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The Study of Crew Method: H.E. Palmer's Influence and Its Extension in Japan

Abstract/Résumé: H. E. Palmer (1877-1924) has been known for his language teaching method, the Oral Method. While Crew Method, the English teaching method at Kobe College Junior High School (established in 1875) has been pointed out that it has had influences from Palmer’s Oral Method. Crew Method is recognized as outstandingly unique teaching method with the emphasis of natural pronunciation and series of oral works. Both of them have been usually prioritized lower at the public schools. Translation and grammar drills, on the other hand, had been counted important part of learning English. As example of adaptation of Palmer's teaching method, "Fukushima Plan" and "Shonan Plan" have been studied. But, after the World War II, neither of them was succeeded to newly formed schools. Crew Method could be mentioned as the method affected by Oral method which is still actively used at school. Therefore studying Crew Method could be important in order to partially know the history of English teaching in Japan. In this study, the author attempts to understand the development of Crew Method having the following aims. 1) To understand the general history of English teaching in Japan, especially focused on trends from the Meiji, Taisho and to early Showa period in terms of Palmer’s influences to the Japanese schools. 2) To compare the different aspects of language education method at girls’ private schools and public schools in terms of developmental processes. 3) To understand Palmer’s language teaching method from the perspective of the linguistics. According to the official record of school, teachers at Kobe College Junior High School had joined Palmer’s study sessions and lectures to attain up-to-date knowledge for language teaching at that time. In doing so, the idea based on the Oral Method had been introduced. Palmer’s teaching method has been realized in Kobe College with the form of dominant use of English in classroom, the intensive teaching of pronunciation with phonetic symbols in advance of teaching of alphabets. In addition, unique teaching materials and absence of textbooks seem to be an important key to realize the successful lesson. The piles of teaching materials that are eligible to use in the English lessons at Kobe College Junior High School named “Angie Crew Series” will be investigated to show the influence of the Oral Method.