68% of elementary school teachers lack confidence in teaching English

A majority of elementary school teachers who are about to start teaching English as a required subject to fifth and sixth graders this April lack confidence in teaching the subject and feel burdened by it, a recent survey by a private research body showed Tuesday.

The survey of teachers conducted by Benesse Educational Research & Development Center showed that 68 percent were not confident about teaching English and 62 percent felt it to be a burden.

The results indicate inadequate training, with the center describing the development of teaching materials and other preparations as “insufficient.”

The survey, conducted between July and August, covered 8,000 randomly selected public elementary schools, with a total of 2,326 teachers in charge of fifth or sixth grade classes providing valid responses.

Of the respondents, 81 percent said their current English classes are going well, but those who said they were confident about teaching the subject remained low at 32 percent. Twelve percent said they were not confident, while 56 percent said they did not have much confidence.

Sixty-two percent described teaching English as a burden and 73 percent thought it would be better if teachers who specialize in English gave lessons.

Schools devoted an average of 6.8 hours on training teachers for English classes between April 2009 and last summer, but 20 percent of respondents said they had received no training, the survey showed.