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  • Japan in 10 years

    I'm not an economist and only have a rudimentary understanding of how the stock market works. I mean, I've tried understanding it before but I just don't have that kind of brain or that kind of patience.

    I'm planning to stay in Japan for awhile. I got some news from back home, one of the only decent employers that a few of my friends were employed with packed up and moved to India leaving their small employee base out on the street to tear each other's throats out for a few minimum wage jobs here and there. These aren't high school dropouts, the vast majority of people I know back home have at least a degree and possibly more. This decision again reinforced my idea about staying in Japan for a long time. Going back to my home country is becoming less and less of a viable option.

    Anyway, I was wondering if those of you who knew a bit more about economics or Japan or both could provide some insight into the title of this post. Do you think its going to get better for Japan in the coming years? Better for teachers? Do you think the market will continue shrinking or do you think it has already hit rock bottom?

    Heh, I think Japan would be wise to reel in America's debt to them or to increase the interest on it.

  • #2
    As far as English teaching goes, in my prefecture at least, they are pushing to "phase-out" using foreign teachers and replace them with English-proficient Japanese natives. (This is both in public schools- Japanese teacher hopefuls are being pushed to learn more English with the aim of dropping ALTs whenever possible- and at eikaiwas- where schools are increasingly using non-Japanese natives only for emergency class fillers, while increasing their hires of English-speaking Japanese for normal conversation teaching.) I'm not sure how effective this will actually turn out, thinking about the still embarrassing English abilities (or lack thereof) of many native Japanese, but assuming that they can pull it off, it means bad things for foreign teachers.

    There are many, many conversation schools here in Oita that no longer recruit foreigners since they now have the luxury of hiring only Japanese people instead. The only schools that still aim at foreign teachers are based on the old "gaijin experience" model, and they are all doing bad now that the English gimmick is wearing off. Meanwhile, the more "serious" schools (read: no foreign teachers) that pass their classes off as college preparation instead of mindless conversation practice (even though the textbooks and lesson contents are identical) are doing better than ever, with the average salary being 5,000 yen an hour for beginning teachers. The comparative "gaijin teacher" eikaiwas pay 2,500 yen a lesson, and you only get called in to teach about three times a week if you are lucky, since so many different teachers are employed at these places to enhance the novel charm.


    Maybe other areas of Japan are different, but my suggestion is that if you are serious about teaching, get a real teaching license and work public or private schools as a normal teacher. Alternatively, open your own English school and staff it with all-Japanese instructors, and promote it as tutoring/TOEIC prep/college entrance exam prep/etc. instead of hobby conversation like Nova et. al. did/does. If you just want to be/work in Japan, learn Japanese and start thinking beyond the eikaiwa bubble before it bursts...

    Comment


    • #3
      Impacts on foreign English teachers in Japan in 10yrs time (in sequence of immediacy)

      Con
      Further decline in western economies leading to greater competition as more “teachers” come on over
      Overall decline in Japan’s economy leading to less discretionary income to spend on English
      Pickup in economies of other Asian countries, leading to learning of other languages in competition to English
      Continued decline in birthrate leading to fewer students

      Pro
      Short term increased emphasis on learning English drives up demand for tutors
      Continuation of deflation leading to lower teacher expenses to cover by minimum-wage income

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by outkast View Post
        As far as English teaching goes, in my prefecture at least, they are pushing to "phase-out" using foreign teachers and replace them with English-proficient Japanese natives. (This is both in public schools- Japanese teacher hopefuls are being pushed to learn more English with the aim of dropping ALTs whenever possible- and at eikaiwas- where schools are increasingly using non-Japanese natives only for emergency class fillers, while increasing their hires of English-speaking Japanese for normal conversation teaching.) I'm not sure how effective this will actually turn out, thinking about the still embarrassing English abilities (or lack thereof) of many native Japanese, but assuming that they can pull it off, it means bad things for foreign teachers.
        They've been saying the same thing in Korea for millennia yet nothing actually comes of it. When it comes down to it, indigenous English speakers still don't have passable English. It is to the point that only foreigners whom have spent time in Korea can really understand them. They drop articles that you can't drop in English as they would in Korean, most indigenous English speakers are still in the habit of pronouncing words through their language (hanguel) instead of trying to use proper English pronunciation ("finish" becomes "finishee", etc.) The abhorent state of spoken English in Korea (which is still better than Japan, apparently) will always prevent any policy changes that force foreigners out of the country.

