As the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics approach, the government has been attempting to make Japan more accessible to foreign visitors, and the number of incoming tourists per year has quadrupled since 2011. However, despite MEXT’s promise of “nurturing English communication skills,” the curriculum at secondary school level has adapted very little to meet the needs of a more globalized Japan. This is of particular concern as, based on evidence from previous events, young people are likely to make up the majority of the volunteers and support staff at the Tokyo Olympics.This presentation will demonstrate aspects of a short English course for junior high school students in central Tokyo, which was designed to increase communicative ability and confidence among learners who will be at the very centre of events in the summer of 2020. I will begin by explaining the rationale behind the course, then the research and methodology used in designing the activities. I will then demonstrate some of these activities, before presenting some of the feedback from participating students.The findings of this study suggest that many young people are initially nervous about the prospect of using English with overseas visitors. However, by participating in these activities, targeted specifically towards welcoming foreign visitors to Japan, students are able to increase their confidence, interest level, and ability in using English for authentic communication.
Brett Davies, Meiji University, Japan
Stream: Cross-Cultural Communication
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