Niche School

My school is a niche school. It's a place that's particularly appropriate for someone, especially due to being very specific and different from others.

How is it different from others?

Here, I teach conversation which means, my only focus is using English to exchange news and ideas without the help of any kind of text. Conversation in the simplest terms, is two or more people talking about something. One of the most basic types of human communication is conversation and it's the only thing I think is missing from English education in Japan. The best thing about conversation is it can be about any subject, and does not necessarily have any fixed purpose. It allows people with different views of a topic to learn from each other, connect, and build a relationship.

"So, why is it missing from English Education in Japan?"

Before I share my thoughts, understand that I like the Japanese education system. I have 10+ years experience teaching all age groups with most of my time spent teaching in public preschool through high school and the best way I can describe the system is:

the most important thing seems to be "It takes a village to raise a child."

It gets difficult when we talk about English education, or even PE, art and music. These are important, but subjective and not needed for success. Don't get me wrong, they are important and can help you become more successful, but they are not needed. Not really education either and more like culturally specific framework, development, connection and they offer benefits beyond themselves.

Here are my thoughts about English education in Japan:

-English is just a test score and there is no point focussing on actually conversing/communicating in a language, when it's only treated merely as a subject for testing.

-English is a novelty and students expect it to be entertaining.

-In modern Japanese, katakana is most often used for transcription of words from foreign languages or loanwords. Katakana is a distraction.

-English is used as a vehicle to teach Japanese culture, disregarding the source.

-Laser focus on differences and no interest in English culture.

-There is no parent or student accountability.

-The most difficult thing for me to explain is "rules aren’t considered nearly as important as being accommodating."

-English is almost mockingly used, so much so, that English students are like caricatures.

I made my school for those few inquisitive outliers.

Every school that I have ever visited has had a couple outliers and we've all met them. These outliers are curious about English and they're easy to spot, because Intelligent curiosity requires questions.

Here's the thing: not all questions are curious..or even good. The majority of questions that I've been asked in class are lazy questions. Lazy, self-serving, gong show questions! You know these questions too! They are questions that aren't after information or insight.

Luckily, there are awesome English schools all over the country.

Tell your students: "Never hope for it more than you work for it!" and "Success is not an accident!"