School education in Japan is based on the courses of study produced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. These have been recently revised and are in a process of implementation (primary schools - 2011; junior high schools - 2012; senior high schools - 2013). In their sections on 'general policies regarding curriculum formulation,' teachers are expected to foster in pupils and students 'a zest for life' through educational activities. In particular, each school should be committed to enhancing its instruction tofoster students' abilities 'to think', 'to make decisions', 'to express themselves', and other abilities that are necessary to solve problems by using acquired knowledge and skills. As people think, make decisions, and express themselves using languages, teachers should think about fostering learners' language skills to think logically and express their ideas and feelings effectively. In this article, the following points are reported and discussed: (1) the backgrounds of the education reform in Japan, (2) the definitions of 'language ability' and 'language skills' to be acquired, (3) some fundamental ideas for teachers to keep in mind, and also materials to improve students' abilities to think logically and express themselves effectively in English, and (4) several reports on secondary schools where teachers have worked on special projects to improve those abilities of students. The paper emphasizes that students should be given as many opportunities to practice logical thinking and expressing their ideas in class as possible, and that in English language classrooms in particular, teachers should focus more on developing students' 'discourse competence.'