BE studio: 40+ years, 1700+ schools, 2000+ teachers

Benesse BE studio


Benesse BE studio provides exciting English learning programs for children. We currently operate over 1700 schools across Japan, employing 2,000+ teachers, and are looking to expand further. Our student demographic exemplifies BE studio's unique positioning, starting as early as 9 months of age, with having the core majority of students being under 6. BE studio teachers enjoy having fun in the lessons just as much as the students, whilst also enjoying the rewarding moments where students continue to show progress.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching with BE Studio

I enjoyed working with BE Studio, teaching young children and meeting people from all over the world. Your experience depends on where you are placed and who your lesson partner is and luckily, I ended up with a fantastic lesson partner in a school close to my house. Training was very thorough and we were given the opportunity to shadow teachers and ask questions before teaching on our own. Benesse BE Studio also offered workshops and monthly training to brush up on skills, meet other teachers, and hear about each other's experiences. Overall, it was a great experience and a wonderful place to work.

What would you improve about this program?
Communication b/w English and Japanese staff at HQ
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Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching with benesse

Be studio is a really big organization, so what your experience is like is going to be determined largely on where you end up. All I can say is that the job itself is really enjoyable. A lot of it is teaching small kids, which, once you build some rapport and get the hang of it, is really fun. One of the best things I can say about this company is how well organized it is. You really feel taken care of: health care, daily minutiae, lesson plans, scheduling, training, workshops, you name it. If you're looking to work in an eikaiwa, this definitely isn't a bad choice to say the least.

What would you improve about this program?
It's tough to say. More opportunities to socialize with coworkers?
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

BE Studio part timer

I worked part time at BE Studio: 2 day shifts a week, teaching children from 9 months to 10 years old. I had a great experience there, I was given a good balance of time to prepare for my lessons as well as a good range of materials for my lessons. The plaza staff I worked alongside were always enthusiastic and eager to help, aiding with some preparation, advice about students and providing in lesson support for the younger ages.

What I really benefited from were the regular (optional) training sessions where we could select a topic (e.g. "classroom management" / "playgroup") and attend a group session where we discussed and shared ideas/solutions to issues we had in class... this is where I got so much practical advice I could actually use in class, it was so helpful.

I was initially quite worried about teaching such young age groups but ended up finding it really fun, the advice and support from plaza staff and other teachers really helped.

Overall, a really great experience


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Alex Barnes

Job Title
Quality/Training Supervisor
Alex Barnes has been in the English education industry in Japan since 2011. He started out by teaching both kids and adults, moving to corporate English instruction, then moving into training for new teachers.

He now oversees training, quality assurance, and employee care for all foreign instructors at Benesse BE studio, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. He and his team of about 10-12 trainers and mentors take care of foreign instructors in the greater Tokyo area, Osaka, Nagoya, and other locations around the country.
Alex Barnes

What is your favorite travel memory?

Personally, I prefer traveling to places where I have no expectations. Kyoto is a fabulous city, but after a while, I wanted to experience a place a little less known. I once went to a place called Sado Island, northeast of the main island of Japan. I didn't know anything about it before I went, just that it had a weird shape, but it was by far the best trip I've had.

It had tons of history, traditional buildings and cultural festivals dating back to the 6th or 7th centuries. The seafood was amazing, and the people were incredibly friendly. When I couldn't find a place to eat lunch, this little old grandma closed up her shop and fed me, then drove me around the island, showing me famous temples and historic spots.

You can find good food, history, and hospitality all over Japan, but Sado Island topped it for me.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

This is my first experience in management, so the jump from teaching and training was pretty big. However, I've realized over time that a lot of the things that I love about teaching can be applied to the job. For the same reason, that employee training appealed to me because of its similarities with teaching, managing a team has often felt like teaching, but more focused on teaching employee development rather than English skills.

My attitude has also changed in terms of working with other departments. Most of my work before was more focused on what's right in front of me. Now I have the responsibility of caring for teachers all over the country, so I've come to appreciate how working with other departments can help to meet the needs of our teachers.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Our instructors are employees rather than students, but the stories I like to hear best are from those who have continued their careers in education back home. I've talked to several who, after teaching children here in Japan, have gone back to teach in public schools or pursue a doctorate in education. I must admit that I feel a guilty pleasure when they tell me that they miss teaching young kids in Japan, but I'm proud that their experience with us can be a step towards those goals.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Our company only operates in Japan, so I can only speak to locations in Japan. However, I would choose one of our school locations in the greater Tokyo area, but somewhere more on the edge of Tokyo or surrounding prefectures.

The good thing about Tokyo is that it has all the food, museums, and nightlife you could want; the bad news is that it's expensive for day-to-day expenses. Living right in central Tokyo can get pricey, so being more in a suburban area, while having access to the entertainment that central Tokyo provides, would be the most ideal.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

There are plenty of teaching programs in Japan. However, what makes Benesse BE studio so special is that we focus on young learners, and many of our students are in the 3- to 6-year-old age range. We often look for teachers that not only have an interest in working in Japan but also love working with young children.

Our trainers and mentors care about helping our teachers improve their skills, but they're also personally invested in the teachers' concerns. It's not always easy to live and work in another country, so when our team visit a school and give feedback about their lessons, they often make sure to leave time to talk about how they're doing and provide emotional support as well.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think recruiting and developing staff that cares about customers is the key, whether the customers are students, parents of students, or anyone else. It's easy to go through the motions with teaching overseas, blindly following a lesson plan or activity without putting much thought into it. But we try to impress on our staff the importance of really knowing your students and making a personal connection.

The same can be said for employees. Committing to treating employees as cherished individuals, not just as someone filling a position, clearly pays off long term. It's not always easy to remember, but that's the kind of attitude I try to bring to work every day.