Wednesday, June 20, 2007

English Teaching Gets a Shake in Japan - OhmyNews International

This article is about Nova, Japan's biggest English conversation school, and how it has been suspended for illegal business practices.
English Teaching Gets a Shake in Japan - OhmyNews International

Of course it is interesting because it details how the company has been ripping off its clients, but also Nova and other schools market white, blond, blue-eyed native English speaker teachers. Very weird, very racist.

One detail I would like to clear up is that mimicry is a legitimate language learning method.
Instead of learning how the language works in practice, they at times end up mimicking.
The audio-lingual method is a perfectly legitimate language learning method, and stresses mimicry and memorization


wintersweet said...

I would describe ALM as more "outdated and discredited" than "perfectly legitimate," but it's certainly true that there's nothing wrong with some amount of mimicry. It's a problem when that's essentially all students do, naturally. But I can't say that I've heard that's Nova's main problem.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to hear more about sustainable farming.

Daniel said...

This is my blog on English teaching in Japan. Try out my other one, Jinriki at

alexcase said...

Nova seem unique in huge chains of language schools in not having a teaching philosophy at all. At least that means students wont be banned from writing in class like at Berlitz (including a Cambridge Proficiency student who later ended up at my school), but does seem to suggest no interest in education at all by the company.
TEFLtastic with Alex Case

Daniel said...

I wonder if the school is successful. If judged by the number of schools that it operates, then it seems that it is. If it is financially successful, then it means that people are giving their yen vote to the company. That makes me wonder what the voters' motivations are then. Jukus, or cram schools, advertise their successes, like how many of their students got into prestigious universities. For those schools and their students, the expected outcomes are clearer than conversation schools.

Though not directly related, on an NHK radio program the other day there was a discussion about learning opportunities for older people. It was suggested by the expert who was talking that actual learning in these settings my have little to do with what motivates the participants. They may be there for a number of reasons, enhanced self image, a sense of community, nothing better to do, but actual focus on the content may be small.

My point is that, as "alexcase" comments, that Nova has, " interest in education." That may be true, but that is only part of the story. What are the company's patrons thinking?

Anonymous said...

I like your english conversation blog. It's a good blog for learn english conversation