Q: Can my child or I learn English in an English only environment?
A: We don`t outlaw Japanese in the classroom at Fantastic English, but we do heavily rely on English to teach English. “Learn to speak, speak to learn” is our motto. The first things we teach are words, phrases and sentences used in the classroom. Not just general conversation and instructions like “take out your book,” but more importantly “I understand,” “I don`t understand”, “I don’t know,” “I did it!” and others. In using those and other phrases, as well as listening to the instructor using English, you begin to develop the skills you will need to understand and use English in your life. Of course the instructor`s English is simpler for newer students and gets more complicated over time as the student learns more English. Hearing the English you have learned reinforces it. Students are expected to use the English they have learned so they will retain it and grow confident with it.
While teaching a foreign language using the students` native language may provide a short term sense of security, the long term confidence of actually knowing and understanding the new language can not be reached. It is like teaching someone to play basketball using a textbook. They can only learn about it, not develop their own skill. As someone who has studied Spanish, Chinese and Japanese over my lifetime I can tell you, there is nothing that feels quite as good as the realization that you have gone though an hour lesson in another language and you actually knew what was going on. That confidence makes you want to learn more, which gives you more confidence which…, well you get the picture.
Q: How can I help my child, or myself learn English so they do better in their tests?
A: Practicing at home, outside of the lesson, is key to becoming good at any skill. And English is a skill more so than a school subject. If one studies to pass a test, they may do ok, but they will forget what they have learned as easily as they will forget historical or geographical facts. If someone practices English like a skill, then even if they take time away from the language, when they go back, those skills will still be there. So the best way for any student to do well on an English test is to become a good English speaker. In fact, as we get older, opportunities where English can help us in our lives will focus more and more on spoken English, not writing ability or test passing ability.
Q: How much instruction will my child get in a Fantastic English class setting?
A: Of course private lessons give one on one instruction, but that can be intimidating for young kids. We think two things are important for us to be able to give highest quality instruction to our students in our younger classes. First, we limit our class size to six students. That gives our students a good balance of speaking and listening time during the class. More students means less speaking.
Secondly, while we strongly encourage joking (in English) and laughing during our lessons so the students are relaxed and enjoying their lessons, bad behavior is never tolerated as it disrupts the lessons and makes it impossible for students who are behaving themselves to learn effectively. Although, the kids we have taught have understood that learning requires some limits and have been very respectful of the rules. In that sense, we have been lucky.
Adult courses / Private lessons
Q: How do I schedule and pay for private – online lessons.
A: 1) Please request the number of lessons, dates, and times you would like, before the 25th of the previous month. Once a schedule is set, you will be required to pay before the 1st of the month to receive your month`s lessons.
For example = E,mail sent April 24th – “For May 2014, I would like 8 lessons: Tuesdays (6th, 13th, 20th, 27th) and 8:30 pm, at Fridays (9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th) at 8:30 pm.”
Q: What happens if I have to cancel a lesson?
A: 1) More than 24 hours notice: Rescheduling a lesson is not a problem. Just e-mail or call and we will reschedule your lesson for a time that is convenient for you and your teacher. For example – If your lesson is 5pm on Saturday, and you call before 5 on Friday, we will reschedule at no fee.
2) Less than 24 hour notice: Cancellation will require you to pay for the lesson. A full lesson fee will be charged for cancellations less than 24 hours before the scheduled lesson time. For example – If your lesson is at 5pm on Saturday and you call after 5 on Friday, there will be a fee. If the teacher can schedule a make up lesson at a convenient time during the next week, they will.
If work, the weather, sickness or some other outside factor makes it impossible for you to take your lesson, or if you just want to take a “well” day and go do something fun, we still have to think about our teachers who have set aside that time for your lesson.
*If you get into an accident and are in the hospital, or get news of a death in the immediate family or something traumatic like that, let us know. We certainly do not want to make an already stressful situation more stressful.
Q: What happens if a teacher has to cancel a lesson?
A: 1) If a teacher cannot teach a lesson, due to illness or emergency, they will notify the student as soon as possible and arrange a make up lesson time that is convenient for the student and teacher.
2) If a teacher misses a lesson, without notifying the student, the student`s next lesson will be at half cost.
posted and effective as of February 28th, 2014.