        The core issue here is that foreigners haven't really helped much in either country and the education boards and what have you know this. The reason foreign English teachers haven't helped isn't their fault, either, it has much more to do with the banality of the curriculum (when you can find one) and the fact that foreign English teachers always have their balls cut off in terms of teaching capability before they even enter these countries. Its almost as if both countries are only half-committed to the idea of learning English yet they claim to be strongly committed to it. The teachers come from overseas and they have no idea how to use these teachers and make them effective.

        Really want students to learn English? Have more incentives for foreign English teachers to stay longer at one job. Pay each teacher more. Have benefits. Make it more of a career and less of a "goof off for a year then go home" experience. Have a standard, extremely well designed curriculum for every... single... day of English instruction from day 1 to day 3000. Reward effective teachers. The only way they're going to convince themselves to let English teachers go is if they convince themselves that there is no need for native English speakers in these countries. Neither Korea nor Japan is at this stage yet.

        Haha, I'm not even in Japan yet so excuse me if I jumped the fence. Its just that from what I've read it all sounds very, very, very, very, very, very, very similar to what we have here :P

        In short, I can't see Japan getting rid of it's foreign English teachers anytime soon.
        Last edited by IncognitoHFX; 2010-01-18, 03:30 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          that will never happen

          Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post
          Really want students to learn English? Have more incentives for foreign English teachers to stay longer at one job. Pay each teacher more. Have benefits. Make it more of a career and less of a "goof off for a year then go home" experience.
          A goof off year and go home is EXACTLY what they want it to be. That way fresh unspoiled blood will continue to come and go thereby saving the Asians the trouble and expense of actually going to a foreign contry to learn a language not on their terms.

          The problem is that eventually the newness wears off and even a total moron manages to learn a little bit of the language and customs, theirby spoiling their 'foreigness' and the incentive for Asians to communicate with them in a foreign language. That is why it will NEVER be a career and they don't want it to become one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post
            Anyway, I was wondering if those of you who knew a bit more about economics or Japan or both could provide some insight into the title of this post. Do you think its going to get better for Japan in the coming years? Better for teachers? Do you think the market will continue shrinking or do you think it has already hit rock bottom?

            Heh, I think Japan would be wise to reel in America's debt to them or to increase the interest on it.
            Cant speak for eikaiwas but 5 tertiary institutions (universities or technical colleges) went out of business in Kansai last year, there are probably dozens more that are in serious trouble. My boss at one uni (which employs only 2 native speaker teachers) sdaid he was inundated with resumes for jobs this year though im sure that they are not even advertising.

            In ten years you will see a lot more old people or retired folks (who invariably study for pleasure or in groups at the local community hall than at your local ECC or NOVA). If you can capture that demographic as students you could probably do OK.

            Huge demand for teaching at elementary schools as English is made compulsory from 5th grade but as mentioned most jobs will go to native speakers of Japanese, bilinguals or returnees, rather than off the boat native speakers. There is less of a demand for learning 'native' accents than it is to have exposure to English, imperfect as it is. Most BOEs and mom and pop eikaiwas now realise they cant make money by paying foreigners the salaries they do and stay in business. Something has to give.

            Comment


            • #7
              KB, why even bother being a teacher in a country where the people who make the standards the teachers have to follow are totally ignorant?

