When I ask students what culture shock is, they usually give me an example of something they found surprising about a foreign culture. One student explained how she was shocked when her boyfriend’s brother, and his wife, hugged her when they first met. For someone from Japan, where hugging is rarely seen outside the family, this was shocking. But this experience, in itself, is not culture shock, and the process is more complex than these culture surprises.
Did you know that there are more non-native users of English than native speakers? If you count all the people who learn and use English as a second language and as foreign language, then native speakers account for only about 25% of the total! But what is a native speaker?
As we’ve mentioned before, learning vocabulary is one of the most important and hardest aspect of learning English. Ultimately the best way to learn new words is from context and picking up words through extensive reading, but most people need to and want to take a more explicit to learning vocabulary by memorising new words. But, how do you know what words to learn?
One of the biggest struggles any language learner has is learning new words. This particularly true with English which has one of the biggest vocabularies of any language. But, there are probably fewer words to learn than you might think to get to decent level of comprehensive and communicative ability. The problem is, how do you know how many words you know? How big is your vocabulary?
The idea of learn, extend, create is a major part of triplo. It is used to organise the three types of lessons we teach and is a central idea in our approach to teaching English. But where does it come from, what does it mean and why do we use it? Learn, extend, create, is connected to ideas about designing an effective language course as well as the cognitive process that we use to acquire knowledge. Here we will explain the origins of learn, extend, create and tell you why we think it is important.
Education is changing, it has to change. The world of work is not the same as it was twenty years ago, let alone one hundred and fifty years ago, when mass education was first widely rolled out to provide educated workers for the industrialising world. The problem facing education today is that the knowledge that you learn at school or university is quickly becoming out of date because of the pace of change in technology and the work place. The question then is, what do I need to learn? First of all you need to learn to be a “dynamic learner”, someone who is able to develop their skills and knowledge as needs arise, but more than gaining knowledge, you need to harness four key skills that are transferable across domains - the "Four Cs” of creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
Love it or hate it, TOEIC is one of the features of learning English in Japan, and for many people it is necessary for career advancement. Everyone is looking for ways to improve their score, usually with the least amount of effort, so we’ve put together nine tips for improving your score on TOEIC… but some of them do require some effort. We’ll start with the ones that require the least effort.
Knowing when to use a, an and the, is one of the hardest things for Japanese learners, partly because there isn’t an equivalent in Japanese. It came up again in a lesson and so we thought we give you a quick explanation.
An app for this and an app for that. There is a smartphone or web-app for almost everything these days, and they are extremely popular and, in most cases, useful. Of course as learners of English, or any other language, we are looking for ways to make our learning easier and more effective, and there are many popular apps for learning languages. However, the question remains, can you actually learn English through an app? The answer is yes and no. Here’s why.