The problem with Business English Schools

There are many Business English Schools in Japan but their methods are all basically the same which is the textbook and CD method. This method may work for someone who has never studied English before and has never taken an English class but what about for the average Japanese person who has to use English for their work? 

Being a beginner and not being very good at something are two very different things

One of the things that all Business English Schools do is they call their lower level students "beginners". Many Japanese also call themselves "English beginners". Beginner means some who begins something.  Between junior high and university, the average Japanese business people has taken at least 9 years of English classes. How can someone who has taken at least 9 or even 6 years of English classes be a beginner? it is said that Language and music are very similar. They are both forms of communication and for musicians they are both a way of expressing ourselves. If someone took 6 or 9 years of piano classes and study and that person decided to go back to piano school, would the piano school view that person in the same that Business English Schools view their students?



You might think you need an English teacher but what you really need is an English Communication Trainer and Coach

The last thing any good piano teacher would do is try to teach piano to a person who has already had 9 years of piano classes! Any good piano teacher would understand that person has a huge amount of existing knowledge and ability to play the piano but some of it has been temporarily forgotten. A good piano teacher's first focus would be on reactivating that student's existing ability, maximizing it and then building on it. Because the first focus would be on reactivating and maximizing existing ability, a good piano teacher wouldn't really be a teacher. They would be more like a trainer and coach.

This is because the purpose of a teacher and the purpose of a trainer or coach is very different. Teachers teach things to people with no preexisting knowledge or ability. Trainers and coaches help people with some preexisting knowledge or ability to become better at it. This is why swimming teachers are for people who don't know how to swim and swimming coaches are for people who can already swim. 

Since every Japanese person who needs English for their work already has some English ability (usually at least 9 years worth) why would any Japanese person who needs English for their work want or the feel the need for an English teacher when they can have an English communication trainer and coach? 



What Business English Schools are really good at

One thing Business English Schools are really good at is promoting the myth that textbook-based teaching is the best way to improve the English language ability of the people they train and that those students must have a textbook. After all, textbook-based English classes are the only thing that most Japanese know.

The people in charge of English training think that their employees who take English classes need a textbook and the students themselves think they need a textbook because a textbook is the only way they know when it comes to English learning.


If textbook-based English teaching that Business English Schools promote is so effective, why are Japanese so poor at English Communication?

As mentioned above, the average person who takes a Business English School class has already had at least 9 years of textbook-based English classes. This amounts to well over a 1000 hours of textbook-based English lessons!  If someone is not fluent or at least almost fluent after studying English for 9 years, why would another 25, 50 or 100 hours of textbook-based English classes from a Business English School result in a big improvement? It won't.

This is because textbooks don't make people good at anything. Textbooks don't make a kid learning how play baseball a good baseball player. Textbooks don't make a beginner guitar player a good guitar player and they definitely don't make someone who can speak some English a good English communicator. The only way to become good at something is to learn by doing. So, the answer to the above question is in the question. The reason why Japanese are so poor at English Communication is that all of their English classes have been textbook based. 


In the Business English School classroom, there is only one person who needs a textbook

And that is the Business English School teacher. What may clients and students of Business English Schools don't realize is that the only qualifications that a teacher needs to work at one of these schools is to be a native speaker with in a university degree and those degrees are almost always unrelated to teaching.

Without a textbook to follow 99% of teachers at Business English Schools would not know what to do because they are not experts at teaching English and they are certainly not experts at Communication Behavior and Manner training which is the only type of training that will give Japanese the ability to communicate effectively in English. But we are.