The ‘katakana effect’ and teaching English in Japan
|ASSUNTA MARTIN a1|
a1 Teaches in the Oklahoma State University English Language Institute, in Stillwater
THIS discussion of the condition of English teaching in Japan looks at some deeply rooted national educational and cultural attitudes, including in particular the impact of ‘the katakana effect’ on speaking and listening among teachers and students alike. A unique configuration of cultural, historical, sociological, and linguistic factors presents Japanese teachers with serious challenges. The Ministry of Education, faced with a rising dropout rate, cases of bullying, accusations against irresponsible teachers, and complaints from parents, agreed in 2000 to adopt reforms. The resulting curriculum and methodology changes necessarily address issues relating to English. Although the reforms aim to produce a generation able to thrive socially and professionally in the international community, entrenched beliefs and values threaten their implementation, particularly with regard to a more natural and creative way of teaching and learning Japan's international language of choice.