Japan to Deploy Robots to Help Boost English Proficiency in Schools

September 13, 2018 by in category English is Fun, Technology tagged as , , with 0 and 0
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Over the years, education has benefited from the advancement of technology. It can be noted that without education and knowledge, technology would not have progressed. When it comes to technology, it is the application of accumulated knowledge to a process or medium. As education progressed, the development of technology accelerated.

The internet is considered to be the mutual culmination between technology and education. If we look at things closely, the electrical engineers, mathematicians and mechanical engineers that were responsible for the invention of the internet were the byproducts of education. In turn, the internet is the quantum leap in education that would usher in the information age.

Today, the classroom is a mixture of generational technology that comes in the form of textbooks, encyclopedia, computer stations as well as education aides such as electronic files, video monitors and tablet computers.

With the advancement in Artificial Intelligence and robotics, these technologies are now being utilised to help aid English learning. In Japan, the Japanese Ministry of Education is opting for something more advance to help develop the English language. ZDNet reported this technology involves robotics and artificial intelligence to teach the English language to students.

The Land of the Rising Sun’s plan in educating Japanese students in foreign languages is through the deployment of robots in the schools. NHK reported that the education ministry has plans of deploying 500 English-speaking artificial intelligence powered robots in schools all over the country, with the goal of helping students enhance their English communication skills.

NHK also said the ministry is currently struggling with tough issues, experiencing pressure in improving the English language skills of elementary school teachers. Unfortunately, the ministry lacks funding to hire English native speakers to work in the prefecture schools across the country. This is where the rollout of the English-speaking robots comes in, in order to help supply the demand for English learning.

Japan is known to be a popular destination for thousands of tourists — who are enjoying its rich culture, its food and the famous landmarks across the country. Today, the number of English speaking tourists may find it difficult to navigate around the country as English is a very uncommon language outside of Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama.

According to NHK, Japanese students are “generally not good” when it comes to the proficiency of the English language in both speaking and writing. The latest EF English Proficiency Index also shows the same, having Japan ranked 37th in 80 countries that are in the Index, placing in between China and Russia. The index has the Netherlands as ranked top and followed by Sweden and Denmark in second and third, respectively.

While there is no official data that states the percentage of Japanese that are bilingual in terms of being able to speak Nipongo and English, Mitsue-Links, a communication design company tried to investigate the reasons through desk research and conversations with a correspondence consisting of Japanese friends and colleagues. The gathered information shows that there are only roughly 10 per cent of Japanese working professionals that are proficient in English, which includes the four areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In terms of Japanese who are comfortable with having basic conversations using the English language, Rakuten Research revealed through the “Survey on attitudes towards English” that 70 per cent of respondents rated themselves as poor at English.

The study also revealed the reasons why the respondents find it necessary to study the English language. Among the reasons are communicating with foreign people, broadening one’s perspectives, and plans to travel abroad.

Globalisation is completely looming over countries that are falling behind in terms of their proficiency in speaking the English language. English is considered as universal language and is being spoken in a majority of counties in the world, and among these countries have placed English as one of their official languages. In learning English, it helps with being able to communicate on a global basis, and unlocks more career opportunities abroad.

While the potential cost for adding robots in the classroom could be costly at the moment, there are alternatives such as the good old fashion classroom learning. In Australia, Explore English allows Japanese students to Study English in Melbourne and it will help them enhance their English proficiency.

For enquiries, contact Explore English today: Call: +61 3 9655 0600 or Email: info@exploreenglish.edu.au or visit the Contact Us Page: https://exploreenglish.edu.au/contact/