Essays on English in Japan

Getting Real in the Classroom: What about Students as Experts?

Many others have highlighted the necessity of experiencing real and authentic opportunities to communicate in English classes in Japan. Getting real in schools will involve changing the roles that teachers and students assume. As long as the model applied is teacher as distributor of knowledge and students as recipients of this knowledge, authentic opportunities in the classroom for using English will remain out of reach. That paradigm needs to be transformed in ways to narrow the gap between teachers and students, or possibly make it blurry.


Unconscious English

I’m sitting on my back porch on a sunny Sunday afternoon talking with two of my students who went overseas after they graduated. I had not seen them since they graduated, so they were both anxious to tell me everything that happened to them over the last couple years. They spoke in much, much better English than when they were in my seminar. One of them had become a volunteer helping to build projects overseas with young people from all over the world. The other had quit his boring computer job after a year and taken off for Canada to study English.

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「Essays on English in Japan」へ、ようこそ。名前のとおり、英語のエッセーについて日本で語ろうという場所です。このサイトは僕の著書『僕、ニッポンの味方です アメリカ人大学教授が見た「日本人の英語」』をきっかけに誕生しました。まだ始まったばかりですが、新しいエッセーを随時更新します。今のところ、掲載されているエッセーの大半は『僕、ニッポンの味方です』に収録されている日本語のエッセーの英文ですが、あらゆる話題の新しいエッセーを紹介していくのでお見逃しなく。あなたのお気に入りのサイトになりますように。読むことと考えることを楽しみましょう!


Welcome to this site!

Welcome to Essays on English in Japan. This site is just what it says: essays about English in Japan. This website goes together with my book, 僕は、ニッポンの味方です! An Anti-Grammar Manifesto—The Other Side of English, released by Media Factory Publishers in March 2009. Though this website is just starting, it will have new essays all the time. For now, most of the essays are English versions of the Japanese essays in that book, but keep checking back to find new essays on all kinds of topics. Hope you like it! Happy reading and thinking!
March 20, 2009

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About The Author

Michael is currently teaching at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan, in the American Literature section of the English Department. More information in the About Me page.