TOL 017: Interview with Mayu Suzuki – Teaching High School Students in Japan

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Mayu Suzuki taught English to Japanese students in ordinary classes and special academic advancement classes at a senior high school in Japan for four years. She obtained a Master’s degree in Education from a university in Japan prior to this teaching experience, and a Master’s degree in TESOL from a university in the U.K. after. She is planning to make a career move to a private English language school in Japan so that she can teach General English and ESP (English for Specific Purposes), such as EBP (English for Business Purposes) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes).

In this episode, we talk about her teaching context in a high school in Japan, the rigidity of the system, and her experiences studying in the UK to broaden her teaching knowledge.

Time Stamped Show Notes

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[1:06] How Mayu got into teaching
[1:35] Mayu was interested in gender equality initially.
[2:15] The type of complaints teachers can get from students.
[3:00] Mayu’s teaching context in a senior high school in Japan.
[4:50] Mayu’s challenges teaching in this context.
[5:10] School policy made it harder for Mayu to change her style.
[6:00] It was hard to use the assigned textbooks because the textbooks didn’t fit the learners needs.
[8:05] Mayu’s studies in the UK.
[9:20] Spontaneous oral participation was the most difficult aspect for her in terms of studying in the UK.
[10:17] UK vs. Japan – The University Experience.
[11:25] Mayu wants to teach a wider range of English. In high school, it seemed she was only teaching English for exams.
[13:13] Mayu’s best moment as a teacher so far – learners who hated English started loving English after Mayu’s class.
[13:55] Mayu’s worst moment as a teacher – learners crying from not passing an exam.
[14:15] Favorite language teaching activity – Mayu didn’t do many active lessons because of school policy.
[15:50] One thing Mayu learned about herself through teaching – she actually loves teaching and helping people fall in love with the subject area.
[17:10] Sometimes, you can’t just follow school policy blindly.

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