Behind MEXT's new Course of Study Guidelines

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Masumi Tahira, Temple University



The new Course of Study Guidelinesof the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technologyof Japan (MEXT) started to be implemented in stages in 2011. This paper reviews how MEXT’s policies for English education have changed and examines how the Ministry has attempted to implement communicative approaches over the last two decades.However, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)isnot well rooted in Japan, so teachers do not fully understand it and are not confident about using CLT. This is the result of the lack of commitment by MEXT, which has led to ambiguity about CLT itself. This lack of commitment hampers the achievement of its ultimate goal of improving Japanese students’ English proficiency.MEXT must provide greater support for teachers by clarifying its advocated principles and providing ongoing training opportunities.



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