Interviewee
Dwight Ashton
(日本語訳は こちら へどうぞ)
―― I hear you were in Korea teaching English before you came to Japan. Did you notice differences between the English education system in Japan and that in Korea?

I am an Assistant Teacher in Japan

The main difference between the school I was working at in Korea and the school I'm working at here in Japan is I am just an assistant teacher here in Japan. In Korea, I was the main teacher, and I had no assistant Korean teacher.

The whole class was in English, students spoke to me in English and I spoke to them in English, with very little translation. Sometimes I did a little bit of translation but mostly everything was in English. I had to plan the classes and understand all the materials myself.

Here in Japan, I really don't do any teaching, I mainly do pronunciation work. So I correct their pronunciation. I will drill questions, meaning I will ask a question or say a particular grammar structure and they will reply with and answer or repeat what I have said.


Big Difference is the Amount of English

And another big difference is the amount of English used in the classroom. In Korea, I would say 95% English. They use English to teach English. But in Japan, they use Japanese to teach English. I would say totally opposite, 95% Japanese.

In Korea the system was a little different each class was 45 minutes. The classes were much smaller so I could do a lot more one on one work with the students.

He was the main teacher in Korea.
―― How many students were in your class?

From 10 to 15, sometimes less than 10.

―― Was there a Korean English teacher with you in the classroom?

No. I was in the classroom on my own. I spent 45 minutes with them teaching the material. I had a Korean teacher that was my partner. After I taught them 45 minuets she or he, (the Korean teacher) went in and they taught them for another 45 minutes. So the Korean teacher gave them more translation work and concentrated more on grammar. But in my class the focus was speaking and using the English that they were learning.

I found it worked out really well. Because if there was something I couldn't explain to my Korean students, when the Korean teacher came, they could explain to them.


Students Wait for the Translation

The problem in Japan is when you have a Japanese English teacher and a native English speaker in the same room, the students don't listen to the foreigner, they wait for the translation.

I feel like I shouldn't be there. I'm not needed. If they're going to translate everything why do they need me? The students don't even try to understand what I am saying because they know if they wait they will be given a translation.

This makes their brains lazy, they need to try to find meaning in what I'm saying without relying on the translation, using their own skills and knowledge to translate for themselves.