A Study on the Teaching Environment for Middle-School Japanese Teachers - A Case Study of Training Course Participants in the Summer 1stClassforMiddleSchoolTeachers-
For this research, I conducted a survey on training course participants in the summer 1stclassformiddleschoolteachersinKyung-ki province in 2009 in order to explore these participants’ opinions about the training program and Japanese-language-teaching related meetings, their satisfaction with the current textbook and class environment, an alternative textbook they wish to use, and ideas about education on Japanese culture.
According to this survey, these teachers regard films and television dramas as their students’ primary areas of interest. The teachers also demonstrate their preference for listening practices using films, dramas, and animations. Television dramas are regarded as the media-text that they wish to utilize the most due to the fact that their students are frequent computer users who are able to watch Japanese dramas via subscription to various Internet sites. The teachers observe that their students’ interests in particular dramas and their actors often inspire their desire to learn Japanese language.
On the issue of Japanese culture, the teachers offer opinions about how difficult it is to teach courses on understanding authentic Japanese culture given the current education environment as well as the impossibility of providing courses on Japanese culture because of the school policies that focus on entrance exams. Their opinions include the lack of time to discuss Japanese culture because of the college-entrance-exam-focused class structure, the necessity for the improvement of the classroom environment (e.g., large number of students, lack of multi-media facilities), and the hope for the availability of videos related to publications and images on Japanese culture vis-à-vis the relatively easy access to photographs through the Internet search. They also comment on the need for an organization that provides and loans educational manuals and resources.
Teacher training programs aim at changing and improving the on-the-spot school education. Yet, the existing training programs for teachers are ineffective due to their lecture-oriented, cramming system, which results in little relevance to actual class environment. The survey includes a limited number of teachers who have received Japanese-language-teaching training, some of whom state that the language teaching training was not very helpful.
The majority of these teachers provide opinions about the need to expand overseas training opportunities and the necessity for periodical training programs to develop pedagogy that can be applied to an actual class environment. Furthermore, what is needed is a training program through which new teachers and more experienced teachers can exchange their know-how and useful information as well as teachers’ society such as Internet cafés for the purpose of sharing information. In addition, training programs for the incorporation of multimedia use, development of texts and resources utilizing ICT, diverse teaching strategies such as a game play that provides entertaining learning experience even in a small classroom.
A stronger interconnection between training programs and actual teaching environment is necessary in order to support effective classroom teaching. Therefore, it is required to develop a variety of teacher training systems that include tasks, discussions and debates, presentations on case studies, and collaborative learning in an effort to satisfy the teachers desire for diverse training courses.