How to Reach the World Outside
Suggestions for Fostering Intercultural Communication and Understanding in Japanese Elementary School English Classrooms
As Japan prepares for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the elementary school English curriculum is rapidly changing, with new textbooks and more class hours devoted to English education. These language classes have the potential to clarify and improve students’ perceptions of global cultures, including their own. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to provide practical suggestions for Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs), Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), and Japanese homeroom teachers to foster intercultural communication and understanding in their Grade 5 and 6 classrooms. Elaborating upon ideas in (Davidson & Liu, 2018), this article proposes that students may develop intercultural competencies through authentic materials, guided in-class discussions, English Notebook assignments, and local engagement with international interlocutors. While tailored to the Japanese elementary school classroom, these suggestions may be adapted to other EFL contexts as well.
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