Vol. 3 No. 1 (2017)
Articles

Homeroom Teachers or Specialist Teachers?: Considerations for the Workforce for Teaching English as a Subject at Elementary Schools in Japan

Shinji Okumura
Lecturer, Department of Education, Mukogawa Women's University, Japan

Published 2017-06-01

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Keywords

  • English language education reform, Elementary school education, Homeroom teachers, Specialist teachers, Teacher supply, Japan

How to Cite

Okumura, S. (2017). Homeroom Teachers or Specialist Teachers?: Considerations for the Workforce for Teaching English as a Subject at Elementary Schools in Japan. Asian Journal of Education and Training, 3(1), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.20448/journal.522/2017.3.1/522.1.1.5

Abstract

In Japan, English will be officially taught as an academic subject for elementary fifth and sixth graders from 2020. This is a strong initiative of language-in-education policy, aiming at efficient articulation between elementary and junior high schools and targeting the development of English proficiency from early ages simultaneously. However, teacher supply and professional development have been a critical issue for offering English as a subject. Reviewing the recent movement of English education at elementary schools, the paper overviews the current teacher system in public elementary schools in Japan and clarifies that homeroom teachers in Japanese elementary schools tend to work overload not only teaching but also with administrative duties. The paper then describes benefits and drawbacks of homeroom and specialist teachers in English teaching as a subject at elementary schools and argues qualifications of English teachers. The author finally introduces new specialist teacher systems, which will give a useful insight for developing the workforce for the future English education at Japanese public elementary schools.

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