校 長  楠野 宣孝


 Every year, at the end of the first term, we ask all junior and senior high school students to complete a “Lifestyle Survey”. This year, there was a very interesting question included in the survey. The question was, “What is your favorite subject?” When answering, students were able to choose up to three of the subjects they most like from those that they currently take.
 If the question was simply, for example, “Do you like your Japanese language class?” students would answer whether they liked the subject or not, and the results might be different. However, when the students were asked to list their three favorite subjects, the students were able to clearly express which ones in particular they were fond of.
 Upon reviewing the results for this question, the number of junior high school students who chose English was 2.9 times larger than the number who chose English last year. In addition, the number of high school students who chose English was also up, by 1.5 times. Overall, the number of students who chose English as a favorite subject across both the junior and senior high school has risen by 2.3 times since last year. It has been 7 years since I started this kind of questionnaire, but previously there had been almost no change.
 When I thought about the reason for this increase, I came up with a few things. One is that the number of international exchanges students are involved in has risen rapidly since last year. In particular, I heard that interactive classes with teachers abroad and exchanges with students from other countries using Skype have been very popular among our students.
Another reason seems to be the number of opportunities students now have to use English outside of the classroom, such as the English recitation competition for junior high school students and the English speech competition for high school students.
 The biggest reason however is that two native English speakers from New Zealand started to work at Shoin Junior and Senior High School in April of this year. It is not only because their English classes are enjoyable, but also because of their personalities, that they have become close to the students and very popular as native English teachers. It seems that the students are enjoying the fun of communicating with their friends in English.
 On a recent open campus day, two high-school students gave a speech in English about coming to enjoy learning English after initially not doing so. At the same time they were speaking English, a Japanese translation was shown on a large screen behind them. Although they appeared a little nervous in front of such a large group, they steadily grew in confidence and what they had to say had substance.
 In our international liberal arts course, students have been studying English for exams aimed at difficult state and public universities, but at the same time, we are now trying to provide more interesting and fun English lessons so that students who are not good at this subject can enjoy learning English. I’m sure that these students are now having fun communicating with English speakers in a number of ways both inside and outside of the classroom.

Principal Nobutaka Kusuno