Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Effortless English for Japanese Students

by AJ

Shiori has convinced me to write a book for Japanese English teachers and students. While grammar-drill-translation methods are the norm everywhere in the world... Japan is the champion of this approach.

Japanese students spend 6+ years disecting, translating, analyzing, and memorizing English-- only to find that they can pass a test but cannot use or understand real English at all. Its quite a sad state of affairs-- the direct fault of the government and its screwy policies.

So Japan is uniquely desperate for authentic English teaching methods that work. My thought is to start with a Level 0 book for kids..... a TPR book that focuses on teaching a lot of English loan words that appear in Japanese. These words are much easier for students to learn and acquire quickly. For example, the Japanese word for "door" is borrowed from English: "doa".

The idea is to build the beginner's confidence with a high proportion of these words- using Total Physical Response as the main teaching method-- supplemented with pre-reading (teacher reads aloud to students and explains pictures in book with very simple language) and very basic video techniques (for example, show an episode of Blues Clues.... teacher pauses often, points to things on the screen, and says what they are in English: "This is a dog..... a blue dog", "This is a boy", "He is eating" (mime the act of eating).

Shiori and I have talked about doing this as a bilingual book... she'd translate the explanations and directions into Japanese-- so that it could be easily used by Japanese (English/Elementary) teachers whose confidence in English might be lower.