Ask Ibaraki JET PAs #008

Question:

Sometimes my classes are taught in 80-90% Japanese. When this happens, the lesson plans and worksheets for the students are also in Japanese. Is there a policy that team teaching lessons should be in English?

Answer:

Answered by: Emily

According to the Japanese Ministry of Education, as of 2013 all high-school English lessons are supposed to be conducted in English. However, at certain levels of schools, it may be difficult to conduct lessons entirely in English.Especially at low-level schools or schools with “false beginners,” some teachers find it useful to include Japanese on worksheets or to help explain activities and give directions to students in Japanese. While some ALTs find that having occasional Japanese explanation helps lesson flow at low-level schools, if you can’t understand what’s going on in the lesson, or if you don’t know how to help, that’s definitely something to talk to your JTEs about. Depending on the students’ level, it may be worthwhile to suggest using more English on the worksheets, giving directions in English first, or ask your JTE to paraphrase your directions in simpler English if students don’t understand. If none of these are acceptable options, ask the JTEs if they could give you an English lesson plan, make translated worksheets for you, or meet with you before class to explain what directions they will give to the students and how you can help. It’s okay so say so if you don’t understand what’s going on in class. In fact, mentioning that at the beginning of a conversation might help your JTEs understand where you’re coming from and why you’re speaking to them about it.  It’s important that you understand the flow and content of the lesson in order to be effective in your role as an ALT, and you are team-teaching an English class, so don’t be afraid to ask for more English explanation where you need it.

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