The History

David English House was founded by David Paul in an apartment in Hiroshima in 1982 and became widely respected throughout East Asia for its high educational standards and for the extensive support it provided for the professional development of English language teachers. Within 15 years, there were 50 full-time teachers and staff in Hiroshima and about the same again in franchises in Thailand and Korea.

David English House closed in 2010 for financial reasons, and Language Teaching Professionals was founded by David Paul to continue the professional development activities of David English House.

Language Teaching Professionals is quite different from David English House in that it has no schools. Also, rather than having a lot of its own staff, it brings together a community of educators who are dedicated to supporting English education.

1982: Starting Out

David English House was founded by David Paul in a private apartment in Hiroshima. Students ranged from elementary school children to advanced adults. There was a very friendly atmosphere in the school even though it grew so quickly. Many students also went camping together, played tennis or soccer together, had parties and bonded into a community.

There were 100 students in the first year, 200 in the second year, 400 in the 3rd year, 800 in the fourth year . . .  The school had to move to larger premises four times in the first seven years, and there were eventually about 35 branches in Hiroshima and franchises in other countries.From the beginning, the key aim was to help professionalize English language teaching. At first the focus was just on the Hiroshima area. This was later extended to Japan, and then to a number of Asian countries.

From 1983: Entering the Education System

David English House began supplying teachers to elementary schools, junior/senior high schools and universities in the Hiroshima area. We supplied both full-time and part-time teachers to many schools in Hiroshima prefecture. In some areas we worked closely with local boards of education which sometimes meant that our teachers lived in very rural areas. We also supplied teachers to most of the leading private junior/senior high schools in Hiroshima city.

It was a great privilege to be so accepted within the Japanese educational system. It also meant we could help motivate students who might not normally be interested in English. The students in our own schools tended to already be interested in learning English, but students at regular elementary schools, high schools and universities had more varied levels of motivation. This posed a stimulating challenge to us as educators.

From 1991: Best-Selling Teaching Materials

When ‘Finding Out’, David Paul’s course for elementary school children, was published and quickly became an international bestseller, we began to realize that a lot of the teaching ideas we had been developing in Hiroshima were quite different from prevailing methodologies, and we found we had a lot of things to say that teachers wanted to listen to.

‘Finding Out’ was followed by other successful course materials, ‘Communicate’, a course for teenage and adult beginners, and ‘Communication Strategies’, a course for intermediate and upper intermediate college students and adults. All of these materials came out of the David English House classrooms, where they were rigorously tried out and commented on by our teachers over many years. This solid grounding in the reality of the classroom has led to the books being popular for many years.

From 1991: Noticing the Wider World

The success of ‘Finding Out’ led to David being invited to do workshops and give presentations all around Japan and then at conferences in other countries in East Asia. Our educational reputation both in Hiroshima and all around the region was growing very fast, and we realized this created an opportunity to have a significant impact on English language teaching in east Asia.

We started focusing on supporting the professional development of English teachers in the region. We published three free magazines for teachers, which we sent out to many teachers in Hiroshima Prefecture, and later to teachers around Japan who requested them. We also started running workshops on student-centered methodology that works well with East Asian students, and became a center for developing student-centered ideas.

From 1995: Center for the Professional Development of Teachers

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Many things began to happen at the same time. We became the Japan representative for the University of Birmingham Distance MA in TEFL/TESL, and the course immediately became the most popular course of its kind in Japan. On the strength of this, we began looking for a Distance MA in Japanese. Everybody we asked suggested Sheffield, so we approached the School of East Asian Studies at Sheffield and we began representing two Sheffield Distance MAs in Japanese and a Japanese language course for beginners.

While all this was going on, we began to develop our own training courses in teaching children, and started running all over the place training teachers. We also became the Japan office for leading ELT Journals and magazines (English Teaching professional, ELT Journal, Applied Linguistics, Modern English Teacher . . .), and for various publishers.

From 1995: Teacher Training throughout East Asia

Somewhere among all of this, ‘Finding Out’ and ‘Communicate’ became popular in a number of other countries, and David got invited to start training teachers overseas, especially in Thailand and Korea.

We started franchise schools and training centers in both these countries, and began to train large numbers of elementary school teachers who were having to teach English for the first time. We also became consultants for various chain schools, teacher training courses, and for the Thai Ministry of Education.

From 1999: Establishing and Supporting ETJ

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David Paul founded ETJ (English Teachers in Japan), a free volunteer group for supporting the professional development of teachers, especially teachers who need the most support. The aim was to build a community of teachers who would work together to help professionalize ELT in Japan. ETJ now has about 10,000 members and is playing a key role in ELT throughout Japan. There is still a lot to do, and ETJ still has enormous potential as a concept, but there is little doubt about the impact that it has already had.

ETJ has active regional groups around Japan , major events, active social media groups, and, most important of all, a positive, supportive community.

2003: A Widely-Read Handbook for Teachers of Children

In 2003, Pearson published David Paul’s ‘Teaching English to Children in Asia’ which was translated into Japanese, Korean and Chinese and became a widely acclaimed handbook for teachers of children in the region.

‘Teaching English to Children in Asia’ is a child-centered approach for teachers of elementary school children in East Asia. It is firmly rooted in constructivist psychology, but focuses on the practical classroom application of this approach.

From 2010: Language Teaching Professionals

When David English House closed in 2010, David Paul founded Language Teaching Professionals to continue many of the David English House professional development projects and to support ETJ.

Language Teaching Professionals is run by David Paul, but brings together a group of educators who put priority on supporting the professional development of language teachers. We run teacher training courses, develop materials, support teachers who have developed their own materials, have a book store, provide forums for teachers to share and discuss their ideas . . . and much more.

From 2011: Supporting Teachers through Social Media

Language Teaching Professionals has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to support the professional development of teachers. The Facebook page has about 400,000 fans.

Language Teaching Professionals also has its one network, the ‘Language Teaching Network’ that is based on regional groups around Japan, and aims to strengthen local communities of teachers.

From 2020: YouTube Teacher Training Videos

There are now Language Teaching Professionals and ETJ YouTube channels. The Language Teaching Professionals channel is a kind of legacy project for David Paul so has to have a more permanent record of his tideas on teaching children. The ETJ channel is aimed at providing an opportunity for teachers in Japan to share teaching ideas.

The Language Teaching Professionals channel covers topics like ‘How Children Learn’, ‘Child-Centered Learning’, ‘Active Phonics’, ‘Classroom Management’ and much more.

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