Need a mentor for a nonnative English speaking teacher

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Need a mentor for a nonnative English speaking teacher

Unread post by miyukiz » 02 Apr 2010, 13:02


My name is Miyuki. I came back to Japan one year ago after I finished MATESOL in 2008. I taught Japanese as a second/foreign language for a year but I don't have any experience in teaching English in any setting.

I want to be a nonnative English-speaking teacher in Japan and I need a lot of questions about it. Though my professor was encouraging us, the international students in our program, to teach English in the direct method, I still feel there are some challenges about whether we can maintain and improve our oral communications skills in an EFL setting, whether it is a realistic profession in terms of our incomes if I am not fully bilingual, or whether there are chances to be hired as a teacher for the direct method in Japan. Some of the administrators in an private language schools says that even when they have native English-speaking teachers they still need to hire some Japanese L1 teachers. However, there is some kind of a fixed HR strategy that they hire native English-speaking teachers and some Japanese L1 teachers who are good at explaining grammar but incline to use English in classroom in public sector. I feel this is how they share and distinguish the territories between them. So a nonnative English-speaking teachers could be called an "imperfect teacher" if we do not work really hard on our oral communication skills and ability to explicitly teach grammar in order not to be said, "We don't need you because we have Mr. John from the United States and Mr. Yamada who teachs English grammar ten years in Japan." Whether or not I use the direct method, I still want to teach some aspects of spoken language, academic writing, and grammar.

Though it'll be gratefull if I would find a teacher who are successful as a nonnative English-speaking professional, I'd appreciate it if there would be some native English-speaking teacher who can be a mentor for me.

Thank you,


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Joined: 03 Mar 2011, 14:30
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Re: Need a mentor for a nonnative English speaking teacher

Unread post by melgaut » 03 Mar 2011, 14:55

Hi miyuki,
You seem to be worried about using the direct method. There are many studies that show that students need to be spoken only in English to really learn and acquired language. However, simply using the direct method is almost impossible and may be a little boring for students. Yes, you should only speak in English in your classroom, but you have to give them writing assessment as well as grammar session. Fluency is very important. You are a model for the learners. By gestures and use of visual cues you can only speak English even though your students don’t understand at first. Cooperative learning method is also a good way to have your students interact orally and get them involved in their learning. Group work lower their anxiety and make them more motivated to learn the language. Are you free about the method you want to use into your classroom? If so, you should try it. You won’t be disappointed. However, you may have to repeat the activity 2 or 3 times if they are not used to work in teams.

Posts: 5
Joined: 03 Feb 2011, 15:02
Status: Prospective Teacher

Re: Need a mentor for a nonnative English speaking teacher

Unread post by stremblay » 03 Mar 2011, 15:04

Hello Miyuki,

I am from Quebec, therefore I cannot be your mentor unfortunately. But I think that your idea of hiring a mentor is good because, as non-native speakers of English, we have to perfect our language skills to a certain extent. However, I would suggest you to try immersing yourself in an English environment for some period of time because in my opinion it allows you to perfect your English to a greater extent and this is also the type of element that can easily be added to your portfolio. I am not sure whether or not this makes a difference in your country, but it certainly does in Quebec. I hope you will find what you are looking for!

Good luck!


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