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Image: Toranomon Language School

Speak with confidence: Toranomon Language School helps students learn naturally


Despite our best efforts, learning languages can be a struggle — particularly if you’re studying on your own, using a textbook or a series of apps. You might be able to pick up some vocabulary or reading ability, but when it comes to speaking confidently or giving a presentation at work, you are likely to find yourself out of your depth.

With this in mind, the innovative team behind Toranomon Language School (TLS) has developed a methodology that helps students of both Japanese and English overcome hurdles, connect with fellow language learners and use their new skills naturally. TLS students include members of prominent companies and embassies who are drawn to its innovative methods, which are based on the experience of the school’s founder and CEO, Ryoko Marumo.

Toranomon Language School CEO Ryoko Marumo

As she explains, she first learned a foreign language when she lived in Los Angeles. She had learning support at home from her mother, an English literature professor who taught her English using fun games and interesting books, supplemented by lessons in grammar. This helped her quickly move on from ESL classes to regular English classes at a local private school. Finally, she mingled with other children, playing and learning American culture while also building on her language skills.

This fast and deep learning experience based on professional support and cultural immersion inspired her throughout her career. And eventually, she came to commit herself to helping people learn languages—not just for the languages themselves, but for everything that comes with them. “I believe that through language you can develop many channels in your life, such as your career, friendships, hobbies and other opportunities,” Marumo says. 


TLS is geared towards getting its students to learn quickly and deeply through rich, content­-based lessons and actively using language. So while it offers intensive Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Business Japanese Test, International English Language Testing System and Test of English as a Foreign Language shortcut exam courses, which are efficient and effective, the school is well known for motivational communication courses, events and workshops. 

Lessons are designed around the concept of scaffolding, which breaks what needs to be learned into digestible chunks that the student can then build upon as they progress. This scaffolding method is then closely tied to TLS’s activities and events that let students put what they’ve learned into action. 

These activities include the Walk and Learn Tokyo workshop, which gives students the opportunity to learn key phrases and then put them to use when asking for directions or going shopping. Another popular offering is the Business Skill­Up workshop, which teaches participants how to properly use honorific language, start business conversations and understand the culture behind Japanese business practices. 

So, whether you’re looking to boost your business Japanese or just master the basics, TLS’s engaging approach can put you in the position to achieve impressive results.


© Japan Today

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It seems to be a high-profile, high-end school, language plus culture. And the CEO had a personal experience of learning since early childhood in the US, a privilege. Toranomon means "Tiger's Gate" an interesting name.

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This is not really innovative if you are outside Japan. Amyone who has taken a CELTA in the ast 30 years would have been taught to teach like this.

@Eric - You're right. I was taught exactly like this. And, where did they come up with that name. At first, I thought it was a some kind of tribal language from the headline.

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This is not really innovative if you are outside Japan. Amyone who has taken a CELTA in the ast 30 years would have been taught to teach like this.

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Interesting story. This seems very close to how I teach at my school. I also teach my kids and their Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in this manner, too.

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