An analysis of lesson plans developed to meet the Japanese Ministry of Education's "English Activities" Mandate




Kurosawa, Junko A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This project was undertaken to examine one Japanese primary school’s English lesson plans, created to meet the goals of “English Activities” issued by the Japanese Ministry of Education. This project was based on the fact that The Japanese Ministry of Education has not developed concrete curriculum for “English Activities,” even though “English Activities” will be a core subject from 2011 in primary schools. Four lesson plans were analyzed based on a framework consisting of communicative competence, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and language learning in general. In the categories, the following components are included: sociolinguistic and strategic competencies; instructional materials; teacher as facilitator; student-centered learning styles; sociocultural backgrounds; scaffolding and risk-free environments. In conclusion, it has been shown that teachers in the primary school respond to the government’s goals by designing lesson plans which emphasize communication abilities in English. In addition, in the larger context, it is evident that in-depth lesson plans, teaching materials, learning environments and teachers’ training need more attention. Two critical issues are also proposed: The first is the importance of assessment; the second is the importance of introducing words and phonics. The issues are proposed for better English teaching in primary schools. This project will contribute to moving toward the achievement of the Japanese Ministry of Education’s goal of “English Activities” in primary schools in Japan.



English education in Japan, primary schools