Integrating a Functional Approach With Japanese Junior High School Teaching Practices

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Steven Asquith, Ichikawa City Board of Education

This paper details the changes necessary to integrate communicative language teaching (CLT) functional principles with weekly junior high school (JHS) English classes. Firstly, the JHS teaching context and the rationale for adopting a more functional approach are considered. Next, with reference to practical examples, I suggest ways of adapting the current approach, the roles of teachers, and evaluation practices to focus on meaningful interaction. This employs the use of rubrics, which allow the changes to be closely linked to the current curriculum and testing requirements. This can allay stakeholders’ concerns about relevance and efficacy. As the tasks described are highly adaptable, and many of the necessary resources are already in place, integration is possible without significant costs. Finally, I suggest that by adapting CLT to complement current practices, individual teachers and institutions can take the lead in reforming how the JHS curriculum is implemented.