At Smith’s we all know we have used for many years the letters CCC. To Smith’s School of English staff these letters mean “Coaches of Communicative Confidence.” Today as I prepared the next school owners seminar I realized that we have now been Coaching Communicative Confidence to many thousands of Japanese for more than 13 years. We started this back in 1996 and so these days we can begin to call our school’s coaches 英会話 ECCC. English Conversation Established Coaches of Communicative Confidence.
Established: Why is Established important to our students? What does Established mean in this context? “established 大御所. To be very good at. To have been doing for a long time.” For students who really want to become good English speakers studying with Established coaches is very important. Unfortunately here in Japan many English schools teacher go home very soon and 80 – 90% will go home within 2 years. Here at Smith’s almost all of our coaches are long time Japan veterans. They know this job very well and have no fast plans to go home. Most of us own our own schools and care very much about every student we coach.
Coaching or Teaching: The Japanese schools system does a great job of teaching English. They teach technical English skills to everybody. Almost all Japanese can read and write English quite well when they finish school. However those same Japanese do have confidence to communicate in English. To be very good at your job you must first identify what your job is. The job at hand as we decided is not for Smith’s School of English teachers to teach English. That job has been done by the Japanese school system. The challenge is to help Japanese people verbally communicate with confidence in English. Many years ago Smith’s school decided to move our focus from being teachers of Technical English skills to being “Coaches of Communicative Confidence.” We have spent many years becoming experts at Coaching Communication and Communication Confidence. Of course we take care with grammar but what we really love is to hear our students speak English. This is what we do best.
Last night I sat in my classroom with a pre-intermediate level student. My goal was to take 70% student talking time from our 45 minute lesson. Using the Smith’s coaching method I opened the door for my student to speak. I waited. She enjoyed the opportunity and spoke for 90% of the class time. She did make some small errors but I was not going to interrupt her talking time. Of course at the end of the lesson I showed her those small mistakes and she noted the errors down for private study at home. The point is those small errors will not damage her communication process at all but this students 90% talking time will certainly improve her English communications and her confidence in speaking English.
At the end of the lesson as my student was going home I asked her, “Do you know you spoke 90% of the lesson time today?” She said she did and then she said something that made me so happy. She said “I feel more confident speaking English today” Now we Coaches might spot the small grammatical error however this girl made me so happy. If she feels more confident then truly, Smith’s School of English is ECCC. “Established Coaches of Communicative Confidence”