【Kiwi Kids】 Mr. Rei Slaton （Narita City, Chiba pref.）
Thanks to the training courses offered by IIEEC and the MAT METHOD, our students are learning and retaining more of the English they learn than ever before. We run an international preschool, teaching English Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 2:00pm. We had been using the methods which had been used in this school for the past 10 years.
After taking the MAT training courses in spring of 2010, we immediately started to test the program in our school. The immediate results we found were these:
Children no longer daydreamed, lost interest or looked bored. They were outright enjoying class time.
Children look happy, have more fun and now often say, “I like English! It’s fun!”
The need to discipline children for not paying attention or being able to answer fell by 90%. They even ask for more homework!
The reasons for all of these sudden and drastic changes?
1．By having the children talk 80% of the time, they no longer have time to daydream or get bored. They have fun. Actions with every verb adds to the fun and deepens the meaning of the words.
2．By having them spend more time talking to each other, they stay focused, interested and excited.
3．By implementing MAT DRILLS, children feel as if they are playing games for most of the class time and even with a class time of 90 minutes for 5 days a week, they enjoy it and stay attentive.
4．By using Living English (native speed, rhythm, intonation, and pronunciation), children are able to converse at a natural speed almost immediately after learning new phrases and expressions. Also these keys make it seem more like a song than a rote drill.
【MAT DRILL in pairs】
Our 2nd year class of 3-5-year-olds were able to learn 102 verb-phrases in present and future tenses (What do you do every day? What will you do tomorrow? Can you? Do you?).
Noun phrases (questions and answers) with: want, have, and like, plus of course being able to identify and use a & an, this & that and these & those, plus the 7 pronouns (I / you / he / she / it / we / they), all in 26 weeks. In the meantime, they also did phonics, writing and reading. They read 12 books in 12 weeks thanks to the MAT METHOD and usage of the wall word charts for the reading, writing and speaking exercises we did along the way. Previous to training with and using The MAT METHOD, our school’s students took considerably longer to learn the same concepts.
Using actions with every verb and verb phrase made a substantial difference in their ability to recall and use the phrases correctly. Even for our Christmas songs and play, we added actions to every line, and this increased their ability to remember the words by leaps and bounds.This method really does stimulate children into thinking more and keeps them excited and in a learning mode, while enjoying it. Basically, they are learning more and faster, and enjoying it more than ever.
Here’s a picture of students taking turns playing teacher!
At playtime, children now would rather play “Teacher Gokko”, doing MAT DRILLS with each other than playing with blocks, puzzles, or toys. I guess they really enjoy the MAT METHOD.
In other weekly classes, I had been using Let’s Go textbooks for many years with no special training for the series, and the results were mediocre, to say the least. After the first day of MAT training, I went back to class with confidence and a better way of teaching. The results here were immediate and obvious too. Students retained more and didn’t have trouble remembering the difficult vocabulary words, which classes had trouble with every year in the past. The MAT METHOD also shows how to break down compound / complex sentences into phrases and teach them one part at a time, then put them together, e.g., There’s a fox/cat/dog + on/in/by the box.
I’ve attended MAT training twice with our other teachers. The first time was for the certificate and to learn a new method. The second time we were able to get reinforcement and it helped us realize what we hadn’t implemented yet (there is so much content!). This spring we’ll also take the 2-day seminar, which will be review and include some topics not already covered in the teacher Training Certificate program, of which I am most interested in MAT Phonics.
The MAT METHOD has changed our school completely.
Thanks to MAT, we’ve gotten children to learn about twice as much in half the time and more importantly, retain what they’ve learned. They speak more fluently and faster than in previous years. We are happy we switched to the MAT METHOD for our school. Thank you, Ritsuko-san and the staff of IIEEC for making our school a success through your MAT METHOD.