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Abstract

Encouragement of shaking up the English education overemphasized on passive learning in Japan. In this globalizing world, English have come to play the most pivotal role in the integration of people as a communication tool, many of whom usually have their mother language apart from English. Almost all people have studied English during their compulsory education years, or at least supposed to have. Some even go to a country where English is the nationally spoken language and attend a university learning there to spur their English skills. The number of people who are fluent enough to communicate with foreigners in English as a second language is increasing exponentially, particularly in developed countries. However, even among developed countries is one country where only few people have a good command of English: Japan. Many of the people have only a poor command of English. This one of a few shortcomings of the economic superpower is ascribable undeniably to the educational system: it is too passive. Having the above statements, Japanese government and schools should convert the passive way of teaching English to an educational system focusing on improving communicative skills. If do so, almost all the people will come to be capable of communicating with foreigners, work and live anywhere around the world, and thus Japan can become richer than any other country.

To start with, many Japanese people are almost unable to convey their feelings and opinions through English both verbally and in writing, albeit studying many years in school. Ironically, they have to learn English in schools for at least six years as compulsory education. Moreover, in Japan, 59.2% of the students of in Japan attend universities (MEXT, 2011, p. 10). The entrance exams of universities in japan, especially of top-notch schools, have an English test inquiring about profound comprehension and meticulous knowledge of English. Nevertheless, hardly can they, even those who ace English tests, communicate with their English skills, because the very passive education of teaching English in Japan hinder them from building up communicative abilities. As it stands, teachers in most schools instruct English in the way that almost exclusively drilling English grammar and lexical knowledge is highlighted. This passive education of English is adopted in part so they can gain a matriculation of a prestigious school, which imposes an entrance test as stated above. As for this passive teaching method, Baskin, et al. (1996) say the following on their literature: The way Japanese students study English, putting emphasis on learning English grammar and vocabulary to pass entrance exams that high school and college offers, is too passive. They do almost not make use of English in classes. For

example, imagine that you have passively been lectured on how to play the piano without actually using the piano, then asked to play a piece. Needless to say, you are not able to do this; you may become indignant at being taught so (para.1). The passive English learning does not improve practical skills just like a piano lesson where a pupil never uses the piano. Undoubtedly, present English education in Japan hinder students from improving an active English ability. Secondly, more Japanese firms are enthusiastically choosing to employ applicants based on whether she/he is internationalized or not: have communicative English skills or not. Now that many of the well-compensated companies have begun to judge whether applicants are eligible by benchmarking their English abilities on the basis of TOEIC score, lots of students scramble to work toward attaining high score on TOEIC. In fact, according to Bloomberg, in Japan, a massive enterprise Rakuten has set out to make the employees immersed in English within the company in part by making use of English in meetings (Japan CEOs, 2011, para. 11). In this way, many Japanese firms take to means to get their firms more internationalized; job-seeking students who take a high-paid job cannot enjoy an advantage against other students, unless they acquire proficient English skills. Likewise, there is emerging a bid in Japan that some

firms try to set up a favorable environment for the job seekers who have an experience to have attended schools outside of Japan in order to advance their communicative English skills. According to the Economist, for instance, Keidanren, a large business institution, have pinned down a plan to provide an exclusive job exchange for returnees from 2012, alluding to the inconvenience of hiring schedule in Japan for them (Japanese Firms, 2011, para. 5). This trend makes it easier for returnees to find a job in Japan, but makes it more difficult for students not to afford to study abroad due to lack of money to gain a job. The latter will have difficulty keeping level-pegging with the former in job-seeking competition of an internationalized society. Consequently, Japan should forge an educational environment that every student can naturally pick up adequate communicative English skills prior to graduate. Lastly but not the least, the best way to beat down other countries economically is to foster fighters who have an ability to speak and write English that is most globally used as a language. Of course, since the present Japanese economy banks heavily on domestic demand and internal demand occupies only a part of GDP, it may seem correct that Japan can stand up against the surge of globalization. However, Japanese government rather intends to make Japanese market more open to the world in order to dig Japan out of moribund economy hole. Now, Noda, the current Japanese Prime

Minister, declared that Japan would join the negotiating table for an inclusive free-trade agreement: TPP. Take a look at the outline of TPP for more on it: More than twenty negotiating groups have met over nine rounds to develop the legal texts of the agreement and the specific market access commitments the TPP countries will make to open their markets to each others goods, services and government procurement (USTR, 2011, para. 4). The bottom line is that the content of TPP includes liberalization not only of trading, but also of flow of varied services. This means, by joining the TPP, it is expected that many workers from abroad will come en masse to Japan, and Japanese workers, too, will be allowed to other TPP affiliate countries more easily than before. However, many Japanese people do not have a good command of English, so it will be likely for Japan to face an uphill battle with affiliate countries, where English is publically spoken. As for Asian countries as well, Korea, which is now in English Fever (Park, Jin-Kyu, 2009, p. 1), has a communicative English education from elementary schools (Fouser, 2011, para. 4). On the other hand, Chinese also struggle to study English as if haunted by it (R.L.G, 2011, para. 7). Therefore, Japanese must stop spending enormous time on the rote learning of English, and concentrate on learning communicative English.

Otherwise, Japan will fail to win the economic competition in the globalizing world. Japan needs an overhaul of on-going English education. It is to be predicted that pedagogical conservatives will demur on this motion by saying that almost no Japanese people need communicative English skills in their life. Indeed, Makoto Naruke (2011) opines that all but a part of Japanese should learn Japanese and the culture of Japanese without dedicating much time to trying to acquire perfect English skills in vain (pp. 6-21). Surely, ineffective English teaching inhibits Japanese from studying other things, and useless English skills, which are acquired through the teaching, does not benefit them. Nonetheless, if Japan introduces communicative English teaching to language education from elementary school to university, Japanese students will be allowed to steadily improve their communicative skills while being a student. Thus, they become fluent enough to communicate in English without studying abroad or in a private English school. As with educational conservatives, some incumbent English teachers, not native ones, will grunt that it is so tough for them to teach communicative English their pupils, they are not confident in themselves to pull it off. The complaint would sound plausible, if they were to study hard to pick up communicative English skills sufficient to teach it. Of course, Japanese government should compel each school to employ native English teacher; they are

capable of assisting non-native teachers with poor communicative skills to progress the lecture successfully. By doing so, such non-native teachers will be able to augment their own communicative skills. To conclude, the passive way of Japanese English education should transform into the active type of concentrating on improving oral and writing English abilities. With a view to accomplishing it, without doubt, it is an imperative process for the Japanese government to step in establishing a concrete system of English teaching and implementing it. It may well cost an immense amount of time, money, effort to complete it. However, granted that until recently this country was the second biggest economic power, renewed Japan as a internationalized country must become a precursor in the more globalized, interacting world.