よい子供英会話スクールを選ぶには:

お選びになった英会話スクールが良いかどうか、確信が持てないという事がおありかと思います。   私事ですが、子供のピアノ教室を選ぶときに経験がないため、同じような思いをしたことがあります。   今回は、良い英会話スクールを選ぶにあたってのいくつかのポイント紹介します。     ● クラスでいちばん話すのは誰ですか?   先生ですか?生徒ですか? 生徒が話す時間がたくさんあること(小学生以上では2~3人組になって)が大切です。   ● 活気のある、大きな声で話すクラスでしたか?   叫び声のような過度に騒々しいクラスはいけません。 しかし生徒が大きな声で話すのは大切です。発音や言葉はしばしば間違っていることがあります。   ● 日本語がたくさん話されていましたか?   生徒がアクティビティーをするときに日本語をたくさん話すと、英語を聞くことができません。先生がたくさん日本語を話すことは、生徒の英語の能力を損なうことになります。明確で簡単な方法で教えれば、英語を理解するのに過度な日本語は必要ありません。(日本語が問題ない場合もあります。ブログのNo Japanese in Class を参照にして下さい。)    ● レッスンは外国人教師と日本人教師のチームティーチングでしたか?    チームティーチングが必ずしも悪いわけではありません。 多くの英会話スクールでチームティーチングが行われていますが、それは外国人の先生が教えるという事で宣伝にしたいという事があります。(そして、授業料が高くなる) 実のところ、外国人の先生の方はしばしば経験が浅い、もしくは責任がないという事があります。日本人の先生の方が経験豊富な本当の先生で、外国人の先生に何をすべきか指示しサポートや生徒の監督のためにそこにいます。 良いレッスンには二人の先生は必要ありません。 英語だけ話す経験豊富な先生が一人必要なだけです。   ● 4つのスキルを(reading,writing,speaking,listening)を教えていましたか?   5歳未満の生徒は(鉛筆のスキルが不足しているため)書くことはほとんどないでしょうが、クラスでフォニックスを学ぶことによって書くことの準備をするべきです。   ● どのようなテキストでしたか? テキストに次のものが含まれていると警告ベルが鳴ります。   1、写したり、なぞったりする機械的な作業は学習とは無関係です。 2、大きなイラストがページの大部分を占め、ライティング・マッチング・ぬり絵など生徒がやる部分が少ない。 3、先生の指示がたくさん必要とするもの。生徒が自主的に学習できません。 4、簡単すぎるワークや a か b かを選ぶようなもの。あなたのお子さんはもっと賢いですよ。   テキストはやる気を促すものであるべきです。 生徒はフォニックス、質問と回答そしてたくさんの語彙を学ぶべきです。復習ができ、一回の学習で不十分の時には再度ページをやり直せるものであるべきです。   ● 体験レッスンはどうでしたか   先生は親しみやすく知識が豊富でしたか? すべての生徒に参加する機会を与えられていましたか? 最初のアクティビティーから徐々に難しいものへと、上達するさまを見て取れましたか? … Read more

Our Lessons Now

 Our lessons at Dave and Amy English School have changed a lot in the past year.    While COVID forced the change, there are many things we will keep post COVID.   Individual desks:      Previously, we had 1 big table.   Students would do reading and speaking activities  in groups of 3 or … Read more

Life in Lockdown

I advise my kids to savor the moment, because life is always changing.    Life has certainly changed now.       Like everyone, we locked down suddenly.   We shut our four English Schools and moved online.  Golds’ Gym, our regular hangout, shut.   Our boys’ soccer and kick boxing, closed.    Piano and … Read more

Our School in Lockdown

Abe’s sudden announcement of school closure for the first 2 weeks of March threw our school (Dave and Amy English School) into turmoil.     Abe’s announcement came on the Thursday night.   All public schools would close from the following Tuesday for 2 weeks.    We mirrored the public policy.   We held lessons … Read more

Countdown to Lockdown

At the end of March 2020 we moved to an apartment near our old rental house.    The backdrop to this move was the growing Covid 19 epidemic.   On our return from Christmas in the USA, news of the virus lingered.    After 25 years in Japan, we finally took the plunge and bought … Read more

Limit Japanese in Class

In our hour long after school English lessons, we have a no Japanese policy.     Why do we want English only lessons?       Japanese in class is the number 1 reason students quit.   We get a lot of students from other schools because of this.    (If you’re a school near … Read more

Leon’s Eyes

It was meant to be a quick trip to the eye doctor.   Leon had missed his annual school eye exam because of headaches.   So we were instructed to visit a clinic.     I wasn’t even planning on staying—just dropping Leon off on the way to work.   (For those not in Japan, … Read more

Trial Lesson Hell

Here’s some of our terrible trial lesson stories:   The uninvited guest   Doing a trial lesson in the August heat, a meaty cockroach flew out of the air-conditioning onto the trial lesson Mom’s lap.    Signed up?: No   Lessons Learned: Cockroach traps needed.   No more trial lessons in August:  Students come hot … Read more

Happy English

Happy, clappy English teaching:    not a fan.    Why?         After 22 years here, we are miserable sods jaded with teaching and life itself.     Ha ha, gotcha!       No, we are very happy people but definitely not into the concept of bouncing around a class, bug eyed leading … Read more

Time on Text

At Dave and Amy English School, we believe the ideal length of time on a text is 1 year or less.     Just to be clear, we don’t rush students through texts or level them up without merit.       After 1 year, we expect the student to be able to level up to … Read more

CVC Phonics Text and Games

The following is how we use My English Book and Me 4 text and games / flashcards in our classrooms.       The Japanese translation is here.     We give the following to all students so that they know exactly how / what we are teaching.     1.  About the Texts My English … Read more

Naming your School

It might seem ridiculous, but it took A LOT of thought before we decided on Dave and Amy English School as THE name for our school.            At first, Green Gopher, Purple Panda, Mauve Marsupial were deliberated on because there were similarly named local schools.      Then, the ubiquitous Rainbow … Read more

Advertising: What we DON’T do

In Part 1, we explained our current advertising methods. This is what we have previously tried (or not tried) and our thoughts on the effectiveness of those methods. 1. FLYERS in Mailboxes. Worth doing if you need students / just starting out. In the early days of our school, Dave spent many cold, dark nights … Read more

Advertising your English School

Currently, Dave and I: 1.  Have BRIGHT, COLORFUL eye-catching signs.  Essential information only.   Don’t duplicate (English school and eikaiwa kyoshitsu— not both needed)    Cartoon faces: might be effective if like Dave you are “facially challenged”.     (and faces stand out)    About us:   All of our school  signs are visible from … Read more

Saying Good – Bye to Seiji

Dave and I went to the wake of our dear friend Seiji Nakayama yesterday.   He died aged 47, saving his and another child from a river.    He was a great guy, loved by everyone.         The wake couldn’t do him justice.   The sheer numbers made that impossible.     … Read more

Learn from the Best: Brown Teachers

At Brown University, I filled my schedule with classes from teachers that were known to be great teachers.   It didn’t matter WHAT they taught.  If they got rave reviews from previous students, I signed up to their lessons.   And I learned so much.   A good teacher makes learning fun, challenging and advances … Read more

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