Gifts Image

English In Japan

Dec 9, 2018 | Accents, Articles, Canadian, Education, English

QR Link

Access this article on a mobile device

QR Code


Do you think you got a good education?


Right click this link to download the mp3.


Right click this link to download a printable PDF file for this conversation.


José Cruz: Sometimes I wonder if um the work that we do as English teachers is actually bringing any um fruition. (Yeah) Sometimes I read articles like this and I think, “Oh my, what the heck?”

Charlie Bell: But I mean, it de- depends on where you work. I mean obviously you work in a pretty decent university. (Rela- that’s relative) Yeah but I mean, these kind of results, uh when I- when I worked at a junior high school as an ALT a couple of years ago, I was in you know– I was in a really rural area and seeing these kind of results, you know a zero on a writing test, that’s not outside of you know, my my imagination. Like, I-I can understand in a class of 30 kids, there were like, five or six kids that were asleep or, (Yup) you know, stealing motorbikes or whate- whatever (Yeah yeah) it was they were doing. So at the school I was at, this makes sense. But I don’t know exactly you know where these kids are from, (Mm) their their situation.

José: Mm mm, Uh well of course um you know you’ve got a whole plethora, the whole range of the types of junior high schools in Japan. (Yeah) But I think that’s why it’s important to look at this as a representation of the big picture. So even if you (Mm hmm) include the relatively higher level junior high schools, and the relatively you know, perhaps in your experience too, (lower level yeah) lower level, apparently this statistic works out, zero on the writing section.

Charlie: Uh It- (You know. Right?) But- but you know- there- there are, is it- is it better that they got a zero? Or is it- would you rather see, which I know happens from experience, teachers just giving them a good score, (Now you) for doing nothing.

José: Yeah now that opens up the entire other discussion about um because people, I-I especially I think, instructors who look at things like this coming out of Japan and don’t appreciate the situation that we have to deal with as- as native speaker instructors here in Japan, of how twisted the education system is in Japan about English.

Charlie: Yeah it’s screwed up. Yeah.

José: It is really screwed up. I mean, why did they score zero? And it’s not because of you know, the ministry’s emphasis on things like reading and writing. The ministry over-emphasizes reading and writing it’s just that (Mm hmm) it instructs it- the instruction done (Yeah) in reading and writing is so bad.

Charlie: It’s- But it’s it’s not- Oh it is bad. And it’s boring. (Yeah) And the, you know the reason that these kids are getting zero is because they’re just not focusing. And the reason they’re not focusing is because the teaching’s boring. (Mm) And you know, they’ve got- and in Japan, I mean, I don’t know any other country that has, you know these ALTs, these lang- you know, native assistants (Mm hmm) Uh, I don’t know any other country that has that system. There probably is. But you know they’ve got that really great resource and they’re completely under- you know, underused. They’re not they’re not used properly at all.


What do you think of English tests?

What are the best methods for teaching or learning language?

We don’t have any pointers for this conversation, but if you have a question, please ask in the ‘Comments’ below. We might use your question as the base for a future pointer.

Take the quiz

QR Link

Access this article on a mobile device

QR Code

GoldFish Audio cover


José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Charlie image

Charlie Bell


Berkshire, England


  • 539 words (including pause words)
  • 2:59 minutes in the mp3 audio
  • 180.67 words per minute for this article

Continue practicing your English fluency with the related posts above, or navigate to other authentic conversations using the Previous and Next buttons below.


To spritz only part of this conversation, highlight the text you want and click the “SPRITZ NOW!” button. Clicking the button without any text highlighted will spritz the entire page.

To quickly adjust the words per minute (wpm), you can use the left and right arrow keys.

Writing comments will help your English writing skills. Feel free to ask questions and share opinions. We try to respond to all comments we get on the site.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!