KOJEN English Language School - Teach English in Taiwan
60% Rating
(11 Reviews)

KOJEN English Language School - Teach English in Taiwan

We believe in excellence in education above all at Kojen. Our philosophy has created an environment where teachers are thoroughly trained, with an ongoing network of support. They are given the freedom and opportunity to continually reinvent their teaching style so our students will be successful in studying contemporary English. If our students are successful in expanding their horizons, they will come back for repeated levels, bringing their friends with them. We are not a top-down company; what our students and teachers say or do counts in a very real way. We are working hard at building a supportive and creative environment for everyone who comes through our doors - students, teachers, and staff alike.

We would like our teachers to have had at least 6 months of classroom teaching experience, preferably teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language in classes with at least 10 students in the class.

Student-Centered Classes Kojen believes that students learn a language by using it. In our classes, students speak to each other during every class. Our teachers don't lecture. Rather, they create fun and interesting games, activities, discussions, and role-plays to insure that the students are always practicing their English. Our Highly Qualified and Dedicated Teaching Staff All of our teachers have university degrees and many have Master's degrees. All our teachers are legal resident-visa holders. Our foreign teachers mostly come from the United States and Canada, England, and Australia, but we also have many teachers from other native English-speaking countries, giving our students the opportunity to listen to and learn from many different accents. Teacher Training Academic training is not enough. All Kojen teachers must first observe classes, and take training workshops, before they start teaching. Our teachers all go through training before they ever meet with students. Experienced teachers observe other teachers' classes so that they learn new ideas and share ideas. Kojen also gives workshops on a regular basis for our teachers to improve teaching skills. Before every class, there are always teacher trainers on duty to assist in class preparation. The Finest English Teaching Library in Taiwan Kojen teachers have created over 10,000 handouts and activities. They are categorized by both level and topic for easy access. All of these materials were created for students in Taiwan. Where other schools use canned materials that may have been created in America or other countries (with little application to the real-life needs of students in Taiwan), Kojen materials are created with a sensitive focus on the needs of the Taiwanese student. Our library of materials is expanding daily because our teachers are always creating new materials that are classroom tested and then added to our files. Our Cooperative Conversational Method At Kojen, our emphasis is on function. We focus on getting students to successfully participate in everyday English conversations. By creating real-life dialogues that students are likely to have, and then by having the students practice and then expand these dialogues, we prepare our students for conversations that they will have when speaking English. Grammar is taught too, but only in order to help students make their meaning clear. We don't believe that rote repetition of grammar patterns will help our students excel at English without any connection to a real-life conversation.
Locations
Asia » Taiwan » Taipei
Asia » Taiwan
Length
1 Year+
Salary / Benefits
NT $580-$590/hr.

As you gain experience, there are incremental raises based on performance, sum of hours taught, and returning student rates.

Legal Status with Resident Visas and Work Permits. Health Insurance. One month paid vacation.
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Benefits
    55%
  • Support
    50%
  • Fun
    64%
  • Facilities
    54%
  • Safety
    86%

Program Reviews (11)

Default avatar
EJ
Male
40 years old
Taipei, Taiwan

Not worth it.

2/10

The pay per hour is the lowest in Taiwan. And if living in Taipei city it's even worse because the cost of living is much higher then the rest of Taiwan and there are also very few bonuses or incentives to do a good job. The managing staff's English level is very poor. It is very hard for them to explain exactly what they want your lesson plans and evaluation reports to be like, but they are very good at showing you an example of another teacher's report and say "do like this". I've had over 10 years teaching experience in Taiwan and this is easily the worst place I've worked at.

Default avatar
Gerald
Male
28 years old
Taipei

Avoid teaching at Kojen like the plague!

1/10

I came to Kojen signing a 15 hour per week contract and all they gave me was 12 hours per week and after 4 months they still refused to honour the contract. Expect to do hours of unpaid work and training for these bastards and treated like crap on very little money to keep your head above water. I advise all teachers coming to Taiwan to avoid Kojen.

