Speaking Education in Japanese High Schools: Teacher and Student Views

Page No.: 
Yohei Ito, Aichi Prefectural Showa Senior High School

In this study, I investigated the views of teachers and students on the teaching and assessment of English speaking skills in Japanese high schools. A closed-item questionnaire and follow-up interviews were conducted. The differences revealed in the questionnaire between teachers and students, between less and more experienced teachers, and the extent of emphasis on teaching and assessment were further investigated in the interview phase. In addition to a generally shared view that speaking is an important component of language competence, it was found that students did not feel confident taking speaking tests and that the educational background and experience of the teachers influenced their views on speaking. Furthermore, several important factors that constrain speaking assessment were identified. These findings have implications for the reform of Japanese university entrance examinations.