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English-immersion has come to a public elementary school in Japan

Until recently, if you lived in Japan and wanted your child to be taught in English, you would need to send them to an international or private school. Now, though, there is a public elementary school – Haccho, in Toyohashi, in the central Japanese prefecture of Aichi – that is providing an  ‘English-immersion programme’, or CLIL, as it is known in the EFL profession, according to Kyodo News.

While many schools in Japan start teaching English as an additional language from third grade, when children are roughly 8-9 years old, and it becomes mandatory for fifth and sixth graders, who are aged from 10-12, it’s rare to have an immersion programme and to start from the beginning of schooling.

Currently, only one class per grade in the school is being taught in English – except for Japanese language and ethics classes, or if the teacher needs to explain what a word means – but it is having a knock-on effect on the entire school. “We feel [the programme] stimulates children’s intellectual curiosity,” Vice-Principal Tsunehisa Inada is reported as saying. “We’ve seen an increase in the academic performance of [all] students, including those who are not in the all-English classes.”

 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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