              Better by far to do something the Japanese can't or won't do and force change that way.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post
                They've been saying the same thing in Korea for millennia yet nothing actually comes of it. When it comes down to it, indigenous English speakers still don't have passable English. It is to the point that only foreigners whom have spent time in Korea can really understand them. They drop articles that you can't drop in English as they would in Korean, most indigenous English speakers are still in the habit of pronouncing words through their language (hanguel) instead of trying to use proper English pronunciation ("finish" becomes "finishee", etc.) The abhorent state of spoken English in Korea (which is still better than Japan, apparently) will always prevent any policy changes that force foreigners out of the country.

                [...]The only way they're going to convince themselves to let English teachers go is if they convince themselves that there is no need for native English speakers in these countries. Neither Korea nor Japan is at this stage yet.

                [...]

                In short, I can't see Japan getting rid of it's foreign English teachers anytime soon.

                The problem is that I think Japan has decided to do *EXACTLY* that, in blatant disregard to all of your above important and equally obvious points. The logic is that English is a tool for controlling university enrollments (not for speaking to actual foreigners- what self-respecting Japanese person would ever want to do that?!) and therefore little more than a product. You don't need native speakers in the learning process because the ultimate goal has become simply a concept of prestige completely disconnected from native speakers. That's why the English doesn't even have to be "correct" English anymore- as long as you can replicate TOEIC/whatever English, you never need anything else. This system actually works better in the minds of many Japanese, because it makes learning English "distinctly Japanese" (or more plainly- means that it can be twisted and altered based on whether a teacher wants to hide his mistakes in front of a class, someone wants to show off at a public function by speaking gibberish that none of the other non-English speakers would catch anyway, etc.)

                Having native speakers around reminds people that first and foremost, English is a living language spoken by real people, and that's what people behind this policy are trying to squash. I know nearly 70-something young people enrolled in a university English teaching license program, and only 20 or so can actually use English, and only about 8 of those would actually ever want to use English with a non-Japanese person. But nearly all will become English teachers in the next 2-3 years, and some of you may be forced to work under them while pretending every mistake they make is gold. English in Japan is a business, not a language.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by edin日本 View Post
                  KB, why even bother being a teacher in a country where the people who make the standards the teachers have to follow are totally ignorant?
                  .
                  You teach in this country because every year you will have people pour out of universities and decide hell or high water they are going to come to Japan, whether there are jobs or not and even if they wages are not sustainable or that you can live on it. Supply of foreigners exceeds demand and pushes down salaries. Employers pay less as they know they can get someone to work a forty hour week for what they would pay someone at mcDonalds, even though you had to fly halfway around the world to find a job.

                  People put up with it as they basically have no choice and there are no other jobs they can reasonably expect to do here, give the lack of vocational and Japanese language skills. People will come to Japan in spite of themselves and whatever the veterans here say about the job market is like water off a duck's back to them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sounds like a repeat of what led up to WW2. Meiji era saw a lot of educated Japanese learning foreign languages so they could figure out the technology that made the west superior. By the early Showa era learning a foreign language was something that was done Japanese style and often frowned upon by the PTB. Remember it took the geniuses at the Gaimusho 2 weeks to translate the Declaration of War between the US and Japan and that's why it was late.

                    I can see one real stumbling block-China. Chinese gov't types get insulted when Japanese speak their language and a Japanese national who is a flawless Mandarin speaker will be treated as if he/she is speaking gibberish and will be forced to use English in any negotiations. I don't see that changing anytime soon-unless of course China invades and occupies Japan.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      You teach in this country because every year you will have people pour out of universities and decide hell or high water they are going to come to Japan, whether there are jobs or not and even if they wages are not sustainable or that you can live on it. Supply of foreigners exceeds demand and pushes down salaries. Employers pay less as they know they can get someone to work a forty hour week for what they would pay someone at mcDonalds, even though you had to fly halfway around the world to find a job.

                      People put up with it as they basically have no choice and there are no other jobs they can reasonably expect to do here, give the lack of vocational and Japanese language skills. People will come to Japan in spite of themselves and whatever the veterans here say about the job market is like water off a duck's back to them.
                      Would you like a job in sales? 15% commission on every ZennCar you sell. That is if the MOT lets me bring these little babies in...

                      http://www.zenncars.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                        ...Most BOEs and mom and pop eikaiwas now realise they cant make money by paying foreigners the salaries they do and stay in business. Something has to give.
                        Exactly. The only way a lot of these schools/dispatch companies are going to survive is by cutting teacher salaries and with a surplus of gaijins looking for teaching gigs this shouldn’t be difficult.

