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One of the biggest international exchange programs is the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET). According to japantimes.co.jp, approximately 65,000 people have served in Japan for five years as part of the experiment, with half of them being Americans and the rest coming from more than 60 other nations. The program has, however, occasionally come under scrutiny because it hasn't been successful in achieving its objectives. For example, it received criticism for failing to teach Japanese people English as the program stated it would. The program is criticized for being a waste of money because it does not improve English proficiency (Mccrostie). However, the JET authorities claim that their task is very much difficult for them to organize Assistant Language Teacher (ALTs) and Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) effectively. It creates some sort of imbalance within the structure of the program that causes its failure to meet its certain goals.
The managing director of the Japan Center for International Exchange Toshihiro Menju claims in a Nippon.com article that contributors “made a great contribution to changing attitudes toward other countries and their citizens across Japan” (Nippon.com). But, critics argue that such claim is trivial as the program fails to meet its most of the goals. Japan’s internationalization is not being carried out through the program. Emily Metzgar, a JET alumna and associate professor at Indiana University’s The Media School, argues I n her book “The JET Program and the U.S.-Japan Relationship: Goodwill Goldmine says, “MIC’s performance with respect to meeting its goals for participating in JET hasn’t been, as far as I know, evaluated in a way available to the public for review” (Metzgar p. 12).
As per the program, foreign assistants’ succor Japanese teachers to formulate and teach expedient and engaging communicative instructions. But, the reality is something else. The overworked teachers do not get enough time to properly create a team-teaching plan that could be beneficial to the students, especially when concerning with raw ALT freshers’ who are just off the plane (Mccrostie). The joint exercise of rotating ALTs around diverse schools throughout the time span units, a week or a month, makes preparation even more problematic (Cottingham).
The problems in the implementation arise due to the improper planning of The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). The JET is not solely responsible for it. It is because MEXT introduced team-teaching on a large scale without confirming its reach, results, and effectiveness., Minoru Wada, an education ministry bureaucrat and Japan’s father of team-teaching, recognized “began without any form of pedagogic research to validate it as an effective educational innovation” in his 1994 essay. Such loopholes added more frustration that in turn affected the effectiveness of the program.
Cottingham-Streater P (2017) Email exchange with the author.
JET Program USA. (2017b) Welcome to the JET Program. JET Program, https://jetprogramusa.org/, accessed September 17, 2017
Mccrostie, James. As Japan’s JET Programme hits its 30s, the jury’s still out. Retrieved from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/05/03/issues/japans-jet-programme-hits-30s-jurys-still/#.Wb-FLfOg_IX Retrieved on September 18, 2017
Metzgar, Emily Willing interpreters, and receivers: American alumni of the Japan exchange and teaching (JET) program. Palgrave Communications 3
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