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Friday, Feb. 18, 2011

Teachers worried about new English classes

Kyodo News

Most elementary school teachers who in April will start teaching English as a required subject to fifth- and sixth-graders lack confidence in teaching the subject and feel it will be a burden, according to a survey by a private research body.

The survey, conducted by Benesse Educational Research & Development Center, found that 68 percent aren't confident about teaching English and 62 percent are expecting it will be a heavy load to bear.

The results indicate inadequate training, with the center describing the development of teaching material and other preparations as "insufficient."

The survey, conducted between July and August, covered 8,000 randomly selected public elementary schools. Valid responses were received from 2,326 fifth- and sixth-grade teachers.

Slightly more than 80 percent said their current English classes are going well, but those who said they were confident about teaching the subject remained low at 32 percent. Twelve percent said they aren't confident, while 56 percent said they don't have much confidence.

Sixty-two percent described teaching English as a burden and 73 percent think it would be better if teachers who specialize in English gave the lessons.

Schools devoted an average of 6.8 hours on training for English classes between April 2009 and last summer.



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