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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

J.J. - U.S.A. said:
Problems facing students are different nationalitiesJapan, as a country, has the notorious reputation where its people have a difficult time learning how to speak english well. That phenomenon is a culmination of many factors, many of them directly related to the japanese culture and language. One of the major causes is related to the japanese education system, as even though english is a mandatory subject for junior high and high school students, only reading and writing are emphasized instead of the more practical aspects to good communication: speaking, listening and pronunciation. In this paper I will discuss the difficulties the japanese english-learners face and what they could do to try to overcome them. Something that a teacher may notice right away if he/she is teaching a group of japanese students is that the students are not as outspoken and tend to be more reserved than students from some other cultures. Apart from the fact that japanese students are not nurtured in an environment that encourages communication, as mentioned earlier, as part of the ethics as a society as a whole, the japanese also tend to be very obedient and extremely polite people, to the extent where they do not ask questions in class and do not participate as comfortably as other students. The teacher should try to create a very comfortable environment that can encourage communication, at the same time be sensitive about the students’ culture. When planning lessons, the teacher should try to include activities that enable the students to get to know each other better and ones that require communication, such as certain games like the board game “tell us about”. An aspect of english a japanese student may find especially difficult is pronunciation, given that the english language has more sounds than the japanese language. Pronunciation also tends to be the most neglected aspect of english language teaching. The teacher should break down teaching pronunciation into two general parts: identifying phonemes and practice accurate pronunciation. After teaching the students the phonemic symbols, the teacher should emphasize the consonants, diphthongs and vowels that are commonly difficult for japanese students. When practicing pronunciation, pronunciation diagrams prove to be very useful since most sounds are articulated inside the teacher’s mouth and the students would not usually be able to see how the sounds are produced, but the sound diagram shows the necessary tongue movements relative to the teeth, as well as how to place the lips. For example, the word “America” is a relatively difficult word for japanese students to pronounce, as they could not see the tongue movement. When planning a lesson, the teacher should incorporate into the lessons difficult- sounding words and try to emphasize and repeat them more throughout the lesson. Moreover, though japanese education systems do emphasize grammar a lot, there are certain aspects between the two languages that are very different. For example, articles prove to be a particular difficult aspect for japanese students; often times the only way for them to use it correctly is simply to encounter them more. “A” and “the” not only do not exist in the japanese language, but are also function words, as they do not contain any meaning and are necessary for functional purposes. For that reason, japanese students often cannot hear them while they are listening to english speech. The teacher needs to be aware that articles in english are one of the biggest challenges for japanese students. Cultural differences, pronunciation and articles prove to be the most common difficulties we expect a japanese english- learner would face; however, as teachers we must be aware of other possible problems and be prepared to resolve them.