Will the New English Curriculum for 2013 work?

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Tim Stewart、 Kyoto University



The Ministry of Education’s revised curriculum for 2013 details system-wide changes aimed at improving the content and delivery of English education. The proposed changes mark an attempt at designing curricula that are integrated from elementary school upwards. Central to the new curriculum guidelines is the concept of gengo ryoku (language ability), implying a coordinated focus on expression in Japanese across the curriculum. It is assumed that skills learned in the first language will transfer more easily to foreign language instruction. This article examines the new Course of Study for senior high school following a brief review of previous curriculum documents. The key concern is whether the new ambitious English curriculum can succeed. A number of issues surrounding this question are raised that point to the need for a fundamental shift in thinking about teaching, learning and educational policy in general.