Monthly Update October 2023: Overview
Welcome to our school monthly update: October 2023. During this month several new students joined our classes, including several adult students, which is a welcome addition to our school. Although we don’t advertise too often, our school welcomes students of all ages, and now we can say our student body ranges from six to eighty! This proves it is always early enough to learn. We have also welcomed a new junior high school student who attends a prestigious private school in central Tokyo. His English level is good, and we are focusing on his speaking and reading comprehension skills.
To encourage a new generation of BumbleB students, we have also begun a twice-monthly lesson for pre-elementary school children. My daughter teaches these lessons on Sunday mornings. Although she is still a high school student, she is fluent in English and has experience teaching children online. I support her in the classes, so it is a good chance for me to observe the younger students and their interactions. I am impressed with many of the five- and six-year-olds who already know the alphabet, have learned to count in English, and can speak simple greetings.
Group Lessons - Kids
Many of our group lessons for children are small groups with just a few students. Teaching a small class size has many benefits for the students as it gives them more practice in class to speak and participate. Of course, it is also easier for teachers to manage the small class size and to provide more attention to each student.
However, in October, we experienced several students who arrived late to class or missed a lesson without prior notification. Typically, students who come late consistently show a disinterest in English lessons. When this happens, we notify parents and inform them of the situation. In most cases, the students are going through some difficulty at school, have a busy schedule, or are going through a temporary issue from which they adjust.
In a few cases, students are generally disinterested in English lessons and would instead not attend classes. After consultation with the child’s parent, we usually agree that the child does not want to attend lessons, and we allow the student to leave our school. We understand that each child is different and they have their own interests and personalities. Not every child enjoys English, and not every student wants our lessons. We encourage students to speak honestly with us and their parents if they are unhappy. Having disinterested students in class is hurtful to the child and not productive to the other students. That is why our policy for leaving our school is quite flexible; we do not require a long-term contract; we only need 30 days prior notice before a student quits BumbleB English.
During October, our group lessons made good progress in phonics and reading. Students have also continued with their Eiken-level vocabulary. We introduced the Oxford University Press Dolphin Readers Series for reading comprehension. These leveled readers fit well with the Let’s Go textbooks/workbook series that we also use from Oxford University Press.
In two of our group classes, we use the Scholastic Success Series workbooks for reading comprehension. These classes also use vocabulary workbooks from the series; 240 Vocabulary Words Kids Need to Know. These workbooks include vocabulary that native-level speakers should know from elementary school grades 1 – grade 6. In our advanced class, we occasionally supplement learning with news articles from the Japan Times Alpha newspaper. This is also an excellent resource for students who have achieved Eiken Grade 3 and above.
In our introductory pre-elementary school Sunday classes, we welcomed five students, several siblings of current students, and a few new students. Our first lesson focused on the alphabet, pronunciation, and songs such as Itsy, Bitsy, Spider, and the Hello Song. Based on the students’ abilities, we will add phonics training, vocabulary with flashcards, and simple English conversational phrases.
Private Lessons - Kids
Currently, our private lessons for high school students focus on English specifically for proficiency exams such as the Eiken or TOEFL tests. Students tend to be diligent when focused on a goal, and we have progressively added more advanced material to strengthen our student’s vocabulary skills. Even in high school, learning vocabulary is extremely important, especially for understanding the common synonyms and antonyms of the words they already know.
Our lessons for junior high school students also focus on practical English for exams, reading fluency, and speaking skills. We also emphasize writing and use various writing prompt topics to encourage students to write regularly. Our new junior high school student uses material from the Eiken 3 study book as a base material from which we study grammar points in sentences and practice making recent examples using those same grammar points. Additionally, we use the Scholastic Sucess with Reading Test series workbooks to improve reading comprehension. These workbooks include synonyms/antonyms and are also an excellent vocabulary resource.
One of our elementary school private students is studying for the Eiken Pre-2 level exam. This student has good listening, reading, and speaking abilities from watching various “educational” videos on YouTube. We encourage students to use YouTube or other streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, etc. It may be hard to schedule viewing time as a family, but we encourage 90-120 minutes of English screen time weekly for students to become familiar with spoken English.
Private & Group Lessons - Adults
This month, we have added a small adult group lesson that meets on Wednesday mornings. The students in this lesson live in the Yoga area and are involved in the restaurant business. Our lessons in this class focus on basic English communication skills, learning new phrases, and a lot of role-playing practice. The students are enthusiastic and diligent in their work. As this class is our first adult group class, we want to add more students or another class!
As mentioned in the introduction, we also welcomed a young-at-heart, eighty-year-old student. This student’s English level is quite good, and she has bounds of energy and enthusiasm. As a diligent NHK English user and prior student of Berlitz, she has a good foundation and knowledge of English. As such, we have focused on dialogue and current topics and will introduce other materials in the future.
In addition to the above student, another retiree, around seventy years old, has joined. This student will join an African safari in December and wants to improve his English before his trip. We will focus on basic English phrases and practicing asking/answering questions in English.
Our existing private adult students are continuing their lessons well, and we have introduced business English material that provides podcast dialogue and PDF downloads for material. These materials have been beneficial for our business English students and cover topics such as giving suggestions and opinions, managing meetings, and English telephone manners.
October was busy as we ramped up classes and resumed our normal academic pace. Challenges included tardiness and absenteeism, addressed through parent-teacher communication. Academic progress was marked by the introduction of Oxford University Press’s Dolphin Readers and Scholastic Success Series workbooks for reading and vocabulary. Private lessons for high school students focused on exam preparation, with junior high sessions including practical English and writing. An elementary student preparing for the Eiken Pre-2 level exam benefited from English-language media exposure via YouTube, a tool we recommended to parents, but with supervision.
For our adult students, a new group lesson started on Wednesday mornings, emphasizing essential communication and role-playing. New adult private lessons included a lively eighty-year-old with a solid English background and a retiree prepping for an African safari. Business English materials were introduced for ongoing adult students, enhancing English skills in meetings, providing suggestions, and telephone etiquette.
As mentioned in prior updates, several students are currently testing our online academy, and we continue improving it before we release it to everyone. Contact us for more information: email@example.com
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