I do enjoy team-teaching and I am grateful that they started the JET programme. The benefits of team-teaching are great. Especially in students' listening comprehension, the improvement is vast. I can see a great difference in how much aural English my students understand. Those students have been taught by ALTs right from the beginning of their English learning in junior high school. In comparison with the students 5 years ago, who had no experience with a teamtaught class, current students have developed a better ear.
Back then, when our first ALT walked into the classroom, she would get either no reaction, or a rather negative reaction. Students used to react with, "Oh no, a foreigner! What should I do?" "I'm Japanese. Why should I learn Englishr "Only the JTE and ALT are having fun. I don't even understand what*s going on." "I hate this type of class because I can't fall asleep." Now, when an ALT walks into a classroom, she gets a more positive reaction. Of course, the negative reactions mentioned above have not disappeared, but students now look happier to have an ALT in their classroom than when its just me alone. I think this change has been caused
by their experiences with ALTs during their JHStime.
I guess the greatest benefit that students can experience in the classrooms is that they can actually see someone speaking in English. Instead of English as merely a school subject, it has become a living language.
Another very important benefit that students and Japanese staff get from having an ALT at their schools, is that they get used to having a foreigner as their teacher and colleague. They get some idea that someone from another country is not just "a foreigner", but that they also have feeling same as their own. By seeing the
ALT teach, speak, eat, smile, or just be, I guess people get to know "a foreigner" in a more personal sense.
The only problems I can think of are, for one, that there are not enough ALTs for all the schools in this prefecture. I find it a pity that not every school has at least one ALT. The other problem exists because a class can be visited by an ALT only a limited number of times at irregular intervals. This makes it hard for a JTE to involve the ALT in the normal class procedure or materials.