Hello fellow readers and bloggers.
I’ve come back yet again with more news about AEON. Not so long ago, I sent my contract signed to them and after that they just told me to sit back and wait for the next time they have news for me. That was around. . . 2 weeks ago? Around 2 weeks?
Anyways, today I received an email from them telling me to read a PDF file on how to prepare for the initial training.
Short Version: You read a PDF file, and answer some questions in a separate sheet they have sent in that same email that contains the PDF. Then you send that questions worksheet over to the trainers via email. They also ask that you have an extra copy with you in hand once you get to training. (I have to print it in the Elementary school as I’m not allowed to use anything in the Jr. High School that’s not related to school. Yes. That even includes making copies of my residence card in order to make a new one that won’t expire. How that doesn’t relate to my work and how she doesn’t see that connection, is far below my intelligence capacity to understand).
Longer Version (more detailed): You read the PDF which mentions,
1. AEON’s Background: it’s foundations and facts you can find on their website.
2. A list of their subsidiaries, and company locations: can also see in their website, although they also mention about AIOLE –> AEON Institute of Language Education Inc., AEON Amity Inc., Ryugaku Journal Inc., and AEON Inter-cultural USA, and like a 2 sentence summary of what they are.
3. English Education In Japan: how AEON is one of the many language businesses in Japan and how Japanese education focus on translation, reading, and writing (hence why no one can actually produce a single word of English on their own other than ‘Hello’ ‘Yes’ and ‘No’), and the major international English language tests provided (TOEFL, TOEIC, and Eiken <–specific to Japanese people, thus not up to international standards).
4. Branch School Overview: summarizes the jobs of the branch manager, and emphasizes how there will be both International and Japanese teachers and how this creates an ‘international’ environment.
5. Foreign Language Teaching Approaches: how AEON uses the Learning and Acquisition Method for teaching (although they clearly show they don’t know the difference between EFL and ESL since they use these two terms simultaneously.*). This method, from AEON’s point of view, is that the Japanese education system only focuses on passive activities like translation, reading, and writing ( Although from my experience they’re copying sentences and paragraphs and not really writing anything of their own. It’s more like a child who copies what they see, because they’re not focusing on the structure and understanding what all these weird looking lines mean, but simply learning how to write letters. ). So AEON uses this L&A method to have the students “Learn” the grammar and words and what not, and then “Acquire” it through conversation and actually using it so it creates more meaning instead of just explaining everything.
Then they talk about the Natural Approach (personally, this theory only applies to students who start learning a language with a very poor education that doesn’t have high expectations of them), Total Physical Response Theory (basically using the target language in the classroom and not just translating and doing the ‘listen and repeat’ since these only create short-term memory and is quickly dismissed since students don’t use the language with contextual meaning), and Student-Centered Learning (because in Japan they’re still stuck in the old ways of teaching where the teacher just lectures and talks most of the time while the students day-dream and doodle in their notebooks, so it just talks about having more STT (Student Talk Time) and less TTT (Teacher Talking Time)).*Essentially it’s the same topic, English learning, but ESL is English as a Second Language, where students whose first language is not English, but they are now living in a country where the dominant language is English thus learning it as a second language. Their topics will revolve around their needs in order to survive in everyday life. Attention to detailed vocab for everyday things is essential.
Whereas, EFL is English as a Foreign Language.
These students also do not speak English as their first language, but they are living in a country where the dominant language is not English, hence the utterance of foreign. They are still learning English, but topic matter will not focus on specific vocabulary since they will not need it in their everyday lives. Attention to overall understanding and production is more important.One easy way to explain this, is how students in an ESL class will be learning (depending on their level and age) for example, how to write emails and all the vocabulary, idioms and expressions that are necessary for this topic. Students may learn words like sender or addressee. In an EFL class, students may learn these words (depending on the teacher), but most likely will not have too much emphasis on this part and will focus more on the structure of emails and general expressions. Idioms may be left to the teachers decision as well as the curriculum.
