Effective Implementation of Foreign Language Education Reform in Japan: What More Can Be Done?

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Michael Mondejar ,Linamaria Valdivia, Joël Laurier, Bill Mboutsiadis, Teachers College - Columbia University


From 2011-2013, the new Japanese Foreign Language Course of Study (CoS) will be implemented to improve foreign language education at the primary and secondary school levels. However, there seems to be a general lack of confidence in effectively applying new national guidelines in local contexts. To address this issue, we review the factors that influence Japanese foreign language education as well as the new CoS revisions. Utilizing literature and personal communication with EFL practitioners, we then put forth the following recommendations for successfully implementing the CoS revisions: (a) adopting theoretical perspectives and pedagogies from successful teaching programs; (b) developing competencies of Japanese teachers of English; (c) reforming assistant language teacher standards and hiring practices; (d) enhancing communication between educators and administrators; (e) integrating a World Englishes perspective; (f) establishing agency and communities of practice among stakeholders; (g) improving entrance examination standards; and (h) promoting more English-immersion education programs.