Voices
in
Japan

have your say

Which English-language school would you recommend to your Japanese friends wishing to learn English?

29 Comments

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
Login to comment

None! I would recomment finding a good private tutor. They can take lessons at their convenience, pay less and get a more personal experience that will actually allow them to improve on what they need to work on. They will never have to face sales pitches or have to worry about renewing a contract that may take a good chuck of money at one time. However, it may take a while to find a teacher that suits them best especially if they are in the countryside.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Mine

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ive seen far too many teachers just do chat lessons, which arent good for the student. The teacher might be, "friendly", but that won`t help the student much.

But some students just want to do chat lessons. If that is what they want, then why is it the teacher's fault for catering to the students requests?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

ditto Dean Morgan, as they turned me down. I wouldn't employ a teacher like me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You want to learn English, learn it.

You don't need a teacher.

Well said, Bertie. If you put the hours with a decent textbook and a CD, you can get yourself to a very high level. The two best English-speakers I've ever met here taught themselves. One guy hasn't ever left the country; he just listens to the BBC World Service every evening for a couple of hours.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Each English-language school has advantages and disadvantages and everybody has their own opinion. The question should be what's the best way to study English. If you really want to learn English learn to listen because it's the most important factor. Next match sounds to words because it will improve your reading ability. Be sure to write every time you learn something new in a notebook so you can remember it. Then try to read English everyday so you can learn essential vocabulary. If possible try to learn from as many different teachers. Last of all speak whenever you have the opportunity to use the language. It's obvious but if you can afford it, the best place to study English is to study it in a country where it is spoken.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Taj: I guess it depends on the cafe, lesson and style. It also depends if the city has a small English school with reasonable prices or decent teachers. I have never had an issue tutoring in a cafe because my lessons are about an hour long, I don't pull out a CD player for listening excercises and I become a regular (well paying) customer. Also, I never go during the rush. If you aren't cluttering the place, being louder than the other patrons and are purchasing something, then it is no different from going to a cafe with a friend to chat. I find that McDs have no problem with this either if it is during their slower hours because it tends to make less places for obnoxious non-paying patrons to hand out and slash the furniture.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Totally agree with papasmurfinjapan. I can't recommend mine enough.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I used to study Russian with Berlitz and found it the only trustworthy school out there with a serious lesson plan. I am sure they do the same thing with other languages too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It totally depends on the teacher. There are some good ones out there and some terrible ones. Take a model lesson free and try to see what kind of teacher they are.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Get an English girl or boyfriend and then both learn each others language from each other while also having fun with each other.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You can learn English, and many other subjects by signing up for one on the web. Some are free. Otherwise, a private, one-to-one teacher is much better than an expensive rip off school. There are also many clubs which would offer the help of practicing English.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I tell my friends to learn English in chugakko.

I've heard Berlitz is good about that, but I think all the major eikaiwas are probably overpriced.

Berlitz is just the most overpriced eikaiwa.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lucabrasi-san,

You don't need a teacher.

Well said, Bertie. If you put the hours with a decent textbook and a CD, you can get yourself to a very high level. The two best English-speakers I've ever met here taught themselves. One guy hasn't ever left the country; he just listens to the BBC World Service every evening for a couple of hours.

Thanks.

I can give you a long list of similar students. Whenever I take on a new student, which isn't very often these days, I usually give them this pep talk:

The English language is such a huge thing to study that if the only study you do is in the classroom, you aren't going to live long enough to achieve anything very much. If you accept me as a teacher, you will accept me on the same basis of any of the other tools you use for learning, your dictionaries, grammar books, notebooks and so on. In other words, English has to be YOUR goal. Use your tools to learn the language. I can show you the road and help you over the rough bits, but it's you who has to walk it.

I wonder who it was who gave me three minus points - owners of English schools probably!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Aliasis-san,

Find a school that is exclusive in teaching you ONLY in the target language. NO Japanese.

A lot of people say that. I remember when I first came to Japan, working in an English Conversation School in Koenji. There were money boxes on the tables in the classrooms. We were told to fine students 10 yen per Japanese word they used.

