Teacher Interviews

Our teachers take their work seriously.  Here are some interview excerpts where they talk about living and teaching in Japan.  Music and production help by Grant Smith.

The Uniqueness of Japanese Culture

An interview with Allan Wooding

Building a Rapport with Japanese Colleagues

An interview with Jordan de Graaf

Handling Discipline Issues Well 2

An interview with Jordan de Graaf

Getting the Support of your Japanese Colleagues

An interview with Allan Wooding.

Teaching in a Japanese School               

An interview with Allan Wooding.

A Class that Went Surprisingly Well

An interview with Jordan de Graaf.

Why are you a teacher?

An interview with Allan Wooding.

Where did you Grow Up?                  

An interview with Allan Wooding.

A Little about Me

We Share your Priorities

We Observe

Occasionally Something Beautiful

Drilling Target Structures

This is a pedagogical concept that comes up regularly in my feedback sessions, so I decided to make a series of videos about it.


Introducing the concept of drilling target structures.

Keeping all eyes on you

The four key principles to holding the student’s attention and maintaining your role as the key decision-maker in the room.... You are always being observed. You are the most interesting thing in the room. Move with intention. Speak with intention.

What is a Target Structure?

In order to discuss drilling target structures, we need to define clearly what for our purposes is meant by “target structure.”

Shadowing the Target Structure

The primary value of shadowing the target structure is that it focuses the students on the structure’s rhythm and form. This is more fun for the students than you might imagine. Our metaphor for shadowing is a baby's rattle.

SIDEBAR: Establishing a Culture of Response Part One

I want to encourage teachers to think of what they are trying to accomplish in terms of gambits.  In this video, I critique one very common opening gambit -- “The Small Talk.”

SIDEBAR: Establishing a Culture of Response, Part Two

I expand this discussion of gambits into an examination of five gambits that I often deploy in the interests of establishing a culture of response.

SIDEBAR: Establishing a Culture of Response, Part Three

I finish this sidebar by advocating for what I believe to be a vital element of establishing a culture of response, which is that the teacher needs to push Authentic Rhythm Melody, and Pronunciation (ARMP).



Patterning around the Target Structure            

This is the second of four techniques component to drilling target structures.  The metaphor for patterning is a set of Legos.  Like Legos, patterning presents the learner with a simple structural concept and then encourages the learner to experiment with various ways to build upon the concept.

Transforming into and out of the Target Structure

The metaphor for transforming is a barbell.  Like training with a barbell, transforming focuses the learner on a single isolated challenge -- an isolated language muscle group.


The metaphor for dictation is a bridge.  Dictation is most effective when it is used as a bridging tool -- a way to take what a student is already familiar with in the medium of text, and channel that into the medium of sound.