How to choose the right English class for your child

Many parents find it difficult to decide what the right class or English program is for their child owing to the fact that there are many different programs on the market. I decided to write this to provide some information that can help such parents decide what the right program could be for their child.
I was born and raised in a multilingual environment in fact by the age of eight I was already speaking three languages. I learnt English as a third language. I came to Japan when I was 30 years old and I immediately started learning Japanese. Therefore, I have experience learning a new language both as a child learner as well as an adult learner.
I taught English to children, adults and professionals for eight years before starting the first Oasis English school in 2004. I taught at different big school chains here in Japan both English conversation and for TOEFL and other qualifications to prepare students to go and study abroad or for other purposes in their careers.
I have taught as a volunteer in an elementary school in Sagamihara for more than ten years. I have also taught in several day care centers and a kindergarten. I have taught English to thousands of children, including my own three children, in more than twenty three years as at this writing.

Eiken and TOEFL

The goal of the Oasis English program is to help children acquire good and rounded English skills. at a reasonable cost. The method of learning employed involves first learning to read so that the students can then read to learn. The method of assessing progress is through Eiken and TOEFL tests. Passing Eiken or TOEFL does not necessarily indicate good English skills since the tests comprise mostly multiple choice questions. However, students with good English skills  will definitely pass the test equivalent to their English ability. Therefore, test results are essential for assessing progress and serve as a tool for improving both the content  and the teaching method. Tests also provide clear and specific goals for learners to aim at and motivation to work hard. Progress cannot be achieved without working hard towards a clear goal. Students who do not take tests generally lag behind their expected level and the class.  Moreover, test results are  used to ensure that no student is lagging behind their expected level, depending on when they began to learn and the length of their learning period.

Learning a language through reading posses two major challenges to beginners. First, since they cannot read yet, reading and learning does not feel interesting. Second, reading ability takes a long time to acquire. The time it takes to acquire reading fluency depends on the learner and the amount of effort applied All learners invariably start getting fully engaged and showing enthusiasm once they acquire a certain level of reading fluency. Until that happens, children need a lot of help, encouragement and patience.

Learning by reading involves first aquiring the ability to read. A learner that can read is able to acquire vocabulary, reading comprehension, speaking fluency, grammar and good writing skills much more easily that one who can not read.

Flashcards.

Many English Conversation programs make use of flashcards and learning games  during the lessons. Whereas these activities are fun, results show that they give a false sense of progress and are a waste of time. When we used flashcards in Oasis, the best result we got was an elementary sixth grader scoring 60% on the Eiken juniior gold test three times in a row. Now that students read books, a five year old scored almost a perfect score on eiken jr, gold on the very first attempt. Besides , many kindergarten students can not only answer different questions but can also make sensible sentences.

How to do the reading homework.

  1. Listen to the book, even if you do not understand everything.
  2. Read the book. Listen again for the reading of the difficult words.
  3.  Do the quiz. If you do not understand the question. just choose any answer and proceed.
  4. Make sure to listen, read and do the quiz three times for each book.
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