MATSUDA Tokuichiro Faculty of Foreign Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 外国語学部, 教授 (20014433)
KONAMI Takashi Faculty of Foreign Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 外国語学部, 教授 (10014424)
WAKABAYASHI Shunsuke Faculty of Foreign Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 外国語学部, 教授 (40042676)
YOKOTA Atsuko Japanese Language School, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 留学生教育教材開発センター, 助教授 (40200894)
HIMENO Masako Japanese Language School, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 留学生教育教材開発センター, 教授 (80014489)
It is said that the number of U. S. high schools that offer classes in Japanese is steadily increasing. In order to see what Japanese language teaching is really like in U. S. high schools, we visited several schools across the United States, and saw Japanese language classrooms in action. We also talked with many native or non-native teachers of Japanese and exchanged opinions.
General Trend Japanese is an elective subject in U. S. high schools. German and Latin have lost their popularity, Japanese taking their place instead. To our question what motivates the students to study Japanese, the answer invariably given was "making money."
Lessons Japanese is taught five days a week. (This is also true of other foreign languages.) One hour is allotted from Monday through Friday. Classes are so conducted that the students won't get bored. Kanji bingo game and kaimono (shopping) game are introduced in the lessons.
Textbooks "Learn Japanese" (University of Hawaii) and 「*****」 (Japan Foundation)
are used with some modifications. From the beginning of the lesson native Japanese teachers teach Hiragana, while non-Japanese teachers prefer textbooks in the Roman alphabet (Romaji). Each justifies his own way.
Teachers There are few qualified teachers of Japanese at the present moment. There are, however, a few Japanese who have obtained high school teaching certificates. When there is need, teachers are often "recruited" from Japan. Cable television has made it possible for one qualified teacher, together with his assistants, to conduct classes simultaneously in three separate high schools.
REX Program Very few of the high schools we visited showed interest in the Regional and Educational Exchange Program (REX). Some schools will welcome teachers from Japan only if no extra expenses are needed. The teachers concerned agree that if Japanese teachers were sent to U. S. high schools on the REX Program, it would be desirable, or almost imperative, for them to stay in the schools for the whole of two academic years.
The duty of the REX teacher varies from school to school. Some schools expect him only to teach Japanese, while other schools expect him to do the work that is required of a regular teacher. Less