NAGATO, Yamaguchi – The 11 municipal elementary schools in this western Japanese city have started English classes for first and second graders as part of attempts to help students familiarize themselves with the teaching English.
The change comes in response to the introduction of foreign languages as a compulsory subject for fifth and sixth graders from the 2020 school year in Japan. During the first class held on October 13 at Nagato Senzaki Municipal Primary School, about 40 second-graders spoke the names of the colors in English in unison as they appeared on the electronic board. They also spoke English words for parts of the body, such as the eyes and arms, listening to them through headphones on tablets provided to each student.
Ryota Tanaka, 8, said: “It was fun saying English words that I don’t usually use.”
According to the city’s school education division, 10 English classes will be held by March 2022. Classes use teaching materials from Osaka-based English education company ECC Co. The division also plans to use an application developed jointly with ECC in elementary school classrooms. , which uses an English conversational format to showcase the city’s sights, including Motonosumi Shrine and Nagato Yumoto Spa Resort.
(Japanese original from Masahiko Endo, Local Hagi Office)