From Radiohead lyrics to teaching EFL - a Japanese teacher's story

From Radiohead lyrics to teaching EFL - a Japanese teacher's story

Global English TESOL trainee, Yosuke Oba, is native to Japan and teaches English there. But his love of the language started from studying the lyrics of some of his favourite English bands.

We were keen to know, from Yosuke, more of his journey, about typical teaching life and what to expect from Japanese learners.

Yosuke’s interview, below, is part of a series we're running, focussing on teaching English in this fascinating country, featuring TEFL jobs in Japan sharing stories on teaching English in Japan from native English teachers, and highlighting our most popular, accredited online, 120-hour TESOL course for Asia.

Hi Yosuke, can you tell us what led you to
take a course with Global English TESOL?

As a student, I was already very interested in the lyrics of my favourite UK rock groups from the Rolling Stones to Radiohead. However, English was far from being a means of real communication – even though I had studied it at school. 

After learning how exciting speaking in English could be at university, I decided to be a teacher and show students how to enjoy communicating in a foreign language. In this sense, I firmly believe that TESOL will enable me to teach English more communicatively.

When I was gathering information on TESOL, I found the Global English website. Louisa immediately invited me to chat and kindly told me everything that I was wondering about. Finding their contents very appealing, I made my decision on the spot. I've been really enjoying the course because it is full of new and interesting ideas. 

Can you tell us about your teaching and your students?

I have been teaching middle and high school students for over a decade. Our teaching methods used to be notorious for overemphasising grammar and translation, but nowadays teachers pursue a better balance of the four skills. Few students are ready for this, though. Averagely speaking, Japanese students are often too passive and reluctant to give their opinions. This is exactly what I have always been trying to change as a teacher.

Is there a high demand for English teachers?

Yes, there is. Although loads of people find English so hard to learn, English is important for success here in Japan. Students study it to go to college while business people want to get promoted or get high marks in TOEIC or related tests. Here, one of our most popular teaching styles is eikaiwa (conversation in English). This is because many have great difficulty in oral communication because of their grammar-centered education. So, many employers really want teachers who can help learners make progress in daily communication. 

And what about prospects for non-native English teachers?

Generally speaking, we don’t care about whether an English teacher is native or non-native. There are many different Western and Asian English teachers here. There is a little of the 'native speaker fallacy', but the majority in the industry know that is nothing but a myth.

Have you any advice for people keen to teach English in Japan?

As mentioned, Japanese students are generally very shy so they need great patience. They might be silent, perhaps because they are trying to avoid feeling embarrassed. So, they should always be told to relax and that it is quite natural to make mistakes. Teachers also have to break down misunderstandings about grammar being a separate and scary entity by teaching the grammar through the skills. 

I am happy to know that so many teachers are eager to come and teach English here. I hope that we will have more diverse international exchanges.

Thanks, Yosuke, for sharing your story and every success with the course and beyond.

Interested in teaching English in Japan?

For Visa sponsorship, you'll need:
* A degree (from a university where the medium of instruction was English)
* 3 years full-time experience teaching English

Strongly desired:
* A TESOL certificate
* Native English speakers – although this is changing
* A clean criminal record check

* Discover our most popular TESOL course for Japan >>
* Find out more about TEFL jobs in Japan >>
* Learn more about teaching English in Japan on our destinations pages>>

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: 02/06/2021

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From Radiohead lyrics to teaching EFL - a Japanese teacher's story