Default avatar
Michelle
Female
32 years old
Taipei, Taiwan
Texas State University

It completely depends on your Academic Director (the boss)

5/10

At first I thought, yeah this place is okay. They picked us up from the airport. They housed us for free for the first week. Luisa, the head recruiter, was kind and answered our questions. The main office was great with helping each step of the way. However, everything changed.

I came to Taipei with my boyfriend to teach. We were sent to different branches; thus, our experiences were COMPLETELY different. His AD had been there for years. Mine had been in her position for a few months. He had a thorough orientation. I had a packet and a brief (15 minute) meeting. Granted, I did observe many classes, but I just wanted to teach! Finally, I took over classes. My AD was a nice woman, but she didn't know how to do her job. Don't expect anything to be handed to you. You want more hours? Fight for them. You've finally reached the required number of hours, and you think it's time for your raise? Keep hassling them. During my first year, I made A LOT of handouts and spent too much time prepping for classes (and not getting paid for any of it!). My colleagues were great, and I could always count on them to help me out when I knew my AD wouldn't have a clue. Also, the TT (teacher trainer) and my school's librarian made my life bearable. Without them, I probably would have cried every day.

Then came the second year. My incompetent director left, and an (incredibly) even more incompetent one came in. Seriously, I don't know where this guy came from. He's from America, but his background is completely shady. He's only been teaching for five years, and yet he's already made it to AD. How is this possible? I saw him, not once, but twice screw departing foreign teachers on their visas. One even had to leave his very last class early to make a same-day visa run (although the AD knew he wasn't planning on leaving for another two weeks) or be threatened with fines. He makes inappropriate comments about people's backgrounds and families. He inappropriately touches teachers and makes creepy comments. He struts around like he thinks he's some amazing gift for us to behold. But he's lazy. He colors and does crafts, but he never does any actual work. For example, an AD is supposed to arrange subs when a teacher takes a vacation. But does he do this? Of course not. He gives us a list of other teachers WE need to ask to sub (which is meaningless because most of the teachers are already teaching at those times). He has no clue who is teaching what at what time. And did I mention the behavior that would have a boss fired within a fortnight at any company in the US? This man is worse than a joke. He is possibly the worst decision Kojen has ever made. And trust me, they've made plenty of other terrible decisions.

Kojen will try to cheat you of your pay. Typically not your regular pay, but quite possibly "bonuses" or "return rates." The in-house made materials are terrible, full of spelling and grammar mistakes, and blatantly infringe on copyright (Disney and Cartoon Network might be glad to know this). The company has had a string of lawsuits in Taiwan for its bad business practices. You work many more hours than you are scheduled, but you won't get paid for them. And if you get a bad AD, you will straight up suffer. Would I recommend them? Sure, in the same way I would recommend giving yourself a few dozen paper cuts, squirting some lemon juice on them, dousing them in Tabasco, then adding a dash of salt just for the seasoning. Then repeat every day. (Okay, not Sundays. Even here, you get one day off. Hope you enjoy it!)

Default avatar
Peter
Male
42 years old
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Griffith University

I sincerely hope that Kojen has improved since I taught there

4/10

I worked at Kojen 12 years ago, in Kaohsiung, and worked for one year. Overall I was quite disappointed with my experiences while teaching there. For me, the list of cons is endless. I hope that over the past 12 years that they have made improvements.

Soon after commencing, I realized that they made what I called "Kojen promises" - promises that they never intended to keep, or at least their intention regarding a promise was different to what I (or a reasonable person from a western background) would assume it to mean. For example, they promised me that upon arriving that they would assist me (for one week) to find accommodation for my stay in Kaohsiung. I understood that that meant that someone would help me see a few (3 or 4?) reasonable places where I could rent a room, so that I could choose a suitable one. This sounded reasonable as I could not speak any Chinese upon arrival. However their interpretation of making that promise was to pay for my stay in a very cheap hotel for one week, and that I was to find a place entirely myself. I didn't even know how to find such a place at the time. It was particularly challenging as I arrived just before Christmas - a time that almost no one was advertising.

