Some Things Can Only be Learned as a Child.
During a child's first year, he will make every sound it is possible
for humans to make. We ignore most of these sounds as simply
"babble", but we respond to the ones that resemble our language.
When the child makes gurgling or grunting noises we don't respond
because they don't sound like words, but when we hear a "ma" or a "pa"
we smile, repeat the noise and encourage him to say it again.
This is how babies all over the world learn their native language.
During the first year, the baby's vocal chords are soft and flexible,
allowing them to make every human sound. By the end of his first
year his vocal chords begin to strengthen and harden as he learns to
control his "babble" and form words. As he learns which
sounds are "words" and which are not, he gradually stops making the the
useless noises and concentrates on the ones that enable him to
communicate with his parents. By the end of his second year, the
child has a recognizable accent, and by the end of the third year he is
no longer able to make many of the sounds he made as a baby because his
vocal chords have hardened in such a way as to restrict his utterances
to the sounds that make up his native language.
Clearly, children who are exposed to more languages in their early
years are encouraged to make a wider variety of sounds and achieve
meaningful communication using sounds that are not restricted to their
native language. These childrens' vocal chords retain much more
of their earlier flexibility, allowing them to pronounce the sounds
that make up foreign languages more accurately as they get older.
Many teachers and head teachers are now beginning to realize the
advantages of exposing very young children to native speakers of
foreign languages on a regular basis. Besides the obvious
advantage of improving pronunciation, lessons with foreign nationals
also provide an opportunity for children to satisfy their curiosity
about non-Japanese people, to realize that they can communicate in
languages other than Japanese, and to nurture an interest in the world
Myer Japan dispatches native English teachers to kindergartens and
preschools in the Fukuoka City area. Through songs and games
young learners can hear the sounds of natural English and learn to
imitate them while they are still young enough to make a lifelong
difference to their language ability.
Click here for more information on kindergarten
Elementary School Students(1st grade-3rd grade)
By the time children begin Elementary School they are already fluent in
their native language. Of course, their vocabulary is still
immature, and the content of their communication is still childish, but
at six years old a child can effectively communicate any thought or
opinion using their spoken language. At this age children begin
to learn to write the language in which they are already fluent:
learning how the sounds they know can be represented by marks on a
page, and how they can communicate across distance and time by writing
their language down and allowing somebody else to read it.
As children learn the concept of reading and writing in their own
language, they naturally become curious about reading and writing in
foreign languages, especially whey the foriegn writing looks so
different from their own. At this stage of their education it is
an easy transition for children to learn to communicate using the Roman
alphabet as well as their native alphabet. Because they do not
yet read or write fluently in their own language, they do not depend on
"Romanizing" their own written language, instead they learn to
associate English sounds directly with the English alphabet.
Learning to read and write a language without going through the process
of transposing words from one alphabet to another is both faster and
more effective, since they can learn the "rules" of spelling without
being distracted by the rules of transposition.
At Myer Japan we teach oral communication and written communication
simultaneously. While some time is spent on practicing the
phonics that make up words, we also encourage children to develop their
word-recognition skills: recognizing familiar words by scanning them
instead of sounding out every letter.
Click here for more information on children
Elementary School Students(4th grade-5th grade)
Junior High School Students
High School Students
High School in Japan is a time of high expectations and pressure to
perform. Gaining admittance to the best university possible is
the driving force behind punishing study schedules comprising regular
school, Summer school and evening classes in private exam preparation
schools. Exhaustion is the normal state for most Japanese High
With this kind of pressure it's easy to understand that most High
School students don't waste their time with extra-curricular activities
that aren't beneficial to their university applications. English
lessons in private schools offering small classes and native
English-speaking teachers are a popular choice for High School
students. Although the vast majority of High Schools now hire
native English teachers
as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), the
oversized classes do not allow for a great deal of personal attention
or individual coaching. While High Schools generally teach the
functions of the English language to a very high level, the size of
classes often restricts activities to listening and reading exercises,
with written homework. Weekly conversation lessons with native
speakers of English are genarally considered to be a worthwhile
investment by the parents of students who are required to sit English
tests as part of their university entrance applications.
At Myer Japan we offer two kinds of lessons for High School
students. Our group lessons follow a textbook-based curriculum
that focuses on situational English in dialogues and substitution
drills. Alternatively, in our private lessons students can focus
on whatever aspect of English they most need to work on. Many
students choose this option when preparing for speech contests,
international qualifications such as TOEIC, STEP and TOEFL, or overseas
study visits where they will be expected to use English everyday.
Whatever English assistance the student needs to be successful in High
School, we can arrange lessons to accommodate them.
(Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International
English Language Testing System) are internationally respected tests to
measure the English competency of speakers of other languages.
