2 Part Series - Teaching ESL to children in Japan is easy with the right tools!

Part 2

Published in the ESL / EFL JobFinder - 06/15/2004


Here are the key ingredients to remember in order to be successful working with kids...Every activity should have a goal/objective that contains an educational and entertaining element to it.

Time-wasting, meaningless activities are for the weak and lazy. If you do this you are just another fly by night foreigner who will be found out and tossed out.

Touch your kids. Shake their hands, give them high fives, tickle gently them and so on. Kids don't have word power yet and they depend heavily on their feelings to guide them and communicate with others. Playing with them physically will build the rapport which is needed to guide them through your lessons. (Some schools have rules against physical contact but it's mostly for adult students.)

Respect your kids by thanking them in advance for doing activities. Always use "Please", "Thank you", "You're the best", "Good job" and so on.

Praise them every chance you get and build them up honestly.

If you notice some of your activities are bombing during a class drop them, go into your next one (always have one or two back up, sure-fire activities just in case) without missing a beat. Later, figure out why the activities were bombing but don't discard them. Don't ever blame the kids
for your difficulties.

Join ETJ online discussion forum for teachers teaching in Japan. http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=ETJ Here you can ponder with others over the activities you are trying to fine tune and find other related help.

Each activity should be done in a different part of the room. Keep the kids moving!

Of course you should always take courses on teaching kids while you're here and read as many books as you can on the subject.

You can find books on teaching Japanese children English at any online bookstore. The following link has some helpful resources too.


In Japan there are 100-yen shops. Back home they're called dollar shops. Here's where you can get ideas and great material to create killer activities for the little ones. But don't spend too much. You many want to put 2,000 yen away per month for this stuff (2,000 yen is about US$19).

Use a lot of TPR in your classes with kids and adults. TRP stands for "Total Physical Response Teaching." Check out the following links for info on TPR Total Physical Response

Follow my instruction and you will be way ahead of anyone just coming here trying to figure things out alone.

To your ESL teaching success and beyond!

Craig Desorcy

Copyright © 2003, Craig Desorcy


Craig Desorcy is the author of the super teaching in Japan Handbook. He has been in Japan for eight years working as a successful ESL teacher. Now he runs his own school and lives in Chiba, Japan with his wife and daughter.

You can discover more about teaching in Japan and Craig Desorcy at his website:


By Craig Desorcy