Matthew's Classroom

I have been teaching English to kids in Japan for more than 20 years: public elementary schools in Tokyo for 11 years, and Hello Kids Komazawa for the last 9. For 3 years I have been teaching weekly lessons to students at Tsutsujigaoka Kindergarten. As I tend to stay at the same workplace for a long time, I've been able to see the long-term results of my work. Being able to really see children's English communication ability grow has been very rewarding. I mainly use APRICOT materials in my classroom. They best suit my goal of having students use as much English as possible while developing confidence and self-esteem. I enjoy teaching development, and I love discussing English education with other teachers!
  • 42. 10 Useful Pieces of Advice for Teaching with LEARNING WORLD #1

    Not a lot happens in the classroom during Summer Vacation… so it’s a good time of year to for to remind ourselves of Learning World’s important things – things that we can sometimes forget when during the year’s busy months. And there is a new page on the APRICOT web site that can help us do just that:

    On this page Kawahara Hiromi-Sensei has put together 10 useful pieces of advice for teaching with Learning World.
    1. Focus on your own vision!
    2. Communication activities are a must!
    3. Don’t skip over the self-expression activities.
    4. Evaluate your lesson on how successful each student feels.
    5. A Textbook is not everything!
    6. Importance of reviewing
    7. Make students use English
    8. Respect individuality!
    9. Do not fear to show your weaknesses!
    10. I’m right – and you’re right too.

    To my mind “Useful Advice” is a major understatement. These points express the very core of Learning World education. Over the coming days I’m going to post my thoughts on each one, starting with the first one:
    1. Focus on your own vision!
    Kawahara-Sensei explains “Language education with kids is long-term. Never forget WHY you are teaching English to children.”
    Yes. I’ve found that many teachers go through the motions of teaching English without a clear vision of the long-term objective. They attend workshops and seminars for hints and tips on “HOW” but not knowing “WHAT FOR”.
    As a teacher once you have a clear goal of what you want to achieve for your students, you begin to question the purpose of all your actions in the classroom. For teachers this is an extremely healthy process that gives incredible growth and maturity to your teaching.
    In my case, once I realized the difference between when my students “used” English as opposed to when they “practiced” English, my long-term vision became clear. With this new vision, I dramatically reduced the amount of “repeat after me” time in the classroom, and as a result the students immediately began to produce more English!
    Yes, I agree totally with this first piece of advice. Know your vision for the future, and focus on it!

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