There were plenty of other "Kojen promises". Like that they would provide all the training I would need to commence and ongoing training and support from a teacher-trainer (an experienced teacher with more than 1 year of teaching experience at Kojen). Again very different interpretations of what that meant. There was no teacher trainer at my school when I arrived (the previous one quit just before I arrived because he was completely frustrated by how the school was managed) and there wasn't a new one for 2 months. In fact, the new one didn't want that role - in renewing his contract - he requested that he would not be a teacher trainer, and they promised him that he wouldn't be if he didn't want to. But once he signed the contract, and the previous trainer left, the role was imposed upon him.

Before I left my home country I signed a contract (in English) regarding my work there. It was a one page contract - easy to read. In my telephone interview, I was asked if I had read and understood the contract, and they were happy to employ me. However, when I was there and about to commence teaching, a Taiwanese manager presented me with a new contract - written entirely in Chinese, with no English translation. I was asked to sign it immediately. He was surprised and somewhat offended when I said that I wanted an translation in English. (Who signs a contract written entirely in a foreign language without any translation?). I eventually got a different manager (Canadian) who could read a lot of Chinese to explain what it said and verbally confirm that the content was mostly straightforward and consistent with my original contract that I had signed.

When I started, a new Taiwanese manager had been appointed. He was the son of the school's owner, had recently got his MBA from a university in America, and thought that he had "great new ways" to train teachers based upon his theoretical ideas. And guess what? Because I had just started, he decided to commence his "untried training ideas" with me. His ideas were stupid. I tried many of his ideas and EVERY time they were counterproductive. He blamed me for them not working. Over time, he recommended his ideas to other teachers - experienced and new teachers - and they all recognized that his ideas were ridiculous. The solution was that I instead talked with other teachers (foreign and Chinese) and we shared ideas that actually did work.

I could go on and on about my disappointments with Kojen.

However, I should also mention that despite all the negatives, I achieved my personal goal that I wanted to achieve from my teaching experience there. And oddly enough, despite all of the rubbish that I had to deal with at Kojen - that experience helped me so much to get to where I am today. I went to Taiwan to teach English BECAUSE I wanted to learn how to teach and to be good at teaching. After 8 months of teaching there I had a reputation as being one of the best teachers there. I invested more time than any other teacher to learn how to teach, to analyze what techniques worked and why a technique didn't work. I learned through a lot of trial and error. Although I would have appreciated a lot more training and support at the beginning, I discovered that the Kojen model for teaching worked - I just had to learn a lot about classroom management, dealing with problem students etc, to use the model effectively. When you have dealt with everything that could go wrong, and the experience of immediately resolving it - through trial and error and learning from your mistakes - that confidence, that experience shows - to your students and other teachers.

Now 12 years later, I teach at a university. I have lectured class sizes of more than 300 students. I have a reputation as being one of the best teachers at my university. My experience in teaching English 12 years ago, and the confidence I got from that experience, and ideas that I discovered about how I believe that teaching should be done - and then implementing those ideas - has led to my success now. I attribute 90% of my teaching success to the lessons (good and bad) that I retained from my teaching experience in Taiwan.

Default avatar
Stallion
Male
42 years old
Los Angeles, California
Other

Taipei Taiwan Downtown Location

8/10

Hi,

For my first experience teaching abroad this was great. My friends and I arrived at the airport in Taipei and Kojen had a Mercedes sedan ready to pick us up. It was early in the morning so i was impressed that they were on time.

We used ReachToTeachRecruiting.com to gain placement with Kojen and their staff was at the Kojen apartments ready to meet us and make sure we got into our new digs safe and sound.

Kojen's apartments were a 5 minute walk from the school I taught at. I went in not knowing what to expect and threw myself into the process. Some of my western ideals were warmly welcomed while others were quickly dismissed.

