July was a hot month. Every day seemed to be over 30 degrees with high humidity in Tokyo, but students could still focus despite the heat. High-school students in private lessons worked on reading comprehension and vocabulary mastery, and a Summer Program offered specialized instruction for Eiken test preparation, grammar, and writing. One of our adult students is a chef, so we have included material specific to the restaurant business. In addition, we began Zoom lessons for a student who recently moved to France.
We also released a beta version of our online academy to a few students, and we hope to make this more widely available in the coming months.
As mentioned last month, most successful students at our school have one of the following backgrounds: 1) lived abroad, 2) have one or both parents that are native-English speakers, 3) have studied at an English school before, 4) have an interest in English and will eagerly do assigned homework and attend classes regularly.
We provide a lot of support for our students, whether through our small class size or extra resources like printouts and online apps, but it is up to the student and the student’s family to take advantage of these services. Our pricing policy is also very flexible, and we only request 30 days’ notice before leaving our school.
Group Lessons - Kids
In addition to speaking and listening exercises, we have continued to focus on vocabulary development and reading practice for our kids’ group lessons. By doing this, students can express themselves better and develop speaking and reading proficiency. For example, many words we use are from Eiken tests and are also found frequently in the textbooks and supplemental reading materials we use. Encountering words in multiple situations (vocabulary list, textbook, reading book) helps to reinforce vocabulary mastery and retention.
For our beginning classes, we don’t focus too much on reading; primarily, we focus on repeating short phrases and proper pronunciation. This month, we have focused on “My name is,” “I’m … “, “I’m seven years old,” “What’s this?”, “They are…”, etc. Many of our beginner students have learned a little English before, so we are starting to introduce new words through flashcards. They have also done well on their alphabet writing and can now proceed to write simple three and four-letter words.
For our intermediate classes, we have been using several native-level materials. These materials have helped advance students’ reading and vocabulary skills, though we are careful not to push too hard for those students who struggle. That is why we only assign 1-2 pages a week and take time in the lessons to review each homework assignment thoroughly.
Private Lessons - Kids
For our high school students, we focused on reading comprehension using the Scholastic Success with Reading Test series of workbooks. These workbooks mostly have U.S.-centric content, but it is a good source for reading comprehension materials. The workbooks also contain synonym and antonym vocabulary exercises at the end of each unit, and we find that these are wonderful exercises to expand a student’s vocabulary.
We will have a Summer Program for students who want extra lessons in mid-July and August. This program is open to non-BumbleB English students as well. These lessons focused on reading comprehension, writing, Eiken test prep, and reading comprehension. For one student, we read together the first book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and nearly finished the book during the summer. Another student lives in China but has returned to Japan for the summer. We practiced grammar, reading comprehension, and writing during the several lessons. A junior high school student, an older sister of a current student, wanted to prepare for her Eiken test, so we reviewed past exams and reading comprehension strategies. Lastly, we also completed Zoom lessons for two siblings who moved from Japan to California in June.
Private Lessons - Adults
In July, we continued to use articles for many of our adult classes. These articles are level-based, so that we could assign them based on our students’ English abilities. In addition, for one adult student, we used a conversational book focusing more on daily situational English, such as how to order at a restaurant, what to say at the airport, hotels, etc. In addition, since this student is a restaurant owner and chef, we have also used a slightly advanced book that focuses on English for restaurant workers. It is a good book as it reinforces junior high school grammar that adult students can easily forget.
We were also happy that one of our students re-joined us in July. This student and her husband moved to France in June, and after a few weeks of getting accustomed to life in Paris, the student resumed lessons with us via Zoom. It was interesting to hear about her new life in Paris, and even after a few weeks, she and her husband had traveled quite a bit and seen parts of France. Most online lessons have centered around her life abroad and conversational English. She has also started testing our online academy and can access materials online and take online short tests after each lesson unit. We have tested this online academy with a few other private students and hope to have it available soon.
July saw hot weather continue, with most days above 30 degrees. We started our summer program in mid-July and had several classes with both existing BumbleB English students. Several students are currently testing our online academy, and we will continue improving it before we release it to everyone.
We encourage anyone interested in our school to contact us for a free trial lesson. Online lessons are available to students not in the Yoga vicinity.
As always, please get in touch with us directly for information about our school: firstname.lastname@example.org