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Welcome to Jordan vol.1

"Hello! Welcome to Jordan" While walking on the street, Jordanian people, from children to the elderly, talk to me. For picking up the conversation, it's uncommon phrase. From my experience, in Asian country for example, I was said "How are you?" by children from a distance. Before I responded it, they said "I'm fine thank you" finishing up the conversation by themselves and gone. Before long the same kids came back and tried next phrase "What's your name?" It's usual. So I felt politeness and hospitality of Muslim people in the Jordanian's "Welcome to Jordan"(with characteristic accent of rolled 'r).

Well, so how did I respond to foreigner in my childhood? Even "How are you?" didn't come out from my mouth. I remember one day two American guys , I guess they were missionaries, on the bike passed through the town street. Me and my friends stopped them and tried to make a conversation. But we didn't know any English. So we had to gesture mumbling "ah...uh.." We were irritated for our poor linguistic ability. However the two Americans were never irritated and accompanied us with great patience.
Our English education was poor. The first phrase we learned in a junior high English class was "This is a pen" But I've never used the phrase in actual situations later on. Meanwhile in my father's days, the first phrase was "I'm a boy" That's terrible too. Japan's English education used to be like that.

It used to be? Yeah, Japan's English education is widely changed these days. I heard so. Children get start their English class from elementary school. With foreign teachers. It's said "What Japanese people have a poor ability of English is all from the fact they don't touch with English in very beginning of school years. The early education is a key to improve their English" Then it became a trend. Although I don't think so.

Listening, reading, speaking or writing English requires some common knowledge and basic skill of composition. "Just listen up native English. Then you would be able to learn English unconsciously" It's a catch copy of some English text. But for me, it's an illusion. Language study should be in the conscious. The age when children express themselves enough in their mother tong must be in their junior high. So that's the best time to get start foreign language study. And one more thing. It's possible to make them, elementary school kids, misunderstand only English is foreign language and their goal is speaking English like natives. Although even grown-up tend to never mentioned story contents but looks, at least here in Japan.

However I don't mean starting language study in elementary school is wrong. A current "English class" in the elementary school should be changed to "Communication class". Like my bitter sweet experience with the Americans, why not get start the language study from gesture. I'm not joking. It must be quite inconvenient world. That's why people use language as a communication tool. It includes a hand sign, Chinese, Russian ...and English is just one of them. They would be taught it. Teacher always make them conscious "language" Training of presentation or debate in Japanese must be effective.
Inviting a foreign teacher as a monthly guest is useful not only for communication training between different language speakers but also knowing the world. It must improve children's sense of balance in the global community.

Sooner or later they would learn English in a junior high. The student who got communication study in advance can face to the English study differently. There are big difference to the student who's screwed up "This is a pen" all of sudden. I'm sure.

Feb. 2012

Today's piece
" Portrait " Salt, Jordan 2010

fumikatz osada photographie