An incompetent idiot: 池田信夫 (Ikeda Nobuo)
He is the chief of a conservative Japanese blog forum that often complains about liberal minds. Ikeda, who is a professor of a small private Japanese university, does not understand even microns of science and logic of climate change. http://newsweekjapan.jp/column/ikeda/2009/09/25.php Climate change is not measured by year by year variation, it must be measured by the longer term trend, but not so long enough that Earth spin axis starts fluctuating. No wonder he thinks university is useless since people like him are teaching. Top class scientists would strongly disagree. If he thinks university is useless, that is reflecting his qualification as professor: he is a useless prof, just staying the position for the sake of money and prestige.
A stupid program. I am more scared with these sensationalists in the program who probably did not study seriously in the past than the presumably alarming facts.
Why do not they include the number of graduate students? Obviously these number probably increased or are stable. As far as I know there are quite many people are in PhD programs in other countries. That is what matters most in the US education. No need to watch this crap. Superficial stats do not solve any things.
The author has commented my entries. He has extensive first hand experience in EFL in Japan. Any one interested in this topic will find it insightful. He pointed out 10 reasons why English learning in Japan fail. I mostly copied his short version of them. You can just go straight to his web page.
TEN REASONS WHY ENGLISH LEARNING IN JAPAN FAILS
Charles Jannuzi, University of Fukui, Japan
1. Japan is linguistically and culturally self: self-sufficient language
2. Japanese is not closely related to English: linguistic-separation
3. Japanese is not written with an alphabet– alphabetical-difference
4. Learning Japanese requires too much effort — no energy left for another language5. Lack of effective national policy on foreign language education
6. The situation at universities–negative washback from entrance exams and the preparation for them at the senior highs.
7. The situation at universities regarding teacher-student relations, backgrounds, goals: incompatible expectations at universities
8. A lack of EFL programs, specialties, majors, minors, concentrations. There is plenty of ‘General English’. Indeed, that is one of the bitter irony of teaching EFL in Japan. Many of us have jobs because English is required, but we end up wasting far too much time and effort trying to teach students who are in class only because they have to be or have a vague idea that they want to study English with a foreigner.
9. The foreign language teaching and learning ‘culture’. That is, the overall approach to teaching and learning EFL (and these are collaborative activities) that is specific to Japan. Japanese EFL teachers tend towards ‘yaku-doku’, which could be called a version of ‘grammar-translation’. Meanwhile, foreign teachers are drawn to mostly production activities–conversational pair practice–for which there is little or no accountability in terms of evaluation.
10. The language teaching ‘profession’ in Japan. There is a lack of serious and useful teacher training and professional development. In higher education, those who are most often designated to teach EFL courses have backgrounds in literature, linguistics, and teacher training, not actual EFL teaching. If asked, many will even say that they are not EFL teachers and are not interested in teaching EFL.
These points can hinder English learning of Japanese. Any one however can overcome these obstacles if they have strong will or they face with urgent necessity. A nation, Schools nor teachers are not the ones that determine the fate of individuals. It is Individuals who ultimately defines their own fate. (But this cannot be the national policy since a nation has to elevate its people in principle.)
You will find many insights on English education in Japan. Her thesis is probably more useful than non-systematic discussion on this topic. This is better than a blog written by critics who proclaim to be an English expert without any credential. Getting a PhD is not impossibly difficult but it is more taxing than just writing blogs.
INVESTIGATING CLASSROOM DYNAMICS IN JAPANESE UNIVERSITY EFL CLASSROOMS: YASUYO MATSUMOTO
A thesis submitted to
The University of Birmingham
For the degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Department of English
The University of Birmingham
Since 1868 to the present day, the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and Culture (MEXT) has implemented many reforms to enhance English education in Japanese universities. However, much still remains to be done to improve the situation and one of the biggest hurdles is the fact that there are many unmotivated students in Japanese university EFL classrooms. This thesis explores the reasons for this problem by focusing on inter- and intra-relations between teachers and students in this context. Data were collected through classroom observations, interviews and questionnaires. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and uses space and methodological triangulation in order to overcome parochialism. My conclusions are that: 1) Visible and invisible inter-member relations exist between members of university classes and their teachers; 2) The teacher‟s behaviour affects the students‟ behaviour and impacts on their learning; and 3) Cooperative learning has a positive influence on language acquisition; 4) Japanese university students may not perceive how little interaction they have with their teacher; 5) Students exhibit gender differences in terms of the types of problems encountered and the ways in which they deal with them, but some problems are dealt with negatively by female and male students alike; and 6) Teachers appear not to perceive the problems and when they do they often deal with them by using negative strategies.
