Class Sizes in Japan

There are many things that flit through the mind of someone coming to a foreign country to teach English. How will I get to school and back each day? Will students be able to follow the lessons? How many luminescent highlighter pen colours is too many? Well, I can’t answer all of these questions (except…

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Halloween in Japan

In my childhood I had mixed feelings about Halloween. Sure, I enjoyed the sweets and the campy horror theme, but I was never keen on Trick or Treating. The idea of knocking on a stranger’s door never appealed and when I became old enough to be “the one who answered the door” I became resentful of…

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Teaching With A Topic

Memory plays a big part in learning. After all, what’s the point in spending all day studying something just to forget it all the next day? There are many ways to help retention. For example, I used to use a specific incense stick every time I revised for an exam, then in the test I…

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Ninohe Matsuri – Undeserved Fame

I’ve occasionally had the good fortune to take part in some of Japan’s fascinating cultural festivals. Sometimes the experience has been especially invigorating. On one such occurrence I was invited by my girlfriend’s extended family to go and participate in the Ninohe Matsuri. As well as being a healthy dip into local culture and traditions…

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When There’s Nothing To Do

Not all of the time a teacher spends at school is occupied with actual teaching. For many foreign teachers a majority of their in-school hours are taken up with tedious desk-sitting. This is the ideal time to prepare for future classes, and that’s what most Japanese teachers and private company supervisors expect. However, what does…

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Activity: Board Games

Board games are a classic tradition that have enriched the childhoods of many and vastly improved countless rain-drenched caravan holidays. The most famous games can be found throughout the world but every country has board games of its own. In Japan it’s not hard to find someone who enjoys a game of Shogi, the Japanese…

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Work in Japan – The Arrival

Flying half-way around the world can be a daunting thing, even more so when it’s to do a job you’ve no experience of, in an area that was recently devastated by a cataclysmic natural disaster. But for whatever reason, that’s exactly what I did in June 2011. I came to work in Japan. How does…

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A Standard Lesson Plan For Junior High and Up

I’ve already written a little bit about some activities that can be used in the ESL classroom and about how to forge an effective worksheet but how do these elements come together to make a decent lesson? Here I’m going to go through a standard lesson plan for Junior High or High School based on…

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Junior High and Up Activity – Shiritori

Batman’s Utility Belt is a marvellous thing. With everything from smoke pellets to grappling guns to shark-repellent bat-sprays he’s prepared for every situation. ESL teachers can equip themselves with an equally useful, if slightly less flashy, set of tools. One of those tools is Shiritori. I call it by it’s Japanese name since learning it…

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My Car in Japan – A video

Anyone who comes to work in Japan as an English teacher, or in any profession really, will likely need to get a car. Especially if located in a rural area. In this, the first full video from Where? There! Teach., we’ll take a brisk tour around my vehicle and talk about how to handle gas stations. Let’s…

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