A Study for Improving Oral-communicative Skills in English Education
Social demand for improving oral-communicative skills in English is becoming much stronger than before in Japan. This is because Japanese has been internationalizing quite rapidly and the number of foreigners living in Japan has been increasing year by year. However, majority of younger Japanese still have very poor skills in English oral-communication. Under such social circumstances, many parents in Japan want their children to be good speakers of English and become globalized people. As a result, they expect their children to have better education in English teaching at their schools. To satisfy such social demand and improve education system for teaching English at schools, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology revised its educational guideline in March, 2008. By this revision, English education wil be started at the 5th and 6th grade-classses in elementary schools emphasizing the teaching of oral-communicative skills. Understanding the situation mentioned above, the writer discusses some key-factors to be considered to achieve a great success in teaching oral-communicative skills at schools in Japan. And the following result is obtained: The first key-factor is Japanese English learners' environmental conditions. Geographically, Japan is isolated from foreign countries, hence most of the people can not obtain many opportunities to communicate with foreigners in English. And this factor is often connected with the lack of Japanese learners' English learning motivation, but it is not quite correct to say so. Because there are some other very important key-factors to be considered to teach oral-communicative skills in English. One of them is qualification of English teachers. Nevertheless to say, English teachers have to own good personalities and teaching techniques, but it should be much more important for Japanese English-teachers to have wide variety of linguistic knowlege in both English and Japanese. This is because there is a significant language-interference between English and Japaneses due to a great difference in their linguistic properties. To teach oral-communicative skills in English, it is inevitable to teach the linguistic property of English referring to the knowlege of contrastive analysis. Thus, a key to a gerat success in teaching English oral-communicative skills is the teachers with very good linguistic knowlege. As a conclution of the study, the writer also suggests that applying the technique of error analysis in learners' speeches is very important for language teachers. This is because perceptual interference can be related to lerners' speech problems.