Some highlights from “Higher Education in Japan Higher Education in JapanHigher Education” They should be able to write better English, though that is not the point of the report.
“Outline of measures for “300,000 International Students Plan”
1. To invite international students to study in Japan
>Motivation for studying in Japan and expansion of the one-stop service>
$ To actively provide information about studying in Japan.
$ To strengthen the consultative function for students willing to study in Japan.
$ To enrich overseas Japanese language education and other measures.
2. To improve entrances including entrance examination and admission to university and Japan
>To facilitate studying in Japan>
$ To strengthen universities’ abilities to provide information
$ To promote admission before students’ arrival in Japan.
$ To promote the settlement of various procedures before students’ arrival in Japan.
$ To have universities strictly manage their registrations and simplify immigration inspection etc. and other measures.
3. To promote the globalization of universities etc.
>To make universities more attractive>
$ To predominantly develop Universities as centers for Internationalization (30).
$ To increase courses conducted only in English.
$ To promote double degree programs, short-term overseas study programs and others.
$ To strengthen specialized organizational systems including universities etc. and other measures.
4. To create an acceptance environment
>Efforts to create an environment where students can feel at ease to concentrate on their study.
$ To make it possible to provide students with accommodation for a year or less after their arrival in Japan.
$ To improve and utilize the Japanese government scholarship student system etc.
$ To support and promote exchange activities with local communities, businesses, etc.
$ To enrich Japanese language education in Japan.
$ To give livelihood support to international students etc. and other measures.
5. To promote the social acceptance of students after graduation/completion.
>Globalization of the Japanese society>
$ Industry, government and academia cooperate to support students in seeking jobs or starting enterprises.
$ To consider clarification of the visa status and reworking of students’ permitted period of residence.
$ To enrich follow-up activities after students return to their own countries and other measures.
$ “Outline of measures for “300,000 International Students Plan”
The number of graduate students more than doubled in the past 20 years while the population of that age group decreased significantly. The older generation might question of the qualification and quality of these students. While younger generations argue that they are working harder and smarter, and the advance of technologies gives them greater advantage over their previous generations. This type of generational conflicts probably existed even before human started using fire if they lived long enough. All the generations think they are living in a special moment.
The number of Japanese who study abroad is not decreasing when the number of students is factored into the equation. Over all people are now studying many different places as the price of education in developed countries become prohibitively high. Despite constant political hostility between Asian neighbors, many Japanese find opportunities in these countries.
[PDF] 日本人の海外留学者数 … 76,464 ← 日本人の海外留学者数
Many people argued that Chinese education system is too rigid to produce creative graduates.
- “The Chinese educational system is terrible at producing workers with innovative skills for Chinese economy. It produces people who memorize existing facts rather than discovering new facts; who fish for existing solutions rather than coming up with new ones; who execute orders rather than inventing new ways of doing things. In other words they do not solve problems for their employers.”
Yasheng Huang, professor of political economy and international management at Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Continue Reading
You might just want to check Velvet EBI page by Daniel. You can also find further tips within the package and more tips from the user group.
Thank you Daniel. I think he is now in UCSC. He provided me important tips in the discussion group before.
(from a user-discussion group)
Dear Velvet users,
it’s my pleasure to announce the 1.0.01 release of Velvet!
Thanks to the Columbus module, Velvet now doubles up as an assisted assembler. In other words, if you already have sequences to guide the assembly (regions, contigs, exons, anything really), you can map the reads onto these sequences (or onto a reference genome if more convenient) and feed the reference along with the alignment files to Velvet.