                        Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                        ...People will come to Japan in spite of themselves and whatever the veterans here say about the job market is like water off a duck's back to them.
                        That’s o.k. However, I don’t have much sympathy for those who come and later moan about what a bummer the job is. These days there's more than enough information on-line that a newbie shouldn't be surprised when they find themselves suddenly fuxed-over or bored to tears with teaching English.



                        Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post

                        I'm planning to stay in Japan for awhile..... Going back to my home country is becoming less and less of a viable option.... Do you think its going to get better for Japan in the coming years? Better for teachers?
                        Not at the university level. The party’s been over for some time and with qualifications becoming increasing more stringent for the p/t teacher you really need to ask yourself is it worth all the time/effort esp. if you’re just starting out. Now I don’t know anything about teaching in Korea but in Japan the industry is a joke and if you plan on teaching at language schools for a long time you can bet the joke will be on you. As hard as things might seem back home you’ve got a much better future in your own country than you do mucking around as a language school teacher for years on end.
                        Last edited by Ken44; 2010-01-18, 09:57 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post
                          Really want students to learn English? Have more incentives for foreign English teachers to stay longer at one job. Pay each teacher more. Have benefits. Make it more of a career and less of a "goof off for a year then go home" experience. Have a standard, extremely well designed curriculum for every... single... day of English instruction from day 1 to day 3000. Reward effective teachers. The only way they're going to convince themselves to let English teachers go is if they convince themselves that there is no need for native English speakers in these countries. Neither Korea nor Japan is at this stage yet.
                          I agree with this statement but the day this happens is the day GABA is a respected company in Japan.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by IncognitoHFX View Post
                            I'm not an economist and only have a rudimentary understanding of how the stock market works. I mean, I've tried understanding it before but I just don't have that kind of brain or that kind of patience.

                            I'm planning to stay in Japan for awhile. I got some news from back home, one of the only decent employers that a few of my friends were employed with packed up and moved to India leaving their small employee base out on the street to tear each other's throats out for a few minimum wage jobs here and there. These aren't high school dropouts, the vast majority of people I know back home have at least a degree and possibly more. This decision again reinforced my idea about staying in Japan for a long time. Going back to my home country is becoming less and less of a viable option.

                            Anyway, I was wondering if those of you who knew a bit more about economics or Japan or both could provide some insight into the title of this post. Do you think its going to get better for Japan in the coming years? Better for teachers? Do you think the market will continue shrinking or do you think it has already hit rock bottom?

                            Heh, I think Japan would be wise to reel in America's debt to them or to increase the interest on it.
                            Based on the current fiscal policies and budget, the UK and Japan have a high chance of defaulting on their debts, rendering their currencies useless.

                            Since the world is becoming more globalized, the division of wages will be based more on the merit of the employee, rather than his nationality. For example, janitors at India, China, UK, US, and Japan will make the same wage, while doctors in China, UK, US, and Japan will be making six figure salaries.

                            What do you need to do to guarantee a stable future? Don't be a useless bum and rely mainly on your native tongue to generate income. Go to school and develop a skill that is highly demanded by everyone.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              one thing that everyone in the world tends to forget except bustin down the balls... sorry.. i mean door ...is that what happens if the yen collapses to be about 160-70 the you es dora, 180-190 to the oz dora and 500 yen the kiwi peso (sorry kiwi ben). the way the japanese economy is going;it just seems to going from bad to worse-just take a look at jal and you get the picture. if dispatch companies are paying 230 000 yen a month and the green go home dollar is around 160-70 yen are the yankee doodle dandees still going to come to japan when they can make more money working at walmart? but then again i think i'd rather bang j@p clam to wlamart clam.

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