Beware - Rant Ahead [OP-ED]

A friend came across this "worksheet" floating around on the Internet, followed by praise for how "amazing" the worksheet was and various lofty claims about its effectiveness at teaching certain concepts.

At first, we had a good old incredulous laugh about it - but then I started thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know).


Now, I don't want to embarrass the creator of the worksheet publicly, so I'm not going to link to the original site that it came from.

The person is working in Japan as a teacher in some capacity, and they obviously care enough about the job as their website has been designed for students to review class work and for out-of-school practice.

This worksheet, though...

Click to view full worksheet


The worksheet purports to be a review of countable and uncountable nouns.

Frankly speaking, though, it's sub-par.

I'm not going to get into an analysis of why I believe this to be so. That's a discussion for another time and place.

However, for me, the problem is more about the greater issue of teacher education and training in general - or, rather, the lack thereof.

Now, I don't know the qualifications or experience of this person, but a worksheet of this standard reminds me of the lack of real training and/or experience that many ALTs, JETs, and even direct hire teachers have.

Schools, Boards of Educations, and Dispatch Companies, all have a responsibility to vet teachers more than "not at all". They need to stop hiring people on the basis of their resume and the fact that they seem vaguely normal in the interview.

Given that most people hired here in Japan have little (or no) qualifications to begin with, Boards of Education vis-a-vis the Ministry of Education need to band together to provide teachers opportunities for ongoing professional development, along with opportunities to obtain professional qualifications.

They must also provide actual incentives for teachers to actively seek out training.

Let me be clear: when I say "professional training", I do not mean the crap that one infamous dispatch company taught me at Osaka City Board of Education - namely, "how to hold a flash card". These dispatch companies do not have a clue.

By the way, be sure to click on the PDF link to see the whole worksheet. (The "pubes" on the soap are a classy feature that's sure to provoke a "eww" in class.)

While qualifications and training do not guarantee a good teacher, they're certainly a start.

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