We are working to support the reform of English education led by The Ministry of education, culture, sport, science and technology (MEXT). In 2012, MEXT produced ‘the Five Proposals and Specific Measures for Developing Proficiency in English for International Communication’ in order to improve English education in Japan. As part of their initiatives, we have co-organised a symposium on assessment and evaluation related to the CEFR with MEXT. Also, we are providing teacher training sessions to teachers of the ‘hub school project’ which is one of their schemes running across Japan. We have a good relationship with teachers’ associations. In 2013, we will be working with Zen ei ren, which is the largest English school teachers’ network, and JACET (the Japan Association of College English Teachers) by joining their annual conferences.
The British Council also provides teacher training to boards of education and institutions across Japan. The aim of this training is to develop the skill of conducting lessons focused on communicative and productive skills, and it is closely connected to the recent revision of the curriculum. Also, we have worked with the National College of Teachers Development to send teachers to the UK for 2-month training courses. We also provide some training sessions to assistant language teachers through boards of education.
We have completed a mapping of British Council LearnEnglish Kids materials to the Japanese primary school curriculum and uploaded them to our website. To make them more user-friendly to teachers, we have created a user guide to TeachingEnglish, as well as LearnEnglish Teens and LearnEnglish, on our website and a bimonthly e-newsletter is issued for teachers, featuring some activities and articles from our online materials.
To promote global citizenship among the young people of Japan, the British Council has been commissioned by the Osaka Prefecture to coordinate and lead the ‘Osaka Global School’ project from 2012, calling upon our acknowledged experience and expertise. As part of the 9-month long programme, Japanese High School students get the opportunity to visit UK universities in the summer and also receive 58 hours of lessons before and after their visit. The focus of the classes is to improve their academic English skills and to prepare for the IELTS examination. This project is unique and involves a comprehensive approach with Exams, which offer Aptis and IELTS, and the Education team to promote Education UK.