TEFL in Japan

TEFL in Japan, How to Make Japanese Children Fluent in English

How did you learn English as a child?

I suspect you will say that you learned it from your mother. Most of us learned it that way.

“Come here.”

“Don`t touch that.”

“That`s hot.”

“Look at that beautiful flower.”

“I love you.”

Things like that. Our parents tried to teach us and keep us safe. We learned our native language and about the world that way.

TEFL in Japan - Japanese Parents

I find that Japanese parents, intelligent people in general, but naïve about how to learn a language. They expect that English teachers will teach their students in the same way as they learned Japanese.

We can`t however. We do not live with the family. We cannot be with the children everyday.

We see them at most once a week, and of course there are holidays that interrupt even that rare meeting.

We must use a different way to teach children, one that works for the situation we really face, which is meeting once a week.

If English is being reinforced everyday because mothers speak English to their children, then of course the kids remember the English. But for Japanese children this is not the case usually.

TEFL in Japan - Teaching Phonics

By teaching the children to read, you are giving them the ability to not only read books, but to be able to study English on their own at home.

The schools that teach English through songs, and chants, are not really teaching English well I feel.

Why not?

Because unless the children use English outside of the English school, they will soon forget the chant or the song. Even if they can remember it, little of the English learned will be usable outside of the English school.

Once children can read however, they can study the English that they will use. Indeed there is a connection between writing, reading and remembering English vocabulary and grammar. While chants and songs are valuable, basing your whole curriculum on them is not.

I am not just an English teacher. I am a father of three children, and it was very important to me that they be bilingual. As we live in Japan, I realized that it would be a difficult task to “create”bilingual children, but it was a goal I was very motivated to accomplish.

I won`t lie to you. I think it takes twenty years to create a bilingual child. I tell clients that too.

I have that information right on my Kevin`s English Schools homepage. I think parents should know the truth.

Some parents want teachers to teach English conversation from day 1. While I do that, my focus is on phonics. I believe in David Paul`s philosophy.


I have proven for myself that it works, and not only with my own children, but with hundreds of children who have studied at Kevin`s English Schools.

Masami, Hiromi, and Manabu all went on to study abroad at foreign universities after studying at our schools. The method we use at KES works! Mao is about to go off to school in the USA.

He is fluent in English and has studied at our Anne school since he was a young boy.

However you cannot create a fluent English speaker in one year, unless they live in Canada or another English speaking country.

Again I recommend David Paul`s Finding Out series for children. There are five levels, level one being the easiest. To a lesser extent I recommend English Land. There are many levels for this course too. English Land helps with motivation as it features Disney characters.

Anything that motivates the children is great to my mind. I don`t feel English Land is as strong on phonics as Paul`s series of books, but it is stronger in terms of teaching English Conversation. If you use Paul`s series, Finding Out, you will need to supplement with some of your own speaking activities.

Either series is great for teaching children age 6-12. Both are highly recommended.

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