Author Archives: Bob Doherty

How Do I Teach Causative Form?

English has several words associated with causative form; Make Have Let Whereas Japanese only has one. The intricacies of English are like a Faberge egg, whereas Japanese is devoid of these like an ordinary ostrich egg. Teaching causative form is … Continue reading

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What Should I Do If a Student Has a Really Nice Pen That I Want?

For a variety of reasons, students often buy expensive pens. Whether these be made of precious metals, have ornate carvings or engravings, or simply have a monogram on them, you will come across students who enjoy spending money on pens. … Continue reading

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How Do I Teach the Difference Between Pants and Panties?

There are thousands of foreign loan words in the Japanese language, most of which derive from English. Even though they all resemble English words, the meanings are often changed upon entering Japanese. A shining example of this is the English … Continue reading

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Why Do Students Cringe When Balloons Are Popped In the Classroom?

This “fight or flight” mechanism is built into all humans, but is oddly absent from those in positions of power, making them better leaders and/or teachers. As teachers, popping balloons is as natural as using present perfect tense to describe … Continue reading

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How Do I Teach Present Progressive Future Meaning?

Present progressive is the grammar pattern used to express an event or state that is persisting, whether this be “sitting”, “talking”, “watching”, or any other verb. Progressive form can also extend to past, future, and perfect tenses, but the least … Continue reading

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How Do I Teach Taboo Numbers?

In most situations, Japan uses all of the numbers available. However, due to different readings being available for the numbers, some have additional meanings which mean “death” or “suffer”. This is a difficult concept that takes some explanation. The Japanese … Continue reading

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What Do I Do If My ESL Student Takes My Seat?

Imagine entering your car, only to find a stranger sitting in the driver’s seat. They don’t have keys, because it isn’t their car. They turn to you and smile, waiting for you to start the car and drive. This is … Continue reading

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How Do I Explain the Difference Between “Ride” and “Drive”?

Teaching the difference between “ride” and “drive” is initially simple; “drive” has many different uses outside of operating a vehicle. However, practicing all of these additional uses can create confusion in the classroom, as there is no similarity between them. … Continue reading

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How Do I Convince My Student That “Sand” and “Sandwich” Are Not the Same Thing?

Due mainly to katakana being used to represent foreign loan-words, foreign words take on many extra syllables when represented in Japanese. Something like “personal computer”, which has 6 syllables, would become “pasonaru conpyuutaa”, which contains 7 syllables. 6 is a … Continue reading

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How Do I Teach Polite Requests?

Occasionally you will encounter a student so rude that they could be mistaken for a Frenchman. France is famous all over world for it’s inventive cuisine and unsurpassed rudeness, but some of that rudeness derives from misappropriate English language use. … Continue reading

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