Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School (by Tomo Wakui)

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15 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Thank you so much, Tomo, for sharing this inside peek at a system I don’t know very much about. I really admire the way you are trying to use communicative methods inside a system that doesn’t reward communicative ability.

    Do you have any kind of choice about which school you are assigned to? It sounds like a big challenge to teach in so many different types of schools with so many different types of students.

    I really admire you!

    • Tomo Wakui says:

      English education has changed greatly in Japan. My comments might be a little behind the present trend because young English teachers have bravely challenged new methods which they learned at their university and researchers have published many new ideas about English education. I am always afraid that I can’t keep up with new trends, but I know all I can do is just to do my best for my students. I really want to be a good teacher.

  2. Hi Tomo,

    I have learned so much from you, and this article allows me to learn even more about being a Japanese Teacher of English here in Japan. Thank you for sharing some of the things you’ve learned over the years.

    I’d love to do some classroom research for HS students: something related to motivation or writing. Would you be interested?



  3. Alex Case says:

    Very interesting, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of school in Japan and I can’t imagine coping that well in any of them, yet alone all of them! Can you tell me what “academic high school” is in Japanese?

    • Barbara Barbara says:

      I checked with Tomo to be sure. Academic high schools are often called Shingakukou. These are schools that are well known for having graduates who are able to pass the entrance exams to get into “good” universities. Most of the Japanese moms I know just call them “good high schools” and their students study hard in junior high in order to get into them (just like they studied in elementary school to get into the “good junior highs” and so on).

  4. Chris Cotter says:

    Hi Tomo,

    Thank you so much for the interesting and enlightening post. A firsthand view of the present problems in Japanese education is so important. Even better, it comes from a Japanese educator who can see that perhaps tests don’t provide effective impetus to use English as a communicative tool. For Japan to succeed on a global scale in the 21st century, it must produce speakers of English not people adept at taking tests. I’m very curious to hear how you will find a way to reach both goals.

    Again, thank you.

    Chris Cotter
    Yokohama, Japan

  5. Takakiyo (Kiyo) Mizogucihi says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us. I’d be very happy if I , too, could start contributing even a little from my own experience.

    I teach English at my own school where my wife and I have classes for stuents with various interests: They are 3-year old kindergarten pupils as well as elementary school kids who enjoy singing, chanting phrases, playing games and learning to communicate. Also, there are students whose interests are mainly acheiving better score in mid-term and final exams and finally in an entrance exam for upper schools. or business-person just returned from an overseas post having realized how crucial it can be to have a command in English in a tough environment.

    It’s quite a challenge to do all this. But we sure enjoy it. While realizing we need to learn more everyday to achieve our goal, we are confident the blessing from above will never leave us ! Learning from the dedicated teachers like you means a great deal for us. Please tell us more. I hope you will welcome me in your community of English teachers.

    • Barbara Barbara says:

      Welcome, Kiyo!

      I’m glad you found your way to Teaching Village. We would all love to hear more about your teaching experiences–it sounds like you have a very interesting situation. I hope you will write a guest post about your school or about your experiences in your overseas post, or both!

      Everyone who shares helps us all become better teachers 🙂

  6. Takakiyo (Kiyo) Mizogucihi says:

    Thank you, Barbara for inviting me to start writing my own English Blog. I guess I should start at “guest auther” category, right?

    • Barbara Barbara says:

      Yes! We have three on-going series. Take a look and see what might appeal to you.

      Send me a message through the contact page on the blog, and I’ll send you details about submitting a post.

      I look forward to hearing form you!

  1. November 26, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara Sakamoto, Barbara Sakamoto. Barbara Sakamoto said: New post for Frontlines of EFL project: Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School by Tomo Wakui http://bit.ly/8rPmjv #efl […]

  2. November 26, 2009

    […] here to read the rest:  Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School (by Tomo Wakui … By admin | category: english, english japanese | tags: article, english, learn-even, […]

  3. November 26, 2009

    […] Go here to read the rest: Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School (by Tomo Wakui … […]

  4. February 3, 2010

    […] Tomo Wakui is an incredible high school English teacher in Japan. Steven Herder persuaded her that others would enjoy her story. She mentioned in her post that she was a student at International University. What she failed to mention was that she’s at the tail end of her masters, as in trying to finish her thesis (in her second language) while teaching full time. Tomo gave us a look into a teaching environment few of us get to see. At one point in the process of posting her story, I asked Tomo why she decided to become a teacher. Her response was so wonderful that I’m planning to share that as it’s own post in the future. […]

  5. December 28, 2011

    […] Link: Teaching English at a Japanese Academic High School (by Tomo … […]