Skip to content

Meet the Teachers  ◆Linnies English School Ms. Samantha Gross 

◆Linnies English School◆   Ms. Samantha Gross  (Utsunomiya, Tochigi)

Like many other foreigners living in Japan, people often ask my why I came. First and foremost because I love Japan. I love the language, culture, and people. But more importantly because I want to be a great English teacher to Japanese people. As of this year I’ve just started teaching my sixth year of English here in Japan. I have a bachelor of arts in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) from Liberty University, and my goal personal goal is to someday attend Temple University in Tokyo to get an MA in TESOL.

And I’m currently living my dream job in Utsunomiya. Linnies English School is a collection of English Teaching professionals from all walks of life. We have teachers from many different countries who work together. Most specifically my employer is a teaching professional with many years of teaching experience in Japan, who sincerely cares about the education of the students, and the quality of the teaching that takes place. That being said, we’re still a very small school working by trial and error.

One day last year my employer was watching my classroom. As she observed how I was interacting with the children, she noticed that the teaching style that I was already using was similar to the MAT Method. My students were asking and answering question to each other, and there were reinforcement activities and games, but communication and living English were lacking from my classroom. So my employer asked me if I had ever heard of the “MAT” method, and suggested that I attend the seminars.

At first I was a little reluctant. After having “My name is____.” “I’m _____ years old.”, and “I live in Utsunomiya” as the best results from my lessons, I was tired and frustrated. I didn’t believe that communicative English could be taught once a week for only fifty minutes, but I was open to trying something new.

So I attended the seminars, and because I was paying money for it, you better believe I was applying what we were learning in the seminars to my own lessons. Soon after making just a few changes, I noticed a difference in my students. First, I was talking less, and they were talking more. We were moving from “repeat after me” to “use it”. Most importantly, though, the students were beginning to enjoy the class, I was having fewer behavior problems, and my students were having fun.

Here are some pictures of how my classroom has changed.

写真1.jpg 1. Students talk more:
With the six-second drills my students NEVER repeat what I say. I simply introduce the new material, and then they practice in a more natural way that they enjoy. They also get maximized speaking time, and we’re too busy to focus on anything else. Also by using gestures while practicing, my students activate both sides of their brain, which means that they retain more information!

2. Living English:写真2.jpg

The lessons are more contextualized to help students understand what we are studying. Here we are studying prepositions of location from Everybody Up 3. The students can visualize what I’m talking about, and more easily comprehend the lesson. Our target is : “Where’s the library?” “It’s next to/ across from/in between the _____.”

Meet the Teacher Apr2014.jpgHere we are using classroom English to make a circle in order to orderly and quickly transition into a new activity.

Meet the Teacher Apr20141.jpg3. Improved reading comprehension:

With the new language already acquired my students are ready to read! The level isn’t related to their reading ability. Here I have a level 1 class reading “What’s this? It’s a wastebasket.” with confidence.

Below are students in level three practicing locations. During this activity one of my students looked at me, and said, “Teacher, this is fun.”Meet the Teacher Apr20142.jpg

4. Student to student communication.
The role play is the most important aspect of the MAT method. Without it the entire method is meaningless. I have yet to master this aspect of the method because I implemented it during the middle of the school year, but when I step back, and let the students talk to each other they have fun, and they build confidence. More importantly I see them speaking English.Meet the Teacher Apr20143.jpg

Here the students are having fun practicing emotions while asking, “What’s this?

Here the students are practicing asking each other locations without my assistance!Meet the Teacher Apr20144.jpg

I have yet to master the MAT method, but I’m looking forward to starting this year with it. It has helped me to enjoy my job, and my students to enjoy English. We will most certainly be ready for the 2020 olympics, and MAT will be leading the way.