As modern research shows, the best way to study a language is by immersion into that language and culture. Therefore, I use a teaching style that resembles studying English at language schools in the UK (E.g. International House http://ihworld.com). Communication (speaking & writing) is done mostly in English. I want to use Japanese as little as possible because this encourages the student to use their English much more. This, in turn, leads to a quicker improvement of all four main language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
(If students ask me to use more Japanese then I also adjust to such a request.)
What is immersion
Immersion is a teaching style where students are put in an environment which is closest to the real English speaking world. The teacher uses simple English words and explanations to teach new language items. Students too should use English to ask questions.
Points of focus
Listening and speaking are known to be the two main skills which need to be given priority so a person can really become an active user of a language. Just like small children first learn to listen and speak, so it is also the most natural and the best way to study a language when you have grown up. At the same time, reading and writing skills are becoming increasingly important in our global age. Therefore, I keep the lessons interactive and maximize the learning of all skills by balancing them according to the level of the class. Moreover, I put special emphasis on learning new lexis/vocabulary because knowing more words of a language has been shown to be the centerpiece of language learning. Learning grammar is naturally also a part of any course, but I don’t give it the attention it has been given in traditional English teaching here in Japan. This is because too much focus on grammar burdens the mind and has a hindering effect by lowering a student’s courage to USE English, because he/she fears to make mistakes. I endorse the view that the best way to improve a language is to use it as much as you can and not to worry about making mistakes.
My Motto regarding language learning
I believe that regardless of one’s mother tongue and schooling everyone can reach a high level of English language competency as long as he/she incorporates the following points:
- Don’t give up
- Stay positive-minded and refuse negative thoughts
- Give learning English enough time
- Learn to become courageous and use English whenever an opportunity arises
- Use English even though that comes with making mistakes, because that is the best way to learn quickly
- Don’t be intimidated by others when your English is not perfect
- Stay active by exploring your own ways of studying the language
- Study because you want to and not only because you have to