1-1 purpose of this study
These days, in Japan, English education is regarded as important, as one of the reasons for the progress of globalization. For example, English become a subject in elementary school, starting early English education, and “All English teaching” something like that. Especially, I am interested in “All English teaching”. And I focus on why Japanese education clinging to “All English teaching”. I want to be an English teacher in the future, so I am really interested in how to develop students’ ability of English. Honestly, I have doubts about English education in Japan. I do not think just “All English teaching” will improve students’ English. Actually, I consider that it is better to use Japanese efficiently.
In today’s English education in Japan, Communicative Language Teaching is mainstream. In addition, “English medium instruction” become regarded as important with revision of the government course guidelines. Certainly, it increases the amount of input and output in that way, but can we obtain any other effect? Actually, “English medium instruction” is too difficult for junior high school students to understand lessons because their ability to use English is inexperienced yet. It is hard even for university students to understand completely. Likewise, teachers struggle to think how to teach comprehensively for students. Then, why English education in Japan stick to “English medium instruction”? In fact, it seems that there are some teachers as well as me who doubt that. Therefore, I want to reveal the effect of “English medium instruction”, and I want to spread the effect to other teachers. Furthermore, if teacher understand the effectiveness of “English medium instruction”, they can improve the quality of their lesson.
2. English-medium instruction in Japanese EFL contexts
In Japan, EMI has been phased in junior high school and high school since 2018 at the recommendation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Also, New Courses of Study is going to be applied from 2020. In, New Courses of Study, “Speaking” which is one of the four areas of English, is divided into two areas: “Presentation (or speech)” and “Interaction”. Especially, “Interaction” is a new introduction. The reason is that English education in Japan is aimed at improving communication skills in English. First, in junior high school the students acquire basic conversational skills. After that, in high school, the students’ communication skills are improved further. EMI is introduced to achieve these things.
3. Research question
・What is the merit or demerit of EMI?
4. Advantage or disadvantage of EMI
There are two major advantages or disadvantages of English Medium Instruction (EMI) for students by the reading of five articles about EMI.
4-1 Advantage of EMI for students
First, about the advantage of EMI is that there are more opportunities to use English and more input in English. As Brown (2016) argued that “EMI development is creating new opportunities for students”. Actually, for English as foreign language (EFL) students have no chance to use English in daily life. However, in EMI class, we are forced to use English. Therefor EMI on Japan is regarded good opportunities for students. “English-medium schools provide students with more exposure to English academic vocabulary” (Lin & Morrison. 2010, p264). In other words, we can improve amount of English such as vocabulary, knowledge, grammar, and usage. Moreover, Jessica and Julie and Ernesto (2018) recognized that “EMI is beneficial to students primarily because learning content through English teaches them English, makes them competitive in a global market, and provides them with a high level of education”.
4-2 Disadvantage and problems of EMI for students
Second is disadvantage or problem of EMI is that the students’ English proficiency is insufficient. According to study of Shimauchi (2018) and, Aizawa and Rose (2018), in EMI class, students often face English proficiency problems. As a result, students are not able to understand the class, and decrease student motivation. According to study of Jessica and Julie and Ernesto (2018), the highest response rate is “They will not understand the content of the lesson”. Students with insufficient proficiency of English may caused a negative chain reaction in EMI. Furthermore, in EMI, there have a serious problem. The gap is widening between high and low English proficiency of students. Aizawa and Rose (2018) recognized that “but heavily evident in all interview data, was students’ English proficiency, discussed as a crucial factor in determining students’ success in EMI.” And Shimauchi (2018) argued that “It also addresses the different practice and adaption of EMI at Japan’s “elite” and “mass” universities”
In Japan, with the revision of the Course of Study, demand for EMI is growing more than ever before. However, EMI is adopted at universities, but few are adopted at junior high and high schools. As a cause of this situation, EMI is too difficult for junior high or high school students to understand the contents of the classes, and they can not keep up with the classes. Also, many students have lost interest in learning English. The are various problems or demerit with EMI.
However, EMI also has merit. As the amount of input and output of English will surely increase, the chance of using English in classes will increase too. This is very important for EFL learners. Also, since English is started to learn as a foreign language activity from the lower grades of elementary school, the students’ English ability will be gradually improved. EMI should be able to be adopted officially from junior high school.
To sum up, certainly, EMI may be a burden on teachers as well as students. However, EMI is one of the most effective way to teach English. We should adopt EMI gradually.
・Aizawa, I., Rose, H. (3 November 2018). An analysis of Japan’s English as medium of instruction initiatives within higher education: the gap between meso-level policy and micro-level practice. Higher education (2019) 77,1125-1142, doi:10.1007/s10734-018-0323-5
・Brown, H. (2016). English-medium Instruction in Japan: Discussing implications for language teaching. JALT2015・Focus on the learner
・Jessica, G. B., Julie, D., & Ernesto, M. (2018). English medium instruction: Comparing teacher beliefs in secondary and tertiary education. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 8 (3).2018, 673-696, doi: 10.147.46/ssllt.2018.8.3.7
・Lin, H.F. L., Morrison, B (December 2010). The impact of the medium of instruction in Hong Kong secondary schools on tertiary student’s vocabulary. Journal of English for Academic Purpose 9 (2010) 255-266.
・Shimauchi, S. (March, 2018). English-Medium Instruction in the Internationalization of Higher Education in Japan: Rationales and Issues. Educational Studies in Japan: International Yearbook No. 12, March, 2018. 77-90, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1182867.pdf