TESOL is an acronym meaning: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The study of TESOL includes both ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language). In Japan, students learn English as a foreign language, meaning in their day to day life outside of English class, English is not the target language. Students studying English as second language (ESL) typically are studying English in English speaking countries (USA, England, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Within the field of TESOL there are various methodologies and research on teaching methods.

A very brief background of English education in Japan
Since the 1980’s, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) has attempted to implement English education reforms with the purpose of developing English skills as a tool of communication in a global society. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, started in 1987, and the educational guidelines, the Course of Study, has been revised in 1989, 1999, 2008, and 2009 aiming at higher achievement in English communication skills with the emphasis on English as an international language.

Barriers for ALTs and JTEs to consider
  • university entrance examination pressures
  • negative response from studnets and parents
  • textbooks that may be inappropriate for communicative language teaching
  • institutional cultural beliefs
  • large class size
  • cultural appropriateness of teaching methodologies

Aims for ALTs and JTEs to work towards
  • emphasis on communicative ability of students
  • using a variety of methods and materials
  • understanding how English can be used as a tool for communication
  • classroom management (pair and group work)
  • understanding of foreign cultures
  • less focus on grammar translation
  • how can native and non-native teachers complement one another?

Current Trends in Teaching methodologies:
~ Communicative Language Teaching
~Content Based Teaching
~Task Based Teaching
~Cooperative Learning