園長Owen先生 記事 〜Afterschool Newsletter Winter 2024より抜粋〜

今回は、年間4回発行しているAfterschool Newsletter Winter 2024号より、当園アフタースクールのコーディネーターでもある園長Owen先生の記事を抜粋してお届けします。


【Afterschool Newletter Winter 2024号より抜粋】※英語の後に日本語が続きます。

Dear Parents, students and staff,

At the end of the last year, I was invited to make a presentation at Kinki University, for students studying education and English teaching. The process of composing this lecture and our discussions with the students and their professor highlighted some of the issues with face with learning a second language in Japan. This year Japan was ranked 87th out of 113 countries in the EF English Proficiency Index. Naturally, there was a drop in ability during the pandemic; but we have been steadily dropping down the ranks over the last decade.

I would suggest that this is a result of the way English is taught. Not all teachers are confident speaking English themselves, and tests are focused on listening and reading – perhaps because these are the easiest to grade reliably based on multiple choice and true/false answers; which can contribute to a fear of making mistakes – in turn working against our ability to use language. Additionally, many of these tests use language that is not natural or relevant to the children’s own experiences. The result is people with a reasonable knowledge of vocabulary and grammatical structures, but still lacking the ability, or confidence, to communicate.

We do need to support reading and writing, as these will help with independent learning. For this reason, we encourage children to use our extra resources at home, as well as to work on reading within the classroom. But as you may find at home, encouraging children to read in Japanese or English can be hard as a parent. Forcing it leads to a negative relationship to this skill. There are also so many distractions to compete with. Another factor is how often our children see us reading books, or whether we read to them. These activities are more likely to subtly encourage their own engagement and enjoyment of reading.

But communication and the confidence to speak with should be our priority. Confidence in literacy grows out of our knowledge of the spoken word. This is why we emphasise speaking and general communication skills at Global Village. This is difficult to maintain in a country where there is little reason to use English outside of a classroom, as is motivating children to keep ‘having a go’.  We will continue to focus on this aspect of learning within our classrooms, but we also need to find ways to make English accessible and fun at home. One solution I would put forward is technological, though I often prefer to avoid screens – knowing how they can lead to a loss of focus or social engagement. Singing is an effective way of learning and using language. Music apps, such as Apple Music, can now display lyrics while also lowering the vocals of a song – effectively turning your phone into a karaoke machine. In this way we have seen that children can develop vocabulary, read and vocalise in one moment. Why not try it yourself and see if your child once again is encouraged by your own example?

We have only a few months left of the school year. For some, April this means the exciting transition to Jr. high school, for others a change in grades and expectations.

Within our After School programme, some children will be moving on, while others form new classes and are introduced to new materials. Thank you for your effort this year within your classes and for doing your best to complete online and homework assignments. Thank you to all the families for supporting the school and your children’s learning journey. Your encouragement, discipline and effort to drop them off and collect them on time make such a difference.








しかし、コミュニケーションとスピーキングに対する自信を持つことが、私たちの最優先事項です。読み書きに対する自信は、話す言葉に対する知識を持つことで成長していきます。それ故に、グローバルヴィレッジではスピーキングと一般的なコミュニケーションスキルを重視しています。教室の外では英語を話す機会がほとんどない国において、これを継続し、子どもたちに「挑戦すること」を動機づけすることは困難です。アフタースクールでは、引き続きこの側面への学習に焦点を当てつつ、ご自宅においても英語に簡単に楽しくアクセスしやすい環境を作っていく方法を模索していく必要があります。私自身、集中力や社会的な繋がりの欠如を招く恐れがあるため、できるだけスクリーンタイムを避けたいのですが、1つの手段としてテクノロジーが挙げられます。歌を歌うことも効果的な学習方法であり、有効的に言語を使うことができます。Apple Musicといった音楽アプリでは、歌詞を表示することができたり、ボーカルの音だけを下げて、スマートフォンを簡単にカラオケ・マシーンにしてしまうことが可能です。この方法を使って、子どもたちが一瞬でボキャブラリーを増やし、読み、発声できるようになる姿を見てきました。どうぞ、一度ご自宅でお試しください。そして、保護者様方にも挑戦していただき、皆様の姿に子どもたちが刺激されているかも確認してみていただきたいと思います!




Owen North

After School Programme Coordinator