The Greenlist of English Schools in Japan

Thoughts and Opinions on Teaching English in Japan, plus many lists of good schools in Japan at our homepage. You can post your resume or job for free too. Check out the homepage!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


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The best time to learn a foreign language?

"The best time to learn a foreign language: Between birth and age 7. Missed that window? New research is showing just how children’s brains can become bilingual so easily, findings that scientists hope eventually could help the rest of us learn a new language a bit easier.

“We think the magic that kids apply to this learning situation, some of the principles, can be imported into learning programs for adults,” says Dr Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington, who is part of an international team now trying to turn those lessons into more teachable technology."

--Associated Press


ILC Sugamo, Distributor of EFL Press Books in Japan

To whom it may concern,

This is Katsumi Ota from ILC Ltd., which is a sales agency of EFL Press, a publisher of English textbooks specially designed for the Japanese market.

EFL’s textbooks are developed exclusively for English teachers in Japan and Japanese students. Therefore, the textbooks are filled with content both necessary and effective for Japanese English learners. There is a wide range of publications which covers a wide range of English levels and student needs. Actually, EFL Press textbooks are divided into three categories; Conversation, Speaking & Listening/Conversation, and Writing. We are confident you will find that EFL Press texts produce much better results compared to other commercially produced courses since they are very user-friendly and specifically designed for Japanese students. Also, we are very proud of the fact that a number of famous and prestigious universities and colleges in Japan have already adopted EFL Press textbooks. Please reference “Examples of 2009 Spring Adoption” If you would like to know more about the content of EFL Press textbooks or EFL Press itself, please visit the company website; ( If you have any inquiries, please feel free to reach out to our points of contact using the information provided below. We thank you for your consideration and look forward to meeting your specific requirements.

Points of Contact

Mr. Kazuo Yoshimura: yoshimura@ilcsugamo.comMr. Katsumi Ota: ota-k@ilcsugamo.comILC Limitedhttp://www.ilcsugamo.com3-25-2, Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 170-0002TEL: 03-3940-2821 FAX: 03-3940-2831

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ケビンズ英会話スク-ル英語教材御担当様 突然メールを差し上げ、失礼いたします。株式会社アイエルシーの太田と申します。弊社は、日本人向け英語学習教材を出版しているEFL Pressの販売代理店でございます。 EFL Pressのテキストは、日本人に英語を教える先生および日本人の学習者のみにターゲットを絞って開発されているため、英語を学ぶ日本人が必要とする要素をふんだんに取り入れた内容となっています。英会話テキスト、スピーキング&リスニング・会話テキスト、ライティングテキストの3種類のカテゴリ別に、様々な学習レベル・ニーズに対応したテキストをご用意しています。 御覧いただければ、EFLのテキストがいかに日本人学習者にとって取り組みやすく、効果的に作成されているかがお解りいただけるかと存じます。すでに多くの有名大学・専門学校の先生方にご採用いただいている実績もございます。 2009年春期採用例を御覧ください。 テキストの内容およびEFL Pressについて更に詳しくお知りになりたい場合は、下記ウェブサイトを御覧ください。 ご質問等ございましたら、下記の弊社担当者までどうぞお気軽にお問い合わせください。御検討いただければ幸いです。ご連絡をお待ちいたしております。 株式会社アイエルシー〒170-0002 東京都豊島区巣鴨3-25-2 岡ビル3FTEL: 03-3940-2821 FAX: 03-3940-2831担当者名吉村:yoshimura@ilcsugamo.com太田


Monday, October 19, 2009

Overseas Teaching Jobs

Are you interested in teaching in Japan? If so, check out the jobs we have listed.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

David English House

The Future of David English House

by David Paul

David English House would like to continue and expand our support of English teachers and schools in Japan. We would like to work with individual teachers, particularly those who have self-developed teaching materials, and with other companies in order to make this possible.

We have decided to separate David English House into two companies. The current company will continue to take care of our Hiroshima schools. The new company will be 'David English House - Professional Development' and will take care of the following:

* distance learning
* teacher training
* book sales and marketing
* The ETJ central office and events such as the Expos
* new projects that support teachers in Japan.

