Student Interview

We talked to the father of TK, a 2nd grader in elementary school.

What made you decide to have your son take online English lessons?

We moved back to Japan from the UK when he was 6. I had him go to a language school so he wouldn’t lose his English, but the amount of time an individual gets to speak is limited during group lessons. I felt that the maintenance and improvement of his conversation skills would only go so far there, so I started looking for one on one lessons. However, big English language schools didn’t offer times that worked for us, or didn’t offer many classes for children, or were too expensive. That’s when I found out about the online English courses on Cafetalk.

Does he seem reluctant to use the computer or take lessons online? Are you using a headset or webcam?

He can’t use the computer on his own, but from the beginning he never seemed reluctant about it.

We do use a webcam, but right now we don’t use a headset so that the parent sitting by his side (me) can hear the contents of the lesson.

There are different types of lessons, such as those in which the parents attend the class along with the child, or those in which the parents are simply in the same room as the child takes the lesson. What are the pros and cons of the lessons TK takes?

I sit by his side and listen as he attends the lesson so that both of us can progress in our English studies. When he went to an English language school, all I did was take him there. I was never actually in the classroom and the most I did was maybe help him with his homework. This is one advantage of his current lessons.

Are you flexible about sending requests to several teachers, or do you have one teacher that he goes to every time?

We have one teacher that he goes to every time. Since he’s only a second grader, I thought he might get confused if his teacher changes every time.

As a guardian, how much do you communicate with the teachers?

Before starting the first lesson, we carefully discussed the textbook and the progression of the class.

Since then, we only have to meet for a few minutes after every lesson to discuss the next lesson. The teacher is always responsive to our requests.

Have you ever felt the results of the online lessons in real life?

The group lessons at his English language school were basically using passive approach to learning and there wasn’t much need for him to speak up, but in the one on one lessons, his chances to speak have increased remarkably.

So now, he has the chance to think “I want to greet people like this today” or “I want to try asking this question today” and think it through for himself as he does during class. If he keeps up his interest, I think he will have fun while maintaining and improving his English.