Students often ask what steps they can take to become better at English. Of course there is no single answer but if I were pressed to give one, it would be to simply “use” English every chance you get. Though there are not millions of native speakers in Japan, there are a lot of people including a lot of foreigners from non-English speaking countries who you can speak with for a few minutes on the train or anywhere. You have to break the proverbial “ice” and just speak. It is the only way for you to give “life” to the English you are studying.
In the following linked video I give some advice to Japanese students. Using my rough Japanese I explain a few steps that all students need to do. Being a teacher in Japan these simple steps become very clear as you work with your students. I know that some students read the Smith’s School of English Soapbox, so some of my posts are as much for them as for teachers. Enjoy!
Al- I couldn’t agree more. The key to learning any language is exposure to that language. Japan has a unique culture of English speakers and English learning. Everyday i am surprised to meet so many Japanese people who speak english so well. The japanese education system has done a great job in giving every japanese person a solid foundation for learning all forms of English communication. Personally I believe our job as coaches is to give our students as many opportunities as possible to expose themselves to English. Thus I have been happy to be able to offer our students so many great extra-curricular events, such as Karaoke nights, Special Topic Events, soecial courses and the recent Hanami Party at Osaka Castle attended by over 80 students! Smith’s School of English has given me the opportunity to develop so many resources for our students to expose themselves to English! So to all the teachers reading this: you have the power to inspire your students and the resources to create English opportunities for them. For the students: expose yourselves and improve yourselves, you are the only ones who can do this! So take advantage of ALL the opportunites presented to you, and good luck! Edward from Smith’s School of English Otsu