Last night I had a fun lesson with two students who confess to really needing English ability. One works for a major Japanese pharmaceutical company in research and often has to meet with Americans and other foreigners and use English to discuss his research. The other student is a 4th year university student who recently got hired by a major Japanese security company and will start work with them next spring.
The university student has dreams of one day working for a large foreign securities firm such as Morgan Stanley or Lehman Brothers etc. and wants to raise his level especially in business English and daily conversation ability and is quite worried about the tendency for him to begin forgetting English when he does not speak it for a few days. He really values the chance to join one of my classes with higher level students.
These two students were a perfect match during the lesson. We discussed the “London Underground” story in the New Event book. It introduced some important vocabulary for them and they were able to start using some of the new words during the lesson. Words such as “setbacks”, “determination” and “expertise” were valuable new vocabulary for them. I always do my best to define the words in simpler English on the board and them have them use the words in sentences and questions. This lesson also provides a chance to explain the use of metaphors such as “umbilical” and “artery” and how they are used to describe the level of importance the London underground is to the lives of Londoners.
One of the things I like to do is to get the students to review the story by asking each other questions about the content. This is excellent practice for them and will surely help them to use English in the future for real purposes. Again, the students and I had great fun in this lesson.
Smith’s curriculum provides many different tools to really challenge the students to improve their English. Each one can be used independently or in combination during the lessons to really get the students to “dig in” and use English. But to be a good coach you have to really work on how to effectively use these tools to get the maximum benefit for your students. The Smith’s team and teachers work hard to help each other to develop new and better techniques that will speed up the progress of our students. Smith’s is dynamic and I think there is simply no better English school in Japan for both students and teachers. I am glad to be part of that team!