By my contract, I am expected to speak only English during my classes and also to speak English to the kids at lunchtime or anytime outside of class. It's not enforced, so I speak Japanese a lot, and nobody has complained so far. When I'm teaching at elementary schools, the homeroom teachers don't speak much English, and many of them just stand in the back of the room and I have to do the whole class by myself. I don't mind, but it requires a bit of Japanese to make it work. At my previous job in Nagano-ken, there was one school that was very particular about never speaking Japanese. The principal and vice principal at that school eloquently described it as an "English shower." Well, there's a difference between a shower and being blasted in the face with a garden hose. Every time they heard me speaking Japanese to a student, they complained to my boss. I was sick of it.PinkAppleJam wrote:We were discouraged in our school to talk in Japanese because it was supposed to help "force" better English communication!
I say, repeat enough key English to have them learn it, and fill in the gaps with Japanese as necessary. There is no way you can visit a school perhaps once a week and consider that an immersion. Immersion takes a long, gradual time and requires frequent contact. If a teacher just shows up once a week and blabs incessantly in English, it is really no more than a barking dog. A person's brain just tunes it out after a while.
The way I see it, my role is to not only teach English, but also be an ambassador of sorts, representing the outside world to these kids. There will be kids who don't care to learn English. That's to be expected. But if I insist on speaking only English to them, then that will do nothing really to be a goodwill ambassador. Too many people come here and don't bother learning Japanese, even people who have lived here for many, many years. Japanese people have come to expect foreigners to not speak Japanese. I display to my kids that I am a foreigner and I can speak Japanese. That is also very important. My job is to break the barrier between Japanese and foreigner, and to some extent the barrier between student and teacher. I'm here to be a friend, someone for them to get along with. If they can get along with a foreigner, then that is just as precious as teaching them English. Perhaps even moreso, because while they may eventually forget English, at least they'll have the relationship experience with non-Japanese, and hopefully leveling up their worldview.