Today, my wife and I brought our daughter to the park near our apartment for a little fun with blowing bubbles. The park is very well used. In the early evening, many dog owners meet there to allow their dogs to socialize, and many children play there in the late afternoon. There’s also a 250 metre track that’s great for joggers and walkers. Since we were with our daughter, several women approached us and couldn’t stop saying “kawaii!” They kept talking and talking about her. However, there was one person who approached me and wanted to talk to me.
She was about 8 years old, and with a Japanese accent, said to me, “Hello.”
I answered, “Hello.”
Then she surprised me and said, “What is her name?”
So I said, “It’s Tomoe.”
That seemed to satisfy her, and she went back to playing. Later on, as we were leaving, I made sure to say good bye to her. Our neighbours seem to be very kind and friendly. Even though our area isn’t the most beautiful, it does have some very nice people.
Japan is falling behind. The state of English education in public schools isn’t very good right now. I don’t think it ever has been. It’s curious how this country teaches English through junior and senior high school, yet the average person can barely speak any English. Why?
It’s quite simple. The way the students are taught English is for tests. They drill them on grammar and vocabulary, as well as reading comprehension, but not speaking. Tests are everything in Japan. Unfortunately, tests don’t show how well someone can use the knowledge in practical situations, they show how well they can study. This system doesn’t encourage independent thought. Independence is something that threatens Japan’s culture of following the group. It may be good for teamwork, but it’s terrible for innovation. Many people don’t seem to understand this. This attitude is changing, but traditions hold strong still. And this is hurting education, which hurts industry. As one student I’ve taught said, “Japan is full of sheep.”
Unfortunately, a lot of English teachers in public schools don’t actually know English very well. I saw a junior high school textbook and couldn’t believe the awkward and unnatural English it used. You can’t expect someone to be good at English with that kind of education.
I’m not surprised Japan has the lowest TOEIC scores amongst its neighbours.
I teach English in Japan, and many of my students are children. They can be a lot of fun, or they can be very frustrating at times. But they can also say some of the funniest things in English. Here is a sample:
“I am garbage!” was randomly said by a boy.
When being told about “Be quiet, please,” a girl said “Shut up, please.”
One kid has a fascination with bodily functions. We were talking about ice cream flavours he liked, and he said “I like doodoo ice cream.”
When spelling out 6, many kids will say “s-e-x.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the knew what they were saying.
One girl keeps accidentally saying “block scissors paper.”
I was drawing a family tree on the board to talk about family members, when a girl drew a heart between my sister and I, then said “Jay Dee loves sister? Love love!”
When I ask if the kids can guess my age, many say 25-30, but one said 50. I’m 35, by the way. Most think I’m younger than I am.
And one more. A kid proudly exclaimed to me, “I am Japan!” The other kids burst out laughing.
If you teach kids, what are some of the funniest things they’ve said to you?
Filed under Humour, Teaching
I usually don’t talk about work on my blog, but I just had to post about this. This week, we’ve put a new movie on our school website, and it was an idea I had while reading one of our books. It was written by me (though there’s no script, and it was mostly ad libbed), but it was acted by all of us at the school. So, please go to my school’s website and click on the pink box that says “Click here!” You’ll see why I said “coffee” in the title of this post.
On a side note, I need a haircut. I wanted to get one on Monday, but the weather wasn’t very good.