Eigo Noto Textbook to become OBSOLETE? Will the Eigo Note become obsolete or even be abolished? What about me and my ESL job in Japan?

Dec 16 2009 0 Comments by The ENB

Well, the news is out about the Eigo Note. Will it be abolished? Is the "noto" going to become obsolete? Well, only time will tell, and the translations I'm getting back from Google or Excite while looking at all the news articles written in Japanese on the net.

Here's what I've deciphered so far from the Yomiuri article

"Eigo Note, "obsolete", opposition from teachers rush in"

And here is The ENB's editorial on the matter:

Now let's not rush her to say obsolete.

As you may or may not know, the government of Japan is currently holding talks translated as "Business Sort" in most articles. It seems that since MEXT is distributing the Eigo Note free of charge at a large cost would eventually put this topic of ending such an act on the discussion table (somewhere).

Although where and in which office this whole business about abolishing the Eigo Note started has yet to appear clearly to me on the headlines.

But since these talks have appeared voices on opposition to the abolition and perplexity have come forth from teachers, principals and others alike from the whole country.

On the other side, maybe the e""l one, has been quoted as saying such as follows, yet no names have been brought forward for fear of what have you...

("Why should I teach English in the elementary school?" and "To begin with theory" Thus, gushes from those who sort it in the "business sorting" though the amount of the demand is 850 million yen in total. The opinion with "Each school only had to digitalize and to print" came out, too and it was assumed, "Abolition"
in about 30 minutes.)

要求額は総額8億5000万円だが、事業仕分けでは、なぜ小学校で英語を教えなければならないのか」と「そもそも論」が仕分け人から噴出。 デジタル化して学校ごとに印刷すればいい」との意見も出て、30分程度で「廃止」とされた。
Taken from Yahoo! News at http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20091129-00001062-yom-soci

So, I'm not 100% sure what that meant since I'm not a native speaker of Japanese but I'd have to assume they (the politicians) are pretty upset about all that money mentioned above (8億5000万円) which in real terms would probably amount to 17 politician or even upper-middle style private homes/residences (that's not really right for me to say since we don't really know what the average politician's house goes for these days but in Tokyo for a regular house...) give or take 3-4 houses. Ok, so let's say the whole thing cost the government this year for introducing one of the most influential programs in Elementary School history if not just the English Studies side of it, the cost of about 20 houses in Tokyo. Hmmm...not a bad price tag considering the future benefits involved in the long run.

Or we could abolish the whole thing and let our dear mother, manage what we should do with that kind of money, or just use her name. Hint hint. (Remember, this is only an editorial and not really meant to defame anyone in particular, especially those working hard around the clock. But those "mother matters" have been in the news somewhat lately and I just couldn't avoid not reading the headlines about somebody's mother doing or adding what to a party's political "war-chest" money?) But if that certain mother was on the "English" side, then I wouldn't say "boo!" too would I.

So, what about that 30 minutes worth of discussion in that Business Sorting meeting at MEXT, which was translated electronically as "Each school only had to digitalize and to print" came out, too and it was assumed, "Abolition" in about 30 minutes.)

Does that mean it took only 30 minutes to come up with an idea almost like this one: "Yup, let's get rid of it (the Eigo Note). They (school teachers) can get anything off the net these days, can't they?" or just sing songs and play ESL games for 35 lessons which is already available for free on the net.

Or perhaps the only info they (politicians) can afford is from Genki Richard's and Helen 's blog. Both of which parties have something to sell if you're interested in things like cd's and board games, flashcards (some "gloriously" laminated in A4 sizes), and so on. (I remember when most if not all of Richard's materials were on the net for free until someone had got the idea "there's more money to be made here" other than Google Ads alone. "Let's make some money, here!"
Gulp, will I ever wonder one day if I'll jump on that bandwagon. ESL is a huge!!! business and hits well over the billion dollar mark worldwide on the whole scope of it.

But let's face it, people, if you have something to say about a national educational program, keep a lid on it if you are biased based on your own trade practices. That would be like Coca Cola and Pepsi trashing each other just for...

Well, learn to sit by and enjoy the show because your comments do have a little weight around town and it can really effect matters on the whole dinner table and not just on your plate. "Boo!" Whose to say that those comments had zero effect on the whole matter.

But all in all, in my own belief, English in Elementary Schools will stay with or without the Eigo Note. Why?

Because Japanese people want it! Their minds are opening up. If you haven't been in Japan for over ten years you may not have noticed it. The stares a "gaijin" would get in the city, if not in the top five biggest ones. Nowadays, you have to take your pants off (but don't try that) to get a stare. Things are almost starting to feel like a normal International Country give and take some unforgiving situations or happenings in your own personal experiences through out Japan.

People will rally. People will come out in the streets, yelling and
screaming, and then the thing will really hit the fan!

Well, I'm not yet finished. On the matter about Japanese Teachers not having the ability to teach English and the Eigo Note may just prove to be fruitless. Unfortunately, that point is true BUT only in the point of "every" if you are referring to "every teacher" then you are definitely wrong. I've seen some homeroom teachers with the ability to inspire and "coach" these kids a few English terms. Well, where is it written that you have to actually "teach" English in Elementary Schools.

You have to learn English, and it's based on individual abilities. Think of babies. We don't teach them into speaking we "nurture" them. And that takes day to day care and activities for at least 3 years. In this program we have 35 lessons a year, so it's still not much, so maybe it should be nurturing at best. Has anyone out there ever had the experience of producing an "active" English speaker out of an 11-12 year-old in 70 lessons (or even 100 lesson)? In rare cases, it might have happened... so if you are reading this, remember to share your secrets!

Commenting as an observer, with nothing really to gain because I'm not selling anything on this site except for the adsense (and that's , the Eigo Note is certainly a step in the right direction. "The program has got its whole leg through the door." The homeroom teachers now have a clearer "idea" of what the ALT is trying to do in the classroom. As long as they read those Teacher's Books.

So, unless, you've got a better idea such as a textbook for free (which is what the government wants), with a Teacher's Guide translated for the Japanese Teachers and one in English would be nice as well, and the graphics and multimedia to go with it that is even more outstanding than the Eigo Note's, I say sure, bring it on!

All in all, what I'm truing to say is let's try to give MEXT the message that we don't want to back to the stone-age.

Sometimes I feel its like coming from Windows and now we might have to go back to using DOS.

Think of how far Windows has gone since the beginning and then think how far an English Textbook Program in Elementary Schools can go.

It too can evolve, adapt, and most importantly grow.

It too can even step down when an even better successor comes along. But sadly, it needs money, public funding and more public funding. Well, the kids will most probably remember which political party cut their textbooks and the funding when they get old enough to vote...

But if there is nothing, no more money... the situation almost sounds like my own net-name...


About the author

The ENB writes for eigonoteblog.com whenever possible. The ENB's favorite school lunch is curry and rice. ( Short and spicy since we don't want to annoy anyone ;D )

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