The teaching year round teaching staff there was welcoming. I imagined they may not be considering the amount of teachers that come through the overseas teaching process. It was possible that the teachers who were from Taipei and taught year after year would be burnt out on welcoming and saying goodbye to new teachers... That wasn't the case! I was there for just over a years time and each teacher was welcomed heartily.

All in all, what I put in, I got out. The bond with the children there is irreplaceable as an experience in my life. I was able to experience the age old Taiwanese culture in so many ways. Kojen was a healthy partner in providing the platform for an overall incredible Taiwan teaching and living experience.

Default avatar
jrb
Female
42 years old
San Francisco
Binghamton University

Overall a good experience but read the fine print

8/10

First, let me say I agree with the sentiment of other reviewers -- your experience is very much what you make of it, but it also varies considerably from school to school across the Kojen system. I had friends at other Kojen schools who were pretty unhappy for varying reasons (remote school location, too few hours, not enough foreign teachers/social life, difficult directors). From that perspective I guess I got lucky; I was placed at one of the bigger schools in Taipei, which was well located, in a more affluent part of the city. There was a constant flow of students year-round, which meant more hours and better pay. My director, Chinese teachers and secretaries were also pretty reasonable and I even developed a close working relationship with some of them. Keep in mind however, you have very little control over which school you are placed at, as the Kojen head office assigns you to one based on school needs.

Kojen doesn't do a lot (and by a lot I mean any) hand-holding. In my experience, the new teacher orientation and "teacher-trainers" who were supposed to help you plan your lessons provided minimal guidance at best. The best advice to cope with this is to just be confident and flexible and recognize that unless you have teaching experience, you're probably going to be out of your element and make mistakes for quite some time before finding your groove. On the plus side, Kojen teaching materials and lessons are incredibly formulaic (consistent with the Taiwanese style of rote repetition). Once you get the hang of them, you could do the lessons in your sleep. On the flip side, this also meant that there wasn't a tremendous opportunity to be creative in your lesson planning -- if you're looking for more creative, Western style teaching methods (and they do exist in Taiwan) you'll likely be frustrated working for Kojen (and any big name cram schools).

Pay and hours are also important points. And, you should know what you're getting into before signing a contract. I can't speak for the kindergartens, but if you work for a Kojen buxiban, you should be prepared for an erratic schedule year-long, including Saturdays. My contract stipulated that I was required to be available to teach up to 21 hours/week in the summer, but that they were entitled to give me as few as 13 hours/week and that you are not allowed to work for another school while under contract. For the first three months of my contract I was only offered 16 hours/week, which was not enough to comfortably live on in Taipei at $580NT/hour. It was not until about four months in that I started picking up more hours. It should be noted that teaching in Kojen is reward-based, which means if your director likes you, you do a good job and keep the parents happy, you will likely be awarded more hours based on merit -- great news if you're looking to make more money. The flip side is that you have to take the classes they offer you, without much room for negotiation. If the hours don't coincide with your schedule and you turn them down, you will likely find yourself without an option the next time.

I don't have much first-hand evidence, but I was told that pay at Kojen was notably lower than many other buxibans, and importantly some of the rates between adult and children's classes differed. They do offer "bonuses", based on student completion and rate of return. However, it was a gray area about how they calculate the bonuses and how often you receive them. Bottom line: you shouldn't count on them in your monthly wages.

Though this review may be tinged with cynicism, my experience overall in the fifteen months I worked at Kojen was exhilarating. At the end of the day, it really is about connecting with and sharing your language with kids. I hope I have shed light on some of the questions and challenges I personally faced during my experience, to help you make a more informed decision on yours.

Best of luck and have an amazing year!

