I’ve been thinking about how English is something that sort of happens “to” a lot of Japanese students… What I mean is that instead of our students pursuing knowledge of English for personal fulfillment or sheer interest, the English language is actually pursing them.
Tests, vocabulary drills, grammar explanations, cultural intrusions — English is bombarding our students every day.
But are they actually willing participants in the exchange?
It’s hard to make a judgement about every student, but some are clearly running from English. And still even more are hiding from it.
With grammar and vocabulary to learn, classrooms can easily turn into a battle ground, where teachers are trying to force something upon unwilling students. But when all the tests are over and the red ink has run dry, what do we have to show for it? Students who are timid, unable to speak to foreigners, and who lack any passion for what they have learned. Some results, huh?
Moreover, we teachers lose our important role of presenting knowledge for students to explore for themselves, and turn into the Ogres and Grendels of language learning.
So, how do we change this dynamic? What little things can we change in our daily interactions with students and our presentations in English class, so students are once again (?) chasing after English — instead of it chasing after them. Tell me your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.