We are looking for small amounts of sponsorship for this new company

Basic sponsorship
* for individuals who would like to make it possible for David English House to continue to support teachers
* for teachers or small companies who have self-developed materials or services that they would like to market to teachers/schools around Japan using David English House's marketing routes.

Company sponsorship
* for companies that would like to work in partnership with David English House and gain effective ways to market materials or services to teachers.

All sponsors would receive shares in the new company and gain effective ways to promote materials and services to English teachers in Japan.

How to get more information

If you are interested in having more information on the benefits of sponsorship and on how the new company will be run, please just reply to this e-mail. I will send you a power point slide show that outlines the plan.

I very much hope we will be able to move forward positively in support of English education in Japan.



Calling all jr/sr high ESL/EFL teachers: Soon to announce opening of free beta site to help specifically secondary teachers and students use English.

Brief website description here:

Whether or not you use the internet with your students, there's no doubt the opportunities to create authentic communicative situations are many. But I've always thought that even though there are tons of great tools available, none worked just right for secondary schools. We have particular safety issues, assessment needs, and time constraints (we're busy!). So a few years ago I set out to create the "perfect" tool. Now we're getting very close to releasing version 1.
So if you are interested, please contact me. You must be a secondary school teacher, however, so you will need to include your school name, address and website info along with your personal school email address, it's the only way we can verify the users in order to keep everything safe. Or if you just want more information, let me know.


Problems at Work in Japan: The Labour Laws are Broken Everywhere

by Kevin Burns

Read More about Teaching English in Japan

Frequently you hear of people complaining that the English school they work for requires them to do this or that and isn`t following the law.

Granted that is a shame and is wrong. Not to mention illegal!
But frankly, it seems at times that no one in Japan is following the law.

For example:
Today is Saturday, and my wife will be paid 2,500 Yen for the weekend to work for her publically owned junior high school. This is not a private high school. It is owned by the Japanese government, or all of us that pay taxes. Yet it appears to me that her school doesn`t follow Japanese labour laws. In other words, a government owned school is not following its own laws.

This school is not alone. It seems all across the spectrum that Japanese companies and educational institutions ignore the law. Employees work overtime
unpaid, and uncomplainingly. This happens each week for many employees at Japan`s top companies and below. Most of the Japanese I know, tell me routinely that they are working overtime unpaid. It is common practice here.

Some universities and other educational institutions require teachers to work for no extra pay on Japanese national holidays. They give a holiday on an alternate day,
however I imagine this too breaks some labour law. I would imagine that by law
we should be paid overtime.

So while I sympathize with teachers in a tough situation and feel it is unfair.
I also recognize I am in the same boat, and so is Hiroshi across the street. The whole country is breaking the labour laws. Is that right?


Should we do something about it?


Let`s not isolate the debate to Eikaiwa (English schools), every industry in the country is the same in Japan. You could argue that, that is why the suicide rate is one of the highest in the developed world. Recently Japan again set a new
record for the number of suicides.

Could it be that we all need to slow down? Smell the green tea. Or even have time to get some counseling before things reach the breaking point.

What am I doing about it? Not much. I write as I am doing now, but probably like a lot of you, I am just thankful to have a job, and not be out on the street.
I have a house to pay for and three children.

When one of the schools I work for (a university) told all of us we would be working on national holidays, there was not a peep in protest from any one of us. We are all scared to be out of work. We all have bills to pay. The labour laws are not followed in Japan.

Many people are forced to work on the so-called "Happy Mondays" holidays. Many
English schools have followed suit as many companies are also requiring their employees to work on public holidays for no additional pay--they get their regular
monthly salary.

I guess I feel that overall I have a good situation. Another school I teach for closed due to the flu and we are paid yet I get to have the days off. So the pendulum does swing.

