learning since Kindergarten, and will be taught again in first grade at Junior High. IN addition, it gives the impression, if not explicitly stating, that the importance is on the activity and not on any learning of English. That`s 5 steps in the wron gdirection, Japan. I`ve also noticed that they`ve changed the name of the class. Grades 1-4 have English class. 5 and 6 have Foreign language class... Hmmm... one wonders.
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