Young people chatting in the UK

Mat Wright

The learning, teaching and assessment of English is at the heart of the work of the British Council. English is a world language, providing access to diverse societies and expanding people’s horizons both personally and professionally. The ability to communicate in English builds connections and mutual understanding between people across the world. Each of the 4 skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing has an important role to play.

We aim to improve the quality of English education and to support the Japanese government’s English Education Reform agenda, drawing on the experience and expertise of the UK, where both the language itself and learning approaches have evolved over hundreds of years.

We have been teaching thousands of young learners and adults for many years in Japan, as well as supporting teachers in the state education system. In that time, we have always sought to develop students’ practical English language skills and their confidence to use them. To strengthen the English language education system, we believe it is essential to address learning, teaching and assessment in an integrated way. We understand that this is also the ambition behind Japan’s new Courses of Study.

Learning: Students need the ability to use English effectively in practical situations; to understand new information, ideas, or enjoy foreign culture through listening and reading and to communicate what they want, share how they feel, or discuss opinions and ideas through speaking or writing. Knowledge of vocabulary and grammar should play an active role in building the ability and the confidence to communicate.
For information about learning English, click here.

Teaching in schools: The education reform drives change in the way that English is taught.  We support teachers nationwide to ensure that they can provide effective and motivating lessons for their students. We work to support teachers’ professional development; working to assess their needs and helping to improve the quality of teaching in the classroom.Our professional development covers techniques for teaching all four skills, but our recent work has often focused on helping teachers with practical ideas for teaching interactive speaking, as mandated in the new Course of Study.
For information about Teaching in schools, click here.

Assessment: Four-skills assessment has a crucial role to play, and our English tests must reflect the skills we seek to develop. This is the basis of the IELTS exam. We believe that the introduction of a speaking and listening test by schools and universities in Japan will be a major force in promoting English education reform; incentivising students to invest their efforts in improving all four skills.Working with the TUFS, we have designed a new English language proficiency test based on the Japanese high school curriculum guidelines for university entrance, which has been successfully implemented over the last few years in a range of universities.
For information about Examinations, click here.

Whatever your English language needs, and wherever you are based in Japan, we have a brilliant team of specialists ready to share their expertise in learning, teaching and assessment.