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Tests & Classes 2

Jan 7, 2017Canadian, Education, Female, Japanese

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What would you like to change about your school?


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José Cruz: First and second year you don’t really know who you are or what you want to be yet (Mm mm) But in third year you decide, “OK I want to be this, so I should take that class, oh and this class! This class!” Third year was the most interesting part. And fourth year, your- still very interesting much more (Mm-hmm) interesting than first year, but academically intellectually that was the best part. And then I see this in Japanese students (Yeah) what you just described and you’re- you’re not probably enjoying third year very much because you’re outside looking for jobs all the time.

Yamashita Haruka: Yeah I don’t really enjoy. And the classes are really boring. (Ha ha) Actually when I was in the first year- In the first year, you know we learned about the basic things like a lot of things and like wide and not really interesting. But in the second year we can learn something specific like we can, (Yeah) hmm.

José: You went crazy last year be- you took so many classes.

Haruka: I was crazy. Ha ha. Yes actually I was crazy. Like I took too many classes.

José: Mm mm. (Yes) But you probably learned a lot.

Haruka: Yup I learned a lot. I learned a lot. But that’s all. Like in the Japanese university uh student study – all- most of the student study for only two years. (Mm-hmm) Just for two years. (Mm-hmm) Like first year and second year and from third year we have to move on for the job uh, job hunting (Mm-hmm) and and the fourth year, we don’t really study and just finish the (Hmm) like what (Hmm) uh the the (Hmm) How do I say- (Applications?) No uh so- (Uh uh) How can I say sotsuron in English? (Your- your thesis) Thesis. (Your thesis) Yup. OK so (Your graduation thesis) Graduation thesis. So I have to finish graduation thesis and that’s all. Maybe we- I will go to I will go- I will have some trip and (Yeah) and that’s all.

José: See, I look at that and think, “what a waste,” (Yes) because it was so much more interesting for me (Yup) in my third year and fourth year in university.

Haruka: So that’s because I decided to go outside.

José: That’s “why” I decided to go outside.

Haruka: Yeah. That’s why I decided to go outside.

José: Mm mm. (Mm) And it’s kind of a shame because be uh- I was surprised just now you said, “oh my classes are so boring” and that’s actually an an interesting admission from your part, and I’ll admit…

Haruka: It sucks actually.

José: Yeah OK. So I’ll admit something else to you. (Alright yeah) A lot of teachers even in this university, um have admitted to me that they don’t think that- they don’t expect their language students to learn the language in this university. (Exactly) They think that their students, “Well if they really are motivated to learn, they’re going to go (“Go!”) overseas.”

Haruka: Yeah! They just say, “Go outside.” What?

José: And I’m- and I’m exactly the the- Well, what- why do we get paid? Why do we make them take classes? Well why don’t we just send them outside? Uh what is this university for?

Haruka: Yes! Every time I see that kind of teachers, I just I just really want to say, “Why did you decide to come here and teach that language?” But I cannot say.

José: I think you should. (Yeah. Oh really?) I think you should do that- if you’re sure you’re never going to meet them again (Mm-hmm) Um well no I shouldn’t- I shouldn’t give you this advice because that would be very controversial, (Hah OK) but once you graduate, you should say that…

Haruka: Yeah yeah yeah. I can say that.

José: …to these teachers because I have and and I feel like I’m the only person that actually sees this problem. I go, what? Where is our motivation as teachers. Do- Don’t we want- And and I think a lot of it is a similar attitude to the idea of TOEIC (Hmm Exactly). We don’t- we don’t have to teach so much because most of the work is being done by TOEIC (Mm mm) and if the students study TOEIC that’s really the most important thing. And that’s why a lot of teachers aren’t…

Haruka: To get a good score.

José: Right! Now if teachers are motivated to make sure that their students actually spoke the language in their classrooms I think you’d have a completely different university. (Yes. Yeah exactly!)


What is more important? Graduating from school or learning new things?

Should a student expect to become effective in a language by the time they graduate from university?

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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Yamashita Haruka image

Yamashita Haruka


Oita City, Oita


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  1. What an interesting conversation !! I couldn’t agree more with Haruka or Jose, either. A teacher’s job is to encourage and inspire, and teachers who frequently make negative comments to students, and who regularly discourage rather than encourage them, really ought to move on and make room for a new teacher. We are all human, and we are all probably affected by such “stinkin thinkin” from time to time, but if it’s a regular part of our attitude, it’s a real problem. Haruka’s candid thoughts are a powerful testimony to the effect teachers have on students, and since all teachers need an attitude adjustment sometimes, myself very much included, this conversation is a much needed reality check – thanks to Jose and Haruka for this very natural and heart to heart conversation !!

  2. I was stunned the first time I heard a teacher (a Westerner nonetheless) say that, “if students are truly interested in learning English they should get prepared to do their real studying in a homestay.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the conversation, Gary :)


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