As I wanted to teach English in Japan, I decided to take this course. I had 2 reasons for doing so
- it would be unprofessional and irresponsible to teach English without an education in how to do so. I've met quite a few people who've just jumped in to teaching without any background and the result is often dismal.
- in a foreign country it's nice to have people who can help you if something goes wrong - and the course meant a month of getting to know other people who teach English, which in Japan is quite important as knowing the right people can change a lot.
On both counts my choice was justified. The course taught me quite a bit about how to be an efficient teacher and what methods are good etc. I expected a lot of it to be about grammar, but it wasn't. The basics of grammar were explained and that was about it, as the emphasis is on communicative language teaching. Another nice thing about the lessons is that they are peppered with references to teaching Japanese people. So the course will also prepare you for the most common problems and errors of Japanese students.
Lessons start at 8am and last till around 4pm with breaks every hour or so. I didn't find them hard, but there was quite a bit to learn. The class size varies (generally around 5 people) but in my case I was alone, as the other students canceled at the last minute.
Apart from the course lessons, you also have to teach some practice lesson in a real classroom. The goal is to teach at least 2 1-on-1 lessons, a lesson in a nursery school, primary school and a university class. So you can see what lessons of various sizes and age groups are like. Of course the school lessons might not happen if the school cancels (I didn't have the primary school lesson). the nice thing about the practical lessons is that you have them with real, unprepared students. The 1-on-1 lessons can be with somebody you know, but if you can't find anyone, Larry and Dave have a whole lot of contacts who want free English lessons.
Dave and Larry are really nice people who are willing to help if you need it. While they can't get you a job after the course, they give a lot of information on how to set about doing it. From what I understand, nearly all of the people that finished the course and wanted a job have got one. Even those who weren't exactly the most promising. The certificate is something employers look for. One thing to mention here - to get a work visa in Japan you need to have a college degree or 12 years of education in English. The degree can be in anything, as long as the language you studied it in was English. Just as a caution to those native speakers whose education wasn't in English.