The first few years I studied Japanese, it was mainly in the classroom.  While I feel it was a good way to learn basic grammar rules, writing and basic vocabulary, I soon learned that unless I started using Japanese outside of the classroom, my speaking would never improve.  The reason is because traditional classroom language learning is extremely limited.


Even though my Japanese skill is far from perfect, 17 years after I first started studying Japanese, I now feel competent performing daily activities in Japanese, and also even not-so-daily activities (from filling out forms at the hospital and talking with a doctor to watching TV to filing my income taxes to work-related discussions....) This level of Japanese can mainly be attributed to language I learned while living and working in Japan, talking with Japanese friends and students, and doing things I like to do in Japanese.


What do I like to do?  Well, lately it’s yoga, having lunch/dinner/drinks with friends, running, watching TV and movies, going to art museums, painting and cooking!  In the past, it was learning kimono, traveling/ sightseeing such as visiting temples, shrines, and castles, going to dance clubs and singing karaoke.  And all of these things I have done and still do in Japanese. 

私の好きな事はなんでしょうか? 最近はヨガ、友達と一緒にランチ/ディナー/飲み会、ランニング、テレビや映画観賞、美術観賞、油絵や料理です!前は着付け、旅行/観光(寺、神社、城の見学等)、ダンスクラブ、カラオケ等でした。また、これら全部は日本語でしてきました。

My point is that language learning will be extremely slow and limited if only occurring in a traditional lesson and only once a week or a couple of times a month.  I want students to realize that there are so many activities (that they already enjoy) that they do can in English beyond English lessons that will help them improve their skills.

要点は従来のレッスンで週1回か月2回学ぶ場合は、習得に限界があり、 スピードが非常に遅くなります。生徒さんに色々な英語を使ってスキルが上がるアクティビティ (もう日本語でやって楽しんでいる)がある事 を気付いて欲しいです。

Even if it’s just talking with friends, singing English songs or watching movies in English, it’s the little by little everyday use of English that will help far more than the occasional instruction by a teacher or using a textbook. (I figure students are probably sick of “study” by now anyway, right?)


I have created classes like cooking in English and painting in English, etc. that help transition students between a typical English lesson and “real life” English application (because English is not just a subject in itself, but a vehicle for learning more about the world, traveling with ease and meeting new people.) Of course, this is just a starting point. There are many opportunities out there to use English in this way, so I don’t expect students to just take my lessons.  I want students to be satisfied with their English learning and improvement, but if that instruction is infrequent and limited to one kind of English opportunity (and the boring situations, in particular), they will never feel they have improved.

従来の英語レッスンから生の英語へ移行させるために「英語でクッキング」、「英語で絵を描く」等の授業を考えました (英語は、授業科目だけではありません。世界についてより多くのことを学んだり、旅行の際に助けになったり、新たな人々との出会いをもたらす伝達手段です。)もちろん、こういう授業は出発点です。色々な所で英語を使う色々なチャンスがありますので、生徒達が私のレッスンを受ける事だけを望んでいません。生徒さんに自分の英語の学び方、進歩に満足して欲しいです。その学習頻度が少なくて、英語を使う方法が1つに限られていたら(また、特につまらない経験なら)、全然自分の進歩が見えないと思います。

Happy language learning, in every sense and every way!


Thank you for reading!


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