NHK English Characters Worse than Nara Mascot?

We were all highly critical of the “freaky looking deer-horned Buddha” mascot that was chosen to represent the Nara Heijo-kyo anniversary, and rightly so, but I fear that even he was more appealing than the two characters that front NHK’s “Eigo de Asobo” children’s TV show. Meet Kebo and Motch Let me introduce these ambassadors of the English language… This picture from the cover of an NHK CD actually shows the two characters in good […]

ESL-Kids.com Featured in T.H.E. Journal

I wasn’t planning to blow my own trumpet, but regular commentator, Keith, told me not to let pride stand in my way, so let me shout it out loud… My site got featured in T.H.E. Journal! Whoo-hoo! I launched ESL-Kids.com, a website offering free ESL materials, in 2006. Since then, it has had 2.3 million page views, about 400,000 visitors, and is now frequented by around 1,500 people a day. This month, it got featured […]

Download Songs for ESL Children

Once a week, I throw my Pooh bag over my shoulder and haul my collection of flash cards and toys to my local kindergarten. With a fresh bunch of children starting their English lessons in a couple of weeks, I’ve taken to revamping the curriculum I’ve been using, and injecting some energy into it with some very genki songs. The problem with classic children songs For years, I’ve made do with classic children’s ditties such […]

Arnold Schwarzenegger Calls AEON English School

While I’ve been (and still am) waiting for my websites to move to their new web host, I’ve had some time to catch up on my favorite podcasts. One of those podcasts is from Gaijin-in-Japan.com, and recently in Mike’s 82nd podcast, we got treated to this brilliant prank call to an AEON English school in Japan: Arnold Calls English School There are lots of similar ones on ArnoldCalls.com, and you’ll find a load of them […]

Get ESL Tips from Chris’ English School

One of the more recent blogs I’ve subscribed to is that of ESL teacher, Chris Ballard. Born in Hawaii, but now residing in Yanai city in Yamaguchi, Chris runs his own English school out of his own home. Another disgruntled English teacher? NO! What makes this blog so unique is that instead of criticising the ESL industry, or even writing articles on “how to teach English”, Chris shows us exactly what he is doing with […]

Elementary School Teacher Loves Dolch Words

I got a very nice email today from an elementary school teacher who wrote to thank me for my Dolch Words website: I love your dolch word website. I use the phrase activities all the time. It has helped with improving fluency and accuracy in a fun way. My students grades 1-5 enjoy the dice game and the rock-paper-scissors. We use all the activities and I have passed it on to other teachers. Thanks so […]

Don’t Forget Your Pencil!

Time for a quick rant about my job as an English teacher in Japan. Before continuing, please read my disclaimer. This post is about children who forget to bring a pencil to class. Do I even need to say more? Surely that’s like going swimming without you’re trunks! If you’re going to school, take a pencil. It really shouldn’t be any more complicated than that, right? Why then, do I have kids who repeatedly forget to bring a pencil? […]

Teach English Online

I’ve been teaching English in Japan for over ten years, but I haven’t ventured into online English teaching. However, the internet is now part of our everyday lives, and email is no longer the only common means of communication. People everywhere, young and old, are using webcams, headsets, and software such as Skype to communicate with friends and family. The demand for English teachers is as strong as ever, but students are looking for cheaper and more convenient […]