Needs analysis: Developing a teacher training program for elementary school homerrom teachers in Japan

Kusumoto, Yoko
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In response to growing needs for appropriate English communication in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts, many countries, including East Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, have introduced a number of extensive changes in their English language policies (Butler & Iino, 2004; Butler, 2004, 2007; Carless, 2002, 2003, 2006; Igawa, 2007; Nunan, 2003; Su, 2006). In Japan, the lowering of the age of compulsory English instruction has been a major change and a huge concern. The overall findings of existing studies indicate that adequate and appropriate teacher training is key to any success in language education. Responding to the recent drastic change in English education at the elementary school level in Japan, the homeroom teachers’ needs should therefore be investigated. The purpose of this study was to conduct a needs analysis for Japanese elementary school homeroom teachers aimed at developing a teacher training program. A questionnaire survey was adopted as the method of the needs analysis, and prior to collecting data, the literature was reviewed. In total, 256 homeroom teachers from 31 public elementary schools in Miyazaki participated in this study. The findings of this study provided valuable implications for curriculum developers and teachers in developing teacher training programs in Japan.
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