Most universities in English-speaking countries require a particular
level of English competency for foreign nationals wishing to enrol in
courses. These two tests arguably form the international standard
for English as a second language and are often accepted in lieu of a
university's own entrance test.
Candidates for either qualification do not pass or fail, instead they
are issued a report/certificate stating their overall score, as well as
individual scores for listening and reading, etc. IELTS
candidates are scored on a scale of 1~9, while TOEFL candidates receive
a score out of 677 points. A particular university might, for
example, set a minimum requirement of TOEFL 550 or IELTS 7 for overseas
students wishing to enrol. While TOEIC is statistically more
popular than either of these tests, TOEFL and IELTS are generally more
acceptable abroad because of their writing and speaking requirements.
At Myer Japan students preparing to embark on overseas study visits can
receive individual tuition from a native English-speaking
teacher. We offer introductory courses for beginners as well as
improvement courses for students who have taken the test before.
By isolating the different skills required we can help students
identify their own strengths and weaknesses, and therefore adjust the
lessons to accommodate the skills most in need of attention.
Business English Class/TOEIC class
TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is another
internationally acknowledged test of English as a Foreign Language,
based on the older TOEFL test and developed at the request of the
Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (formerly the Ministry
of International Trade and Industry, MITI). Critics claim that
this test has a
stronger North American bias than the other tests, despite efforts to
include other native English accents in its listening exercises,
certainly spelling and selected vocabulary in the test are distinctly
In Japan, TOEIC forms a sort of national benchmark for English
competency. Like TOEFL and IELTS, candidates do not pass or fail
the test, they are simply awarded a score out of 990. Further
Education Colleges and Universities often specify a particular TOEIC
score as a condition of admittance, and recently some companies have
begun to incorporate TOEIC scores into their pay scales. With
more and more companies relying on Internet resources and e-mail
communications, there is a growing necessity for more of the workforce
to have at least a basic competence with written English. One of
the reasons for TOEIC's popularity in Japan is its lack of an oral
communication test. There is a speaking test available, but it is
in addition to the "paper" test. Since the necessity to speak
English on the telephone takes second place to being able to read
web-pages and e-mails, many companies regard a respectable TOEIC score
as an adequate measure of English ability.
In addition to the optional speaking test, there is also an optional
TOEIC written test. The main test incorporates listening and
reading exercises using a variety of materials such as lectures, news
reports, advertisements and simulated business letters and
e-mails. The entire test is made up of multiple-choice questions
that do not require candidates to speak or write English at all.
Despite these limitations, the questions addressing grammar and
comprehension are of a very high standard (many native speakers of
English would struggle to get a perfect score in the allotted time
without the aid of a dictionary) and the overriding philosophy is that
it would be impossible to learn to read and listen at that level
without also being competent in writing and speaking.
At Myer, TOEIC classes are taught in English by a native English
speaker, thus ensuring that the students' ability to converse in
English is a reflection of their actual TOEIC score. We offer two
types of TOEIC classes: private lessons for individual students who
want 1~3 weekly lessons over an extended period of time, and 3-week
intensive courses (13.5 hours) just prior to the TOEIC test
dates. Private lessons can be tailored to the student's
particular level, while the intensive group lessons are organized
according to ability (for example a 700+ course in one month, followed
by a 500+ course the following month).
Click here for more information on business
Conversation classes, or "eikaiwa" classes are the most sought after
English lessons in Japan. Classes may or may not follow a
textbook (some eikaiwa companies publish their own in-house materials
for exclusive use in their classrooms), and classes may be taught in
classrooms, offices, homes or even coffee shops. What they all
have in common is the students' desire to practice everyday
conversation in English. The atmosphere can be anywhere on the
formal~casual scale, although most tend towards the casual.
While most Japanese people who graduate from High School have studied
English for six years or more, their access to a native English speaker
has generally been restricted by large classes and an overwhelming
emphasis on reading and grammar in the High School curriculum.
Once the pressure of school is off many adults are eager to try out
their extensive theoretical knowledge of the English language in
real-life conversations with native speakers. In the last 20
years the eikaiwa industry has grown to form a significant part of the
Japanese economy, and the demand for native English speakers has been
so high that the Japanese government even created a designated working
visa specifically for people entering Japan for the purpose of teaching
The Internet is awash with forums discussing the pros and cons of
various eikaiwa companies; some are scathing reports of the treatment
of teachers, others are fanatical defences of various eikaiwa
companies; it's not really surprising that the same companies tend to
appear on both forums. All eikaiwa companies have their good and
bad points from the perspectives of both students and teachers,
although it's natural that the forum writers tend to shout louder and
longer about their complaints than about their compliments.
Click here for information on telephone
English (Skype) lessons or you can sign up with Skype for free and
learn more by going here.
Myer English School supports all kinds of students who want
to learn English.
Interested in teaching English with us? Check out our teacher requirements.