6. AEON Curriculum: All the different types of courses AEON provides, and it depends what course is offered at what location based on the target audience’s needs (so if a certain location has more kids than adults, they’ll have more of a variety of kid lessons). Some are roundup lessons (designed to meet the needs of Jr. and Sr. High School students as well as university students who need to relearn the language in order to actually develop the necessary skills to create output. Target audience is Japanese people. Max of 5 students), group courses (teaching helpful phrases and vocab that can be used in different scenarios, and 12 students per class), Private lessons (or sometimes there’s Semi-Private lessons which is just two students and the teacher), Self-Study Program (this is kind of like a complimentary course on top of another regularly scheduled course since it’s just checking and reviewing homework, and you’re “coaching” them through it. For me this just sounds like university textbook classes really.), and then a quick summary of other courses like Speak Up English, Quick Master 120, Speak Up English All About Me, 20 Points for Conversation(probably directed by a Japanese teacher), and Listening Fundamentals.
7. Characteristics of Japanese Students at Different Levels: just explaining the differences between a beginner student and an advanced student, as well as the other levels in between.
8. Introduction to AEON Kids: how you’ll be trained extra if you are assigned to teach kid classes and how you report to the parents after the class is done (if they’re present). I’ll be teaching kids so probably my training will be a little longer than those who aren’t going to teach kid courses. Also another interesting thing, younger kids will be taught with no shoes and probably on a mat. And since they have short attention spans, you’ll still use the book but a whole lot less compared to adult classes (also depends on the age group of the kids). Kid lessons range from 1.5 years old to 15 years old.
9. Tips for New Teachers: I like how they specifically tell you that you have to tell the students what is due for homework at the end of each lesson, praise them when they have done something correctly, have the students leave like they learned something new, be prepared before every lesson, learn your English grammar, and have fun. They list a few more others, but I just can’t bother to write them all. In any case, if you take a TEFL class, most of what they mention is pretty much common sense.
10. AEON As A Business: how providing English teaching is a service to their clients who are the students. And also that you help the branch basically raise money. Although if you asked me, if Japan would just improve their education system properly as a whole, things like AEON wouldn’t even exist.
11. Zengaikyo: aka Japan Association for the Promotion of Foreign Language Education, and how AEON is one of the 55 members of this organization. They feel the most important requirements in order to be a member is a proven business record, educational curriculum with qualified teachers, reputation accepted by others in the field, student satisfaction, and high level of ethics with respect to student financing and corporate advertising. It doesn’t focus that much on the educational part, and rather more on the business spectrum.
12. Student Satisfaction: Basically how students don’t just go for the lesson; they also go for the all English experience. And that part of your job is to make sure students renew, and encouraging them to take a test so they have physical evidence on how they have improved.
13. Koushin and Kirikae: koushin is where you persuade a client to renew, and kirikae is where you persuade them to switch to another class based on their needs. So in essence you need to be aware when their contract is due and just talk with the branch manager and head teacher about what you think is best for them. Basically the business part of an Eikaiwa.
14. Student Interviews: you’ll learn how to do interviews at training, and then there are workshops and campaigns to keep up top notch for interviews. Then they just mention that during peak times (when new school semester ends and new terms begin – so like April and September/August), you’ll be expecting to do more interviews.
15. Educational Counseling: Basically talking with the students about their English goals and whether or not they are meeting them, persuading them to renew or move to the next level by introducing new material/courses, and making sure they haven’t lost their motivation in learning English.
16. Self Study Program: ‘nuf said. They just want to reconfirm that you understand what this is.
17. AEON Mate: if you’re a student or staff that gets someone to contract with AEON, you’ll get gift certificates, textbook vouchers, etc. It’s just another way to sell the idea that a particular person needs to work at AEON, but with sale items and what not.
18. How We Motivate Students: sample comments from previous students to different teachers. It doesn’t explain at all how AEON motivates students. It’s really just a “here are some of our previous students messages to some of our staff members”. Some are cute though!Wao! That was quite long!
Well as I mentioned already that was the longer version. I hope this will help you in your decision making with AEON. Most of these things you can find on their japanese version of their website that is targeted to students, but you know, not everyone is acquainted with Japanese, and they want to make sure you know this stuff. Haha. It’s like high school homework where the teacher gives you questions to fill out just to see if you did read it or not.
Again, hopefully this will give you more information on what type of atmosphere AEON is like.