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Classroom Confidential

Stories from inside the classroom

Eikoh Buys Shane

Cram school operator, Eikoh Inc., has bought Shane English School.

Cram school operator Eikoh Inc. said Friday it has acquired Shane English School to strengthen its English-language education for elementary school children ahead of the planned compulsory teaching of the language for fifth- and sixth-graders.

Small Successes

When GEOS went under, I suggested that the event to the die-off of the dinosaurs where the large schools would give way to the small, furry schools. Richard Smart has an uplifting and positive piece in The Japan Times on some thriving, smaller schools.(Pay no attention to the jaded guy he quotes throughout the article, though.)

The Bottom of the Barrel

Time to blow the cobwebs off this blog and talk about James McCrostie's article in the Japan Times two weeks ago on the General Union's scrap with Gaba.

The General Union says it has established a Gaba Branch and is accusing Gaba of lying when it stated in a financial report that there was no union and that labor relations were good. By all accounts in the article, this should be a slam dunk for the union, until you read this part:

Old Wine in New Bottles

Here come the school closures:

Nagoya-based investment fund Inayoshi Capital Partners said Thursday that about 50 of its 167 Geos foreign-language school branches will be renamed Nova X Geos after November.

ICP also said it will close down about 20 Geos branches whose business areas are overlapping with those of Nova.

The company said students of those schools will be relocated to the nearby Nova schools or receive lessons via Nova's unique video-phone system.

Encouraging Developments

A couple of things in the news caught my eye that made me think Japan's approach to teaching English could be changing for the better.

From the Yomiuri Online:

The Japanese and U.S. governments are considering the establishment of a program that would send young Japanese teachers of English to the United States to improve their English ability, it has been learned.

See BS News

CBS News is all gaga over how awesome Japanese education is given how it stresses the importance of respect and how much they accomplish with so little is spent on it.

How do they do so much with so little? By investing in top-notch teachers.

"Teachers are given a good deal of respect; they're expected to devote their life," said Catherine Lewis, distinguished research scholar at Mills College. "The whole system is set up to emphasize the development of teachers."

Be Yes! English Teachers

When I saw this story in the Japan Times for a webisode series called "English Teachers" about the antics of teaching at Be Yes! School of English, I thought it would be a live version of Charisma Man.


Time to Say Goodbye to JET and Dispatch ALTs

Given all the talk of the JET Programme on the chopping block, I've been thinking about the discussion it has generated. The consensus seems to be that the program should be saved since it's a great soft power tool and exchange program for Japan.

David English House Closes its Doors

Citing a tough financial situation, Hiroshima-based David English House has closed its doors as of September 1 and filed for bankruptcy.

While some of its schools will close, a number of its teachers will go independent and take over existing contracts and keep other schools open. For the most part, it sounds it will be business as usual for its students.


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