“…learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do.”

This is what Seth Godin writes in his new, free e-book, Stop Stealing Dreams, a manifesto about rebuilding an education system that fits today’s economy by teaching students to be brave, creative, passionate risk takers.

In this book, Godin talks repeatedly about how the American education system    excels in two areas: drilling obedience into students and stamping out passion.

In the effort to introduce students to math, for example, we drill times tables and study the Pythagorean theorem. Absent from this quest of cramming students’ heads with facts and raw data is the fact that every cellphone today comes with a calculator and most people will never use trigonometry again…ever…

Too often, learning is being done to students, not with them — that is with their free choice.

Since the Japanese education system is based on the same industrial model of education as America, one can find the same phenomenon.

Look at the average, grammar-based English class. Drilling of vocabulary, cramming of raw grammatical principals, tests, threats, tests, threats and then more tests.

The mission appears to be to this: cram as much grammar and vocabulary into students heads as possible and then they will be able to spew it all out for the test.

Then maybe, just maybe, some of them will become English speakers.

If the goal is to do English to students, we aren’t going to get a lot of speakers.

What we get is resistance, protest, and hundreds of millions of people who give up on speaking English.

That system isn’t going away, but we need to think more about how to inspire passion in students and leading them to the choice of wanting to learn English.

How to start?

-Kindle the passion in students who naturally have it.

-Introduce more activities that invovle a discovery of English

-Reward students for asking questions

-Reward students for doing independent study of English

Do you have any other ideas?