Building Up an English School in Japan

by Kevin R Burns
(Machida, Tokyo)

Building Up an English School in Japan

Thank you to David Paul for these ideas. I went to an ETJ lecture and Paul spoke about how to build up an English School in Japan. I will share some of his ideas here.

In case you don`t know David Paul, he started and ran a large chain of English Schools in the Hiroshima area called, David English House. You can find a link for that chain here at our Greenlist of English schools (see sidebar - table of contents).

Paul went on to found ETJ or English Teachers of Japan. ETJ is dedicated to improving the quality of teaching in Japan and helping teachers to network and get the help they need, while keeping it a grassroots organization. Events are either free or very reasonably priced. Yet the quality of the talks or presentations is high. At times even experts from abroad come to present at ETJ. I listened to the legendary Paul Nation there once.

Paul now runs a training centre for teachers in Tokyo. He also has an ETJ book service which helps to offset the costs of running ETJ.

Anyway, on to the ideas for building up an English School in Japan:

Paul I feel has never been about money. He has been about quality.
I feel the same way. From quality, the money will come.

How do you Build up a School in Japan*

- Keep your options open

- Build a community

- Follow your Passion - In Paul`s case it was to make ELT in Japan more professional

- Aim for Discriminators - something that sets your school apart from the others. Aim for quality. Aim for a good educational message - you need to be able to tell students what they will get from your school as opposed to studying at other school.

- Make a pamphlet in a few tasteful colours and put it in a plastic envelope. Have it available in front of your schools in a little pamphlet holder, and hand it out by putting it in the mailboxes of houses and apartments in the area.

- Build your schedule not from your convenience but by doing a questionaire - ask students: "When can you study?"

- Use technology - be in touch with technology. You don`t have to overdo it, but keep in contact with it.

- Don`t be Machiavelli - it is not about being clever. Use focussed advertising and build your culture.

I think if you genuinely care about your students or if you prefer, clients, it will show in the way you run your school.

I hope this helps you to build up an English school in Japan!

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