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Lack of ALTs leaves English classes in lurch
The following article is from a series by The Yomiuri Shimbun on efforts by schools to adapt to the government's revised school curriculum guidelines and make a fresh start after years of "yutori kyoiku"--a pressure-free education policy that allows children more free time, which is now regarded as a key factor in the poor academic performance of recent years. This is the last of six articles, and focuses on English education at the primary school level.
Takanezawamachi, a town in Tochigi Prefecture with a population of about 30,000, introduced English lessons for students in all primary-school grades more than 10 years ago. English-language classes have been conducted using a team-teaching method in which Japanese teachers are helped by native English speakers in the capacity of assistant language teacher (ALT). This year, however, the town faces a major challenge in its provision of English education.
There was no assistant language …