September 22, 2017
TOKYO- Japan's education ministry unveiled on Thursday new English textbooks to be used for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders' foreign-language classes for fiscal 2018 and 2019.
The structure of the textbooks is organized so students will be able to work on their reading and writing skills after becoming used to listening to and speaking English.
The textbooks include content designed to interest children, such as sections on countries that would be fun to visit and on the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
It will be used before the full-scale launch of the new elementary school curriculum guidelines scheduled for fiscal 2020, which starts in April that year.
English will be an official subject for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders from fiscal 2020, and textbooks that pass the screening process will be handed out to the students for free.
Currently, fifth- and sixth-graders have a 45-minute foreign language class 35 times a year, in which they familiarize themselves with English through a curriculum focusing on listening and speaking skills. The current classes use different textbooks.
During fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2019, which is a transition period for the curriculum change, the ministry plans to add 15 classes for foreign-language activities and has urged schools to implement some measures under the new curriculum ahead of schedule, including reading and writing in English.
The new English textbooks were created by the ministry to correspond with the increased classes and introduces grammar features such as pronouns, gerunds and past tense.
By the end of this year, the ministry plans to create English textbooks for elementary school third and fourth grades, which will start foreign-language activities under the new curriculum. Jiji Press
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