It`s a bit of a mystery as to why Japan has some strong labour laws but flaunts them
everywhere. One theory I have is that they are seen as a foreign imposition, brought to Japan by General Macarthur and the Americans, and imposed by a well-meaning yet a foreign power that didn`t/couldn`t understand Japan.

Japanese still think they are unique.

Historically there have been some very bloody labour disputes in Japan. Lives were lost and much tragedy occurred for both sides. So perhaps many Japanese are a little gun-shy of labour disputes.

Yet as the economic and social situation worsens in this country with an aging population and little immigration to stem the tide of bills that a smaller population will have to pay in support of the geriatrics, you can bet that we will
see more suicides and more labour disputes unless things change.

*Allowing widespread immigration would be a step in the right direction but I digress.

While the teachers unions can work towards ending unfair labour practices and it is a worthy goal, we have to recognize that it isn`t just the English schools, the universities or the public schools that are at fault, it is indeed a Japan wide problem and so ingrained in this hard-working culture that it will probably take
decades to change.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Quote

"Maybe Japanese don't really need English, maybe it's too different. But in our opinion, you don't need to look any further than the school education system itself to find reason why many Japanese lack the confidence to have even a basic English conversation. The focus is on grammar rules and mechanical translation, with the end goal being passing an exam - as opposed to being able to communicate. It encourages students to cram, and 'game' exam papers, ultimately alienating people from what a language is really used for - the communication of ideas."
--Leon Butchers

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Do Teaching Unions do more harm than good in Japan?

by Kevin Burns

As a young man and being rather left wing, I scoffed at the suggestion that unions were not all good. My father pointed out how they can try to intimidate employees to get their way.

Being young and inexperienced, I refused to believe him, but it seems to be true. In spite of the hype, unions are not always good for you and don`t always do what`s best for you. Even if they think they do.

Some unions are great and represent their members well. Others are not.

"One of the reasons I enjoy teaching at my English school is because of the stress-free environment. But that relaxed feeling has recently changed. This has occurred not because of the students, the management, the company or the location. Surprisingly, the dissent among instructors is due to the new teachers union, which has created a hostile workplace. And as if erecting barriers between coworkers isn`t enough, the union is damaging the entire English-teaching profession here in Japan."

--Joseph Barker, is an English teacher in Japan

Originally published in Metropolis Magazine

Wow! Strong words from Joseph Barker (a pseudonym). I have never had problems with unions myself. In my case, when I have been a member, I think on the whole I was represented well. I sympathize with unions on the whole, being rather left in bent, but I also have come to sympathize with managers, having been one myself now for nearly 20 years. I think if you are working for a company that is not fair, having a teaching union available to back you up in case of a grievance, is a great asset.

However, you need to ask yourself if the union works for your best interest. Every school is different. Some employers are very good--very fair. If your employer is one of the kind ones, is it worth it to join a union?

Can there be potential problems as alluded to in the above quote? Unions can sometimes lead you astray.

Sometimes what unions do in the spirit of improving the situation of the employee, ends up backfiring and hurting the teachers, as the actions of the union, incur unimagined consequences.

"I don`t understand how unions can say that they are fighting for all teachers` rights while encouraging union members to bully non-union workers."--Joseph Barker again, in Metropolis Magazine

The above is what my father was warning me about. He had been a member of a union while working in an airplane factory. Unions often feel they know best, which doesn`t necessarily agree with how you feel about things.

"Our union representative posted a bulletin in our teachers`room stating that instructors who covered a striking teacher`s shift were betraying their family, their country, and even their God. The newsletter compared so-called "scabs" with Judas Iscariot, betrayer of Jesus."

--Joseph Barker, in Metropolis Magazine

Indeed some unions can be just as bad or worse than undesirable employers. Unions the world over have gone to extremes for their cause.

And is it your cause though? You need to answer that for yourself. If it is, then join the union.

In certain instances, I would think joining a union would be a great idea. But you need to decide for yourself.

A good union should never bully you to join it. It should have the integrity and respect of the employees, and workers join because of that respect for the well earned reputation.

So refuse to be bullied. But decide for yourself.