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Meet the Teachers “Noda Family”

[private kindergarten, elementary, junior high and high school teacher]
Mr. Lucas Bohaty  (Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi-ken)

Noda Family

CIMG0470b.JPGHello my fellow teachers!! It’s nice to meet you all! I’ve been a teacher in Japan for over 12 years and have taught all levels and ages of students. I started off teaching for NOVA English conversation school and worked my way up to block trainer and NOVA Kids trainer for the Chugoku area before coming to Noda Junior and Senior High School in Yamaguchi City six years ago. When I came to Noda, the principal told me that because of my experience as a kids teacher he thought it was a waste not to give me the opportunity to continue teaching young children. At that time Noda had a kindergarten with over 200 children and asked me to go into the classroom there once or twice a week to teach lessons. During this first year my principal came up with an idea that he called “Noda Family.”

What is Noda Family?

Noda Family is what he calls all the students who attend our schools. At that time it included the kindergarten, junior high and high school. The problem was that there was no elementary school to keep the family together. Many of our kindergarten students would graduate, attend their local elementary schools and then go on to their local junior high schools, not Noda. So he came up with the idea of creating an elementary English program to try to keep the family together… And so Noda Gakuen’s Junior English program was born!

What is Junior English?

CIMG0465.JPGのサムネール画像Junior English is an English conversation school that teaches elementary students from all over Yamaguchi and the surrounding cities. We started the program with the idea of keeping some of the Noda Kindergarten graduates in the Noda Family, but had no idea that the program would grow so quickly. In our fifth year of the program we have grown to be the biggest elementary English school in the city and one of the biggest if not the biggest in the prefecture. With over 230 students we have exceeded our own expectations and the school continues to grow every year. Of the original 30 Noda Kindergarten students who joined during the first year, 24 are still attending as fifth graders this year.

How Are the Lessons Taught?

CIMG0466.JPGのサムネール画像Junior English consists of 3 age groups of students (1st-2nd graders, 3rd-4th graders, 5th-6th graders) split into different levels of ability (Basic, Standard, Advanced, Advanced II, Advanced III). We currently have 20 classes consisting of up to 16 students each. The curriculum is different for every age group and ability level. Each class has one native English teacher and one Japanese teacher who teach the lessons using different teaching methods. The one teaching method that is most used in all of the lessons is the MAT method! I first heard of the MAT method about five years ago while attending an Oxford University Press Japan sponsored event where Ritsuko Nakata was the key speaker. Being more intrigued and wanting to learn more about this teaching style I and one of my colleagues attended the IIEEC Teacher’s Training event sponsored by Oxford in Tokyo. It was there that I first spoke to Ritsuko and realized that her MAT method is excellent way to get the most of my students. Since then I have implemented parts of the MAT method into our lessons and began using the Let’s Go textbook series in our classes.

And the effects of using the MAT method were???

CIMG0464.JPGのサムネール画像The biggest effect of using the MAT method in our classes has been the confidence our students have shown with the vocabulary. In the past many of the students would get to the end of the lesson and not be able to remember most of the words they had just been taught. However, since implementing the MAT method, the majority of our students come to the end of the lesson and are not only able to remember the vocabulary, but also able to use it effectively in the sentence or sentences that they were taught.


Thank you Ritsuko for helping to improve me as a teacher and for helping our lessons to become more effective for the students! The Noda Family will forever be in your debt! 