(2015/12/01) - I just overheard a conversation between an English teacher and one of his students. The student had some questions about an assignment and the teacher was helping him. Okay - sounds like a scene of pure normality... except the five minute discussion was 99% in Japanese (discussing grammatical details).
This is a key problem with learning a radically different language (and English and Japanese are pretty radically different). A low level student expects things to be explained in their native language, which is understandable enough, but in this case, the student - as a second year high school student - has been studying English for at least four and a half years now. If you don't *use* a language, then you never remember it, and discussing a foreign language in your own language certainly isn't using the foreign language.
I hasten to add here that learning a radically different foreign language is a very difficult thing to do. As for teaching it; ideally it should be one-on-one (one teacher and one student), but the logistics of mass education dictate that one teacher teach a large group of students, so how is that best done? There are no easy answers, but any student of a foreign language should keep in mind that *use* is what gets you to remember a language.
Not especially useful advice for a student studying for exams I suppose, but there it is nonetheless....