Jess

Default avatar
itiswhatitis
Male
42 years old
Taiwan
Other

To each his/her own

7/10

Teaching at Kojen is...well, it's an experience. I can only speak on my experience teaching at two locations, all levels from preschool to adults. Yes, they do have a large selection of teaching books and some supplies, though the toys/things to use in the classroom tend to be old and somewhat beat up, some of the books have outdated topics/concepts, and the books have both British and North American English, which may be useful for the students if they'll interact w/a variety of native English speakers, but it sure creates confusion for them while learning. The Taiwanese co-teachers are generally friendly and helpful, though there's a "you and us" attitude/wall that separates most of the teachers. The secretaries and directors, if you're lucky enough to have good ones, will be helpful and kind...if not, there will be major communication (and I don't mean language) and help problems. Contrary to what the site info says, there's no paid vacation, and they seem more interested in pushing the students through the classes, keeping a steady flow of income, and saving face with the parents, rather than focusing on the students' actual English education and enjoyment, which is a shame. Myself, I enjoy teaching the kids (as do my native speaking co-workers), and most of them are a pleasure to teach. I go out of my way to ensure that they have a good grasp of the English they're being taught, as well as introducing them to western ideas and attitudes (the positive aspects) to broaden their perspective of people and the world in which they live. I make sure the classroom environment is upbeat and friendly, and we always have time to laugh and take things a little less seriously than the standard Taiwanese way of "this is the question, I'll spoon feed you the answer, you don't have to think and use your brain, simply memorize it, regurgitate it, and don't question me." Overall, I'd have to say, your experience at this company is going to depend on your director, the other native speaking teachers, and your Taiwanese co-teachers; I know the students will be fun to teach :)

Default avatar
Andy
Male
24 years old
San Rafael, California
University of California- Santa Barbara

Kojen

7/10

I had an awesome time but it was mostly because of the great friends and new experiences. Kojen at times can be very difficult to work for because of lack of communication and flexibilty. New teachers, me included, were offered very few and awkward hours like one 2 hour Saturday class that made it hard to travel. After about five months of surviving my hours gradually increased.

I loved my time in Taiwan but kojen didnt make it easy.

Default avatar
Annanaqu
Female
32 years old
NYC
Binghamton University

Kojen Preschool

9/10

Kojen is one of the best reputation-ed, largest charter schools in Taiwan, they attempt to give you resources and the space to create your own lesson plans. They're not super hands on, which can be nerve racking at first, but then.. its a great thing.

Good luck!

Default avatar
Annie
Female
32 years old
Washington, DC
Randolph-Macon College

Experience at Kojen

5/10

My overall experience at Kojen was pretty good. The children were my favorite part of the experience. They were always very well behaved and very smart. It did feel like somewhat of a factory though - just pushing students through to the next level. Sometimes I wondered if they were really learning or simply memorizing sentences. But that seemed to be Kojen's style. Facilities were very basic, as were teaching supplies, but it was enough to get by. The rest of the staff was fairly friendly and always willing to help me with questions I had about living in Taiwan, but communications about specific class issues were sometimes few and far between. For example, I had no teaching experience before I arrived and only received one small piece of feedback in a whole year (which was 'when students are answering questions and speak too quietly, don't go over to them, make them speak up'). That was it - the only teaching advice I received the whole year. But teaching, for me, was a means to experiencing a year abroad. In that way, Kojen gave me exactly what I was expecting when I arrived. Teaching in the evenings (5-9 pm weekdays and Saturday mornings)gave me plenty of time to explore Taiwan with friends and get involved in the community (yoga and volunteering in the mornings/afternoons). The wage allowed for a very comfortable lifestyle as well (while saving some too).

Default avatar
ladybasket
Female
42 years old
Saint Louis, MO
Université de Sherbrooke

Kojen English School

10/10

The school is located in Kaoshiung, which is an amazing place to be. I loved the nature, the people and the food. Kojen has more than one school in the city and I had the chance to teach at 3 of them. The other teachers, ex-pat or Taiwanese were fun to be around and very helpful to newbies. I did not have any problems with my director and we had a good relationship. If you do what is asked of you, they will be help you accomplish what you want and help you in any way possible. I had a blast and would go back if I could.

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We believe in excellence in education above all at Kojen. Our philosophy has created an environment where teachers are thoroughly trained, with an ongoing network of support. They are given the freedom and opportunity to continually reinvent their teaching style so our students will be

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