Teaching methodology

I teach using an immersive method at all levels. I've compiled the following facts and FAQs to describe what immersion is like and my teaching methodology in more detail.

Why immersion?

Most people in the developed world have studied a foreign language before, but when it comes time to use it in a real-life situation (buying a train ticket, asking for the bathroom, etc.), they struggle to string even a few words together. The problem is that traditional teaching methods have students memorise long lists of vocabulary but never truly emphasise using the language. Of course it's natural to be hesitant or nervous when doing something for the first time, but that's just the point: the time to practise is in the classroom, before having to do it in real life.

That's where immersion comes in. With my method you'll be hearing and speaking Japanese from the first lesson. You may feel some hesitation at first (again, it's natural), but most people report that that goes away within a lesson or two, and they soon find themselves having a lot of fun with it. What's more, I have found from my own experience that even for beginning students, those who study using immersive methods not only retain what they learn better, but also learn much more quickly than students learning in their own language, after just a short time. When you do find yourself taking a trip to Japan, you'll be ready to communicate right off the plane.

That's one reason why the major language schools in Japan teach using immersion and why it's better to learn it that way from the beginning. With my lessons, you can get the same style and quality of tuition as the schools in Japan, right here in Bristol!

Immersion, not submersion!

With complete beginners I start very simply, using images and gestures that anyone can understand. From there I help you to build up your vocabulary, listening skills and confidence little by little. You'll be surprised by how much you can say with just a few short lessons.

Isn't teaching in Japanese easier for the tutor?

No. On the contrary, when I speak English I can be sure that you'll understand 100% of what I say. To speak to you in Japanese, I have to be careful to use the vocabulary and grammar that you have already studied, while introducing new words at a manageable pace.

But isn't Japanese hard? Can I really learn it from scratch through immersion?

Yes, you can. In fact, you have more experience in immersive learning methods than you might realise. For example, chances are that you learnt to read by a similar process: first you mastered the basic rules of pronunciation, then with lots of trial and error you learnt the "exceptions" little by little. You'll be happy to know that the basics of spelling in Japanese are actually much simpler than in English. There are more letters (46 of them), but they fall neatly into a grid that's easy to learn, and they have the same pronunciation every single time. That makes Japanese a very good language to study through immersive methods.