This division is often at the insistence of the Japanese teachers and/or school management (often the same thing), and would be excusable were it not for the fact that some of the teachers have quite bad English* (or at least, conversational skills in English) and an even worse idea of any methodology beyond how to start and end a class "in English". I really find it quite irritating**, and frankly insulting, for often everybody concerned (especially me, when I am viewed "simply" as an "AET"), when it is presumed that "language know-how" and "knowing how to communicate" are poles apart (or can or should be kept poles apart, and that the former is being taken adequate care of independently by the supposedly more "knowledgeable" - knowledge-able? - of the teachers): obviously the two support each other, and I for one feel that a student arrives at a surer knowledge by seeing accurate facts put to fluent and real use. Of course, the "expertise" ('Communication! Communication! Communication! I don't know what it means exactly, but I do know that it's an important buzzword!') of your average JET participant doesn't help, but hey, I'm not the one hiring half those numbskulls, am I? Those in charge can't paint anything other than a cliche given the type of paint and canvas THEY acquired, and the composition THEY sought, can they?In Japan, there appears to be an informal, but well understood division, that language instruction be divided along racial lines. Linguistic content is provided by local instructors and communicative content is provided by foreign teachers. As a result, many foreign teachers whose careers are spent in Japan are under the impression that foreign teachers are necessary to teach communication.
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/v ... 1966#11966 (My experience of teaching in a school that really did have its head up its you-know-where, and treated its foreign teachers, hell often its Japanese teachers too, with utter contempt. Go down to just beyond halfway through my looong post there, to the paragraph beginning with, '* Here's my story, then: .....').
Of course, there are teachers who have excellent English and who could, I am sure, do as good if not a better job than many native speakers, but even these teachers still seem to ultimately prefer limiting themselves to simply teaching (usually lecturing) on the grammar in the books, syllabuses and ultimately the university entrance exams they have to contend with, and they are just not interested in making the language appeal to the 90-95% of students to whom this kind of stuff does NOT appeal or make easy sense (these teachers simply assure me that those who are "suited" to English will develop in similar ways to those in which the teacher did). Then, there is always doubt in their minds, when they do begin developing any remotely communicative activities about exactly what exponents would be suitable (I say "communicative" with the strict proviso that the ACTUAL LANGUAGE needed to complete the activity - beyond compensating "strategies", not that these should be disallowed - will be given SERIOUS thought, which these teachers SHOULD be more than capable of, but often ARE NOT, it seems; (no) doubts and/or can't be bothered?!).
I've suggested elsewhere that for e.g. JTEs to really become good English teachers, they should try teaching Japanese to motivated, expectant, quizzical, demanding FOREIGN LEARNERS - it might help them understand what some of the high school "students" might be feeling, thinking or wanting, and how more of them would probably respond if the teacher would meet them more than only ever up to just halfway (if that!) all the time.
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/v ... 1556#11556
Depending upon teachers who are drawing upon very limited (data-wise, and often incorrect to boot) pedagogical grammars, and imparting them through a lecture-based methodology along with lashings of silly right-wrong memorize the required answer type of questions, does not seem, in my opinion, to be a good way of imparting much "genuine" knowledge-ability (make of that "genuine" what you will***), and in most cases it is a complete turn-off for the students, even if they force themselves to struggle through and remember enough to pass some stupid exam at some future point. (Actually I say "stupid" exam, but those who can pass will probably make impressive, noticeable gains - noticeable to others and themselves - in any language once they start thinking for themselves and actually using or immersing themselves in it. This, however, does not excuse the methodology of their schooling, which could've set them upon a less rocky path much earlier; this path was, after all, the one that finished off most of their classmates as far as any liking or passion for English was concerned!).
So, there may well be many native "teachers" who are nothing of the sort (and shouldn't be accorded too much, if much, respect at all), but there are also plenty of non-native teachers who could be doing a whole lot better even when they are more than linguistically (in both senses of that word, especially the "linguistics" one) capable of doing so. Pleading that they have to cover what's in the exams doesn't excuse them not doing anything to improve the student's general English (for purposes beyond the exam, but that also, I feel, might actually complement exam-in-ability, especially when those exams start to assess aural and especially oral abilities too - as they are now beginning to. Hopefully, this trend won't eventually mean that the exams become, at the other extreme, too subjective and "easy" to pass, either).
*This can range from making statements such as 'He has ever been to Australia - true or false?' multiple times in the course of a "Guess about the AET"-type game, to being almost as incomprehensible as Mr Bean (said teacher actually looked and sounded like Mr Bean, and was called 'Mr Bean' too, to his face. His favorite movies were "religious" ones - no Battle Royale, no sir! I was tempted to ask what he'd thought of Scorcese's take on things...).
**Sorry, having a go at the creators of this "well understood" (accepted, perhaps, but not understood in the sense of being justifiable) rather than at you, Scott!
***The students don't need to be blathering away like natives: communicating nicely and politely (in ultimately and often necessarily, especially pedagogically, limited ways), as many competent non-natives soon manage to, shouldn't be such an impossible achievement to expect, should it?