If a student is going to USE what he studies, he has to understand it.

Understanding some things through English is very difficult for certain Japanese students. And I think any teacher soon realises that many students who go to an English school to learn English are not generally speaking good students. They have, after all, had six years of English at Junior High School and High School and another four if they went to university.

There are, as lucabrasi-san points out, those who speak fluent English who have never had lessons at an English Conversation School or been abroad, so, it can be done.

When teaching, if you can get the idea across with an action or a picture or a simple English explanation, that's wonderful, but sometimes it's just faster to use Japanese and get back into English as soon as possible.

Time and time again, I've proved that using Japanese where necessary to explain something or find out what's wrong when a student gets bogged down and getting back to English as soon as possible works best. They make rapid progress and retain what they have studied.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sakurala, they can do that by finding a small local school. Better to find someone recommended by word of mouth, who has his or her own classroom in a home, small office, or small school.

Trying to learn in cafes is a bit of a stretch and rude to both the owner of the establishment and the other clientele waiting for a table.

I wouldn't recommend any of the chains, for the reasons Sakurala mentions above. Too much money has to go to support the major overhead costs of HQ.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I would recommend absolutely none, based on my experience. It really depends on how serious the student is. If someone is serious, they can study grammar and vocabulary at home, combining that with TV and reading, which is pretty free (except buying books they want). The only thing they need to do is find someone to practice with, and they don`t need a school for that. The result will entirely dependent on their effort.

Ive seen far too many teachers just do chat lessons, which arent good for the student. The teacher might be, "friendly", but that won`t help the student much.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

sakuralaNov. 26, 2012 - 09:30AM JST None! I would recomment finding a good private tutor.

I agree. On average eikaiwa owners take a 50% cut (or more!) on every lesson for the onerous task of introducing the student to a teacher. They never pay for prep time, and generally they overbook their teachers, so there's little or no prep time or customisation of the lesson to the client. On the other hand a private tutor takes the full cut, and generally returns that by doing additional preparation, and feeling greater loyalty to the client, and so doesn't double-book themselves or ditch lessons.

Frankly eikaiwa owners have got away with doing very little to nothing for their 50% cut for far too long.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

^aka, Nova.. probably was even skimming money from employees rent payments as well

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Any school with TEFL qualified staff that have some idea of how to teach. Unfortunately,that rules out the majority of the private schools in Japan........

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Find a school that is exclusive in teaching you ONLY in the target language. NO Japanese. Additionally, one that corrects your sentences and drills grammar and natural conversation both. I've heard Berlitz is good about that, but I think all the major eikaiwas are probably overpriced. Private tutors you can get for maybe 3000 yen an hour - very reasonable - but you don't know if they have any training or qualification, or if their just gonna do "free conversation" and not actually teach anything. Whatever you do, it won't be magic, you HAVE to study. If you don't study, you won't learn. And you need to talk, you can't learn just by sitting there passively.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Private tutors you can get for maybe 3000 yen an hour

At your own pad maybe. No private classrooms can afford to charge that.

There is no school that does a consistently good job.

I do.

I wouldn't employ a teacher like me.

I love you. Hahahaha :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dean Morgan. It's the only school I haven't heard anybody badmouth yet. Their teachers seem really friendly.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

CrossCulture in Kagoshima City--all native speakers, American owned and operated. It integrates summer water sports like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and surfing. They also arrange homestays in California. Good stuff!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@genki

American owned and operated.

You say that like it's some kind of guarantee of quality.

@Foxie

I don't know any Russian Berlitz teachers, but I hope they were better than my dysfunctional-alcoholic-depressive acquaintances who teach English there.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Nova! They have a branch in Hawaii! Ret's go!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Skippy,s english school est 2004, great reputation..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

None.

You want to learn English, learn it.

You don't need a teacher.

But if you feel that you do, find ONE good teacher and take lessons from him or her privately.

There is no school that does a consistently good job.

Good teachers leave or rise up the ranks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

None!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites