English Education at Kumon
English Education at KUMON
~ A Case Study of Two Children and their Mothers ~
Yukiko Kawabata
A graduation thesis submitted to the International Communication Course,
Department of English & International Interdisciplinary Studies,
Osaka Jogakuin College,
in partial fulfillment for degree requirements.
Advisor: Prof. Scott Johnston
January 19, 2009
English Education at Kumon
Kumon is a famous private school in the world and it has a unique learning method.
This study researched about the motives and the present condition of two 6th grade English
learners at Kumon. The participants are two children, Ken and Mari, and their mothers. I
interviewed the mothers and children, analyzed data and I observed the children at Kumon. I
chose case study because I want to understand in-depth about them. Therefore, this is a
qualitative research. In addition, I expect the result of their learning English at Kumon will
appear after they enter junior high school because their motive of learning English is
preparation for English education at junior high school. At the present moment, I found that
learning English at Kumon affects children‟s interest in English. Children are more interested
in English and study harder.
English Education at Kumon
After World WarⅡ, a view gradually rose up in western advanced nations. It is
education of foreign language should be practiced in elementary schools. In recent years,
Japanese also are interested in early foreign language education. Therefore, English lessons
are introduced in many elementary schools. However, many children learn English in private
schools because they cannot receive enough English education in elementary schools.
In present regulations of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology, teachers must not teach English grammar to elementary school students (Yoshida,
2008). In elementary school, students learn basic knowledge of many subjects except English,
for example, mathematics, Japanese, science, and social studies. They cannot learn English
basic knowledge there. They learn English in junior high school for the first time, so it is
difficult for them to understand English. Therefore, more than 50% of 2nd grade junior high
school students cannot understand contents of English classes (Yoshida, 2008). Between 1st
grades to 2nd grades in junior high school, many students become to dislike English. In
addition, 80% of parents feel it is not useful for children to study English in elementary
school and junior high school (Yoshida, 2008). Therefore, parents of elementary school
students have their children go to private afterschool programs so children do not make a false
step in junior high school studies.
Kumon is a one of the famous private schools. The Kumon method is an individualized
learning method that allows each student to study at the level in which she is comfortable,
regardless of age or grade level (Kumon, 2008b). I work at Kumon and watch various
children studying; therefore, I think that children's learning abilities are incalculable. I also
had studied English at Kumon for 10 years. English was the best and favorite subject for me
in junior high school. In addition, this experience affects my interest and choosing high school
and college.
Thus, I am interested in education for children, especially English education, because
children are more adaptable to foreign language than adults. This case study examines two 6th
English Education at Kumon
graders and their mothers. It includes observations and analysis of the students‟ study
behaviors, and interviews about the learning of English.
Previous Research
Kumon Institute of Education Co., Ltd. is the largest private education company in
Japan and one of the world‟s leading after-school education programs (Kumon, 2008d). It
offers a unique curriculum of mathematics instruction primarily aimed at elementary school
children (Kumon, 2008d). Kumon was initiated in 1954 that started as home education for
mathematics. Toru Kumon (1914-1995), of Japan, was a high school math teacher, as well as
the originator of this method of learning. Toru's approach to teaching mathematics was a
direct result of his own wish to instruct his son more thoroughly. In addition, he began trying
this approach on children outside his family (Kumon, 2008d).He opened the first Kumon
learning center in Osaka, and in 1958 he incorporated the Kumon Institute of Education
(Kumon, 2008d). The success of this educational strategy is without question, and because of
its effectiveness it has risen in popularity and is now used in forty-five countries and regions,
serving 4.19 million students worldwide, as of March 2008 (Kumon, 2008a). Kumon has a
strong base in Japan, South Korea, and other Asian countries and has become an increasingly
felt presence in the North American market in the 2000s (Kumon, 2008d) In Kumon, students
can learn mathematics, Japanese, English, French, German, Chinese.
The characteristics of the Kumon Method are accomplished by a focus on self-study
that enables students to acquire not only basic academic abilities but also concentration skills,
good study habits, confidence, a sense of self-affirmation, a sense of achievement, a
challenging spirit and an ability to learn by themselves. In addition, students learn at their
own pace, one small step at a time (Kumon, 2008b). The learning target for language is the
acquisition of comprehensive ability to read and absorb long passages of written materials
(Kumon, 2008b).
English Education at Kumon
Children are interested in mechanisms of foreign languages unconsciously and they
want to speak well. Various experiences become the trigger that absorbs students in studying
English. For example, they are spoken to someone in English and understand what he said
though they could not understand at first. In addition, they found a computer game using
English is interesting (Kuno, 2002, p, 14). According to Kumon (2008c), the students'
enthusiasm for learning is aroused in this process, as the goals they set are their own goals. In
addition, this process awakens a desire in the students to take on new challenges.
English Education in Elementary School
English classes in elementary school are introduced as a part of international
understanding. It is the purpose of the class that children use English merrily, become
accustomed and like it. This is not language teaching; however, children can acquire
sensibility for enjoying sounds of English. In addition, children can develop their positive
attitudes to use English (Kuno, 2002, p, 13).
Goto (1996) suggests that conditioned learning gradually falls with age and conceptual
learning rises with age. It is at 10 years old or thereabout that these two acquisition conditions
of language equalize. Therefore, 4 to 8 years old are the best age to start foreign language
study and 8 to 10 years old are the best term to exercise good effects of the learning (Goto,
In Japan, it is decided that teachers does not teach English grammar to children
below the age of thirteen (Yoshida, 2008). Children have to learn language knowledge and
practical ability of communication in junior high school. However, it is difficult for them to
learn English, because they did not study basis of English grammar in elementary school
(Yoshida, 2008). Naturally, Japanese ability of English falls down. Then, Ministry of
Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology decided to change study guideline for
English Education at Kumon
primary school and junior high school from 2011 (Yoshida, 2008). In new study guideline for
primary school, teachers do not focus on teaching English grammar but it makes up oral
communication which can not teach only in a junior high school. That is to say, children learn
one sentence as one word in elementary school and learn theory in junior high school
(Yoshida, 2008).
In elementary school
“It‟s a book.”
In junior high school
a book.”
It might be thought that children learn disposition of English grammar naturally by learning it
by oral practices. English words which students learn in a junior high school are 900 now, but
it becomes 1200 words by the new course of study, additionally, 300 of the about 1200 words
are studied in elementary school (Yoshida, 2008). The goal of English education in junior
high school will not change and it will leave oral communication as much as possible to
English education in elementary school. Therefore, children can be satisfied about learned
things in junior high school by getting many words in elementary school. In addition, a goal is
that children must not keep sense of incongruity and a feeling of resistance against foreign
languages in English activities at elementary school (Merner, 2008).
English Education for 5th to 6th Graders
5th and 6th grades children begin to show that they do not feel like obeying the
instructions of the person unless they understand why. They do not like to be treated like
babies, and they make eye contact and big smile in class (Merner, 2008). In addition, they
want to acquire a lot of knowledge beyond their ability (Kumon, 2002). Children who have
studied English from the lower grades are able to understand a little. In addition, their
listening abilities are improving. Then, they try to tell their thoughts as putting words which
they know together (Kumon, 2002). Some children try to get over the occasion in Japanese
because their English is imperfect (Kumon, 2002). Especially, educators should not give them
too easy or too difficult materials for first English learner of 6th graders, otherwise they
English Education at Kumon
become to dislike English. Thus, there are many obstacles to children‟s learning. Therefore,
educators should choose suitable materials, for example, interesting topics, easy oral practices
and popular songs (Goto, 1996). It is necessary for children to have interest and will for
Recently, surrounding of English education is changing widely. Therefore, many
parents who have elementary school children and teachers think about early English education.
Then, some parents choose Kumon to study English. Kumon has a unique system and it is
expanding all over the world. In Kumon, children can do learning which is suitable for each
person. English education for elementary school is difficult, especially for 5th and 6th grade
students. Then, I want to know actually how children think about learning English. The
learner is not parents but children, so I want to know children‟s opinions.
Research Questions
This study has several research questions. The first is how do two 6th graders think
about their learning of English in Kumon? I want to know the reasons why young students
start to learn English and why they chose Kumon. In addition, I want to know their motivation
for learning English.
The second research question is how do they think it will be helpful? I want to know
when they realize the result of their learning.
The third research question is what do the children‟s mothers think of studying at
Kumon? I want to know why they chose and have their children go to Kumon.
Participants are two 6th graders and their mothers. Mari is a 6th grade girl. (I have
changed the names of the students). She goes to a public elementary school in Osaka
Prefecture. She started learning English at Kumon when she was 3 years old. Ken is a 6th
English Education at Kumon
grade boy. He also goes to the same public elementary school. They have English class at
elementary school once a week or, sometimes, not at all. Mari‟s mother is a housewife and
Ken‟s mother has a part-time job. Both mothers have two children who are older than Ken
and Mari.
Data Collection
At first, I interviewed two mothers to know behavior of children in their house and
mothers‟ thoughts for studying English. I used unstructured interviews because I wanted to
find out the mothers‟ thoughts and ideas about studying at Kumon. I interviewed the mothers
in Japanese. Then, I translated from Japanese to English and made a table of the results.
Then, I observed the children‟s study behaviors at Kumon class. Next, I carried out
interviews with them separately by using unstructured questions. Finally, I analyzed my data
for patterns and common themes.
Learning at Kumon
At first, I interviewed mothers and analyzed data. I made questions for children on the
basis of mothers‟ answer. Then, I interviewed for children. In addition, I observed learning
children in Kumon once a week. See Appendix A.
Ken’s Mother
Ken‟s mother goes to part-time job several times in a week. She has three children:
two boys and one girl. She made Ken to start to study English at Kumon because English is
the poorest subject of Ken‟s brother and sister in junior high school. In addition, she is also
not good at it and does not like English; therefore, she wants to avoid Ken failing in English.
She told me “I chose Kumon because Ken‟s good friends learn at Kumon too” when I asked
the reason why she chose Kumon. In addition, she told me about his study attitude “he does
not study hard, but he does the homework before he goes to Kumon class.”
English Education at Kumon
Moreover, she said she does not know when I asked about good points and bad points
of Kumon. She also told me “I go to part-time job when Ken practices Kumon materials and
Ken does not talk about Kumon, so I do not know about Kumon very well”.
She does not understand the system of Kumon. It is concerned with the reason why they
choose Kumon. They chose Kumon because Ken‟s friends also goes there; that is to say, she
chose Kumon not for the system. However, she told me “Ken does not dislike learning at
Kumon but does not like it.” It means that Ken does not like to do his material but he
commutes to Kumon class willingly because there are friends and he can learn new
knowledge. In his house, it seems that he does not study hard, but he does the homework
before going to Kumon.
In addition, Ken„s mother told me “Ken can answer some questions when he watches
TV quiz shows and he is more interested in English”. Therefore, she thinks that it is useful for
Ken to learning English at Kumon.
Mari’s Mother
Mari‟s mother is a homemaker and she has three children: two girls and one boy. She
has an inferiority complex about English because she hated English and it was the worst
subject in school. Therefore, she does not want Mari to have difficulty in junior high school
English. In addition, she told me “English is necessary for children in the future”. It means
that there is English in many places now, for example, words from abroad, signboards written
in English, using computers and title of music or movie. Therefore, she had Mari to start
studying English.
The reason why she chose Kumon is it is nearby home, so it is easy for young children
to get to. Mari was three years old when she started going to Kumon class there. Mari‟s
brother and sister also go there.
Mari‟s mother tries to help her child when she is asked though she is not good at
English. She told me “Mari sometime studies hard but sometime does not study hard”, so she
English Education at Kumon
thinks that it is difficult to keep Mari‟s enthusiasm for study. She also said that Mari does not
like daily homework, especially listening and oral practice because she takes long times to do
However, Mari‟s mother told me “The good point of Kumon English is to practice
many times.” She thinks that it is effective for students who learn language to do continual
study. Moreover, she told me “The bad point is there is lots of writing but not much listening
and oral practice.” That is to say, students learn English as classroom subject, for example,
grammar, words, listening to English CDs and reading. They cannot study speaking at Kumon,
so students cannot acquire communication skills. However, she hopes “Mari will appreciate
having studied English when she becomes junior high school student and Mari will naturally
understand English little by little”.
Comparison of Ken’s Mother and Mari’s Mother
Both mothers do not like English, so they want their children to be good at English.
They talked about English education in junior high school and TV quiz shows. In addition,
they do not necessarily want their children to get particular occupations that use English. They
only do not want their children to have problem in English of junior high school.
In addition, they chose Kumon not for its program, but because of child‟s friend or
distance. Especially, Ken‟s mother does not know about Kumon at all. Both mothers say that
their children do not like to do their daily homework; therefore, they do not study hard.
However, children learn not only by their materials but also by TV shows. For example,
Hekisagon and Q sama which are quiz shows and many entertainers answer questions. They
learn at Kumon and understand some English on TV quiz shows. Therefore, children can do
continual study. However, Mari‟s mother is not satisfied with Kumon English because she
hopes her child to acquire all skills: writing, reading, listening, and speaking. She said that
there is not much listening and oral practice. She hopes that Mari will naturally understand
English in the future.
English Education at Kumon
Ken is a 6th grader in a public elementary school in Osaka Prefecture. He has an older
brother and sister. (See Appendix B). He started learning English at Kumon in December
2007. In elementary school, he has 50 minute English classes once a week but sometimes no
class. He had never studied English except at school and Kumon. However, he has talked with
foreign people, for example, school native English teachers and tourists. Recently, in Japan
elementary schools have hired native English speakers to teach in elementary schools.
However, he told me “I could not understand what teachers said.” He talked with tourists only
saying “Hello!”
The reason why he started to learn at Kumon is his mother‟s recommendation. His
mother wanted Ken to study English from an elementary school student because his brother
and sister were not good at English in junior high school. Ken also does not want to have
problems in junior high school English. However, he answered “I do not know” when I asked
him “Why do you study at Kumon now?”
In addition, I asked him “Do you enjoy studying at Kumon?”, then he told me “Yes,
especially mathematics because I enjoy when I understand something”. His mother said that
Ken does not dislike studying English at Kumon. Ken also indicated that he does not really
like studying English either. When I asked, “Do you enjoy studying at Kumon?”, he did not
talk about English at all; he only talked about mathematics. That is to say, Ken does not
always enjoy studying at Kumon, but sometimes enjoys it.
In addition, his Kumon assignments are to fill in the blanks of sentences, to listen to CD
and to read out in front of the teacher. I asked him, “Which do you like Listening, Writing or
Reading?” Then he thought a few minutes and answered, “Listening because it is easy for
me”. He actually read out loud faithfully following the CD; however, he makes mistake in
Below is Ken‟s material. This material is very first step. It aims to understand easy
words and pronounce well. At first, he does his materials by himself; to answer questions,
English Education at Kumon
listening to CD and do oral practices. After that, he reads out loud in front of a teacher and the
teacher checks his pronunciation and answers. Then, I found his mistakes.
Figure 1. Ken‟s class work.
e.g) Ken wrote・・・①I am sleepy.
Ken read・・・①I am thirsty.
②I am thirsty.
②I am sleepy.
He wrote that ①私はのどが渇いています is “I am sleepy” and ②私は眠いです is
“I am thirsty”. However, He read out ①”I am thirsty” and ②”I am sleepy”. That is to say,
his written words and read words are mismatched. He wrote wrong words but he read out
right words because he read following the CD. Therefore, I think that he does not remember
the meaning of words but only remembers pronunciation by listening to the CD.
In addition, he said that his most difficult skill is writing. He does not know many
words, so it takes much time to complete writing parts. He is supposed to do 5 pages of
English Education at Kumon
homework and 5 pages in Kumon class for one lesson. He goes to Kumon class two times a
week: Monday and Friday. Actually, students of Kumon have to do their material little by
little every day.
Ken has English homework of about 5 pages, but he does not do it. Ken‟s
mother said that he does the homework before he goes to Kumon class, however, it seems that
he does only the homework of mathematics. Therefore, his daily study time of English at
home is nothing. He sometime has to do 10 pages at Kumon, the 5 pages of homework and
the 5 pages of English study at Kumon. Then, I asked about his material and he answered “I
do not know.” I think that it means that he does not think deeply about his materials. He only
addresses materials which are given from teacher.
Interestingly, he thinks that learning English is useful for him. He told me “I can
understand some of what the native-English teacher says in school though I could not
understand at all before”. His mother also said that Ken can answer some questions when he
watches TV quiz show. Therefore, it is useful for him to study at Kumon.
Moreover, I asked Ken about English. He answered that he does not think that he can
understand English because it is difficult for him. I think he views English as a language; that
is to say, it is a means of communication. He feels that he acquired English when he
communicates with a native-English teacher or uses English for quiz. Therefore, I think that
he will have confidence in his English if he has more experiences to speak English in the
future. However, it is necessary for him to study harder.
Mari is a 6th grader in a public elementary school in Osaka Prefecture. She has an older
brother and sister. (See Appendix B) In elementary school, she has 50 minute English classes
once a week but sometimes no class. She studies English by using Challenge outside of her
elementary school and Kumon. Challenge is learning by correspondence and she started in
November 2008. She started it to review elementary school studies and prepare for junior
high school studies, so English is also included. In addition, she has never talked with foreign
English Education at Kumon
She started learning at Kumon when she was three years old. At first, she started to
practice penmanship. She started to learn English because of her mother‟s recommendation.
Her mother was not good at English when she was a student. She recommended Kumon
because it is near by the house and Mari‟s brother and sister also learned there. She continues
to learn English at Kumon for a long time and she has to do five pages everyday; therefore,
she is tired of doing her materials. In addition, she told me “I do not like homework”, so she
sometime does not finish her homework by next class.
In her material, there are writing, listening, reading and oral practice parts. At first, she
listens to CD and answers some listening questions. Next, she learns grammar and answers
writing exercise. There are some types in her writing exercises, for example, filling blanks,
changing order of English words and translating easy sentences from Japanese to English.
Then, she reads out loud in front of a teacher.
Below is Mari‟s material. Left is learning grammar and writing exercises. Right is oral
Figure 2. Mari‟s classwork.
English Education at Kumon
Mari said that she likes writing exercise and it is easy for her because there are some
hints. However, she sometime makes grammatical mistakes. For example, “He is (an)
astronaut” or “They are artist(s)”. She often forgets plural “s” and singular “a (an)”.
Additionally, she told me “I am not good at grammar”. For instance, she answered “My
brother is (in) London” when I asked her to make easy sentence. Then, I found that she can
make some easy sentences, but sometime not correct. She does not worry about making
mistake but she makes same mistakes many times.
In addition, she told me “I dislike oral practice”. She takes a long time to do oral
practice because she has to listen to the CD many times. She also told me “Listening is
difficult to hear”. In the listening CD, a native English speaker pronounces every sentence, so
Mari does not catch each word. Therefore, she feels that it is difficult for her to understand
what is said on the CD.
Moreover, I asked about her material to know her interest and motivation for it and she
answered “I do not know”. This is the same answer as Ken. It means that she also does not
think deeply about her materials.
There are three reasons why they do not think about their
materials. First, they cannot afford to think about it because they are young. Second, they
learn English for the first time, so they cannot judge whether the material is good or not. Last,
they have trust in their teacher because their teacher is an expert in teaching children.
Therefore, I think that children only address materials which are given from teacher.
In addition, she does not think that it is useful for her to learn English at Kumon. She
told me “I cannot keep up with my materials; especially I do not understand grammar very
well”. I thought that it is a big problem for her, and I talked with her teacher after the
interview. At first, she studied high level English for her which 2nd year junior high school
students learn at school. Then, teacher gave her easy material which is 1st year junior high
school students learn at school. Mari had forgot fundamental English grammar, so she
learned it once more.
In Kumon, materials are adaptable for children like this. Moreover, I think that she is
English Education at Kumon
accustomed to study at Kumon and slacks off her materials because she continues to study
English at Kumon for a long time. She also told me “So-so, because I do not study very hard.
If I study harder, I can understand” when I asked “Can you understand English?” Therefore, I
think that Mari has not realized that it is useful yet. Her mother also hopes that Mari
appreciates having studied English when she becomes a junior high school student.
In addition, the teacher said it is important for children to acquire ability of thinking.
However, it does not mean Kumon directly teaches students to think about what they learn. I
also think that it is difficult for young children to think deeply about their materials. In
Kumon, children learn the attitude to try study by repeating and understanding. Therefore,
children do their materials entirely and Kumon expects them to think.
Finally, I found that Mari thinks that English is classroom subject. She often talked
about grammar and she did not talk about speaking ability in my interview. Therefore, I think
that she does not learn English to speak to foreign people but to know English for junior high
school English. In addition, I had some opportunities to talk with Mari about learning English.
I told her about importance and enjoyment of learning English. I also check her English oral
practice once a week. Then, I found that her attitude for learning English is changing. She
works on her material, also homework, actively. Therefore, I think that she might find a little
about enjoyment of leaning English.
Comparison of Ken and Mari
The reason why they started learning English at Kumon was the same. They were
recommended to Kumon by their mothers. Ken gave school native English teachers as
example of people who he has talked with, but Mari did not give it a thought though she goes
to the same elementary school with Ken. I think that it might be different from Ken and
Mari‟s thoughts about the purpose o f English.
In addition, Ken answered “I do not know” and Mari answered “Preparation for junior
high school because I do not want to have problems in English” when I asked them why they
English Education at Kumon
study English at Kumon now. It is very interesting, because Ken learns English at Kumon
thought he does not know why. However, Ken enjoys learning at Kumon, especially
mathematics. On the other hand, Mari told me “I am tried of doing the materials”. She has
continued to study at Kumon for long time, so I think that it is caused by experience.
Moreover, both of them do not like homework. They also told me “I do not know about the
I think that they are young so they cannot think about their materials deeply, for
example, about efficiency and content. Moreover, children may not understand the importance
of understanding how to use language because they do not have enough experiences
communicating with foreign people.
In addition, Mari said that listening is difficult, but Ken said it is easy. I think that one
reason why is the high degree of difficulty of the material. Moreover, Mari tries to catch each
word but Ken pays little attention to each word. On the other hand, Ken said that Writing is
difficult but Mari told me “It is easy because there are hints”. From this comment, I think that
Ken has not been accustomed to his materials and Mari knows easy way to do Kumon
materials. In addition, their English study time at home is almost zero. Ken has no homework
because he does not do his homework. Mari sometime does not finish her homework by next
class though she has homework which she has to do five pages every day. In Kumon, teachers
guide way of study which adapt to each student like this.
Moreover, Ken thinks it is useful for him to learn English at Kumon because he can
understand what English teacher says in school though he could not understand at all before.
On the other hand, Mari does not think it is useful because she does not keep up with her
materials and she does not understand grammar. However, I expect that Mari will appreciate
having studied English in the future because she has studied English for a long time. In
addition, I found in research that she understands English little by little now. Therefore, I
expect that Mari find result of her learning when she studies English or takes English exam in
junior high school.
English Education at Kumon
Before, I said that Ken and Mari‟s thoughts about English might be different. Ken told
me “I do not understand English because English is difficult for me.” While, Mari told me “I
understand a little; I think that I do not study hard. If I study harder, I can understand very
much.” Moreover, Ken talked about foreign people but Mari talked about grammar. Therefore,
I found that Ken thinks that English is way of communication, and Mari thinks that it is
classroom subject.
In addition, children do not find goodness of Kumon style but I found that learning
style of Kumon is very effective for children‟s learning. In other private schools, children only
listen to lecture and take notes. Children may learn a lot of things; however, they do not
practice many times. Then, children do not acquire what they learned. On the other hand,
children practice same contents again and again in Kumon. I think that children become
accustomed soon. Accordingly, they acquire what they learned to do continual study.
Therefore, I think that learning style of Kumon is useful for children.
In Kumon, Ken and Mari learn grammar and many words, but they do not learn
English conversation. These are very first steps of learning English and it is very necessary
for them. In addition, their motivation of learning English is preparation for English education
at junior high school. Their mothers also hope so. However, children do not think about
efficiency and contents of their materials. They also may not understand the importance of
understanding how to use language. I think that they do not have chances to understand the
result of learning English at Kumon. Therefore, I expect it will appear after they enter junior
high school or take English exams.
At the present moment, I found that it has a good effect on children‟s interest in English.
In addition, I think that children should not only practice their materials earnestly but also
they should do quizzes regularly to find their result of learning. Then, children will work on
their study actively.
English Education at Kumon
Moreover, I hope children can have opportunities to use English that they have learned,
for example, talking with a teacher who is native English speaker. Finally, I do not think that
this study is complete because Ken, Mari and their mothers have not realized the outcome yet.
Therefore, I need more research when they realize it and whether they realize it or not.
Additionally, I expect that they will find out soon if English is helpful.
English Education at Kumon
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Torikai, K. (2008, May 26). Global ka no syoutai @ communication: Tagengo・Tabunka
susumu nihonsyakai [Identity of globalization @ communication: Japan becomes polyglot
and multicultural society]. Asahi Shinbun.
Tougo, K. (1998). Kodomono eigo・ ima konnafuuni. [English of children: Now, like this]
Kobe: BL Syuppan.
Ukai, N. (1994). The Kumon Approach to Teaching and Learning. Retrieved May 27, 2008,
from http://www.jstor.org/pss/132785
Yoshida, K. (2008, November). Basic philosophy Behind the implementation of FLES in
Japan. Paper presented at the meeting of the Japan Association of language teachers,
English Education at Kumon
Tokyo, JP.
English Education at Kumon
Appendix A
Table of Interviews with Mothers
Ken’s mother
Mari’s mother
1. Why child start
His older brothers and sisters
Mari‟s mother not good at
are not good at English in JHS.
English. In the future
English is necessary for
2. Why Kumon?
His friends go to Kumon
Mari‟s brother and sister
go. Nearby house.
3. Study hard?
Not study hard, but he does the
Sometime yes sometimes
4. Help or not?
No. Goes to her job.
When Mari asks, she helps.
5. Like English?
No. hate.
6. Good at Engish?
No. worst subject in
7. Good point of Kumon
Not know about Kumon
Practice many times.
Not know
Lots of writing but not
8. Bad point
much listening and
9. Children enjoy?
Ken said “I don‟t dislike it.” But
She doesn’t like daily
not like.
homework especially
listening and oral practice.
English Education at Kumon
10. Useful?
When F watches TV quiz shows, Hopes that when Mari
he can answer some questions.
becomes junior high school
student, she will appreciate
having studied English.
There is English in many
places, so Y will naturally
understand English little by
11. Questions?
Please tell me good way to
study English.
English Education at Kumon
Appendix B
Table of Interviews with Children
1. How many times do you
Once a week(50 minutes)
Once a week(50 minutes)
study English in school?
Sometime, nothing
Sometime, nothing
2. Have you ever studied
Challenge (learning by
English except at school and
started November 2008.
3. Have you ever talked
English teacher・・・He can
with foreign people?
not understand what teacher
Tourists・・・only “Hello”
4. How long have you
From December 2007
From 3 years old.
studied English at Kumon?
About 11 months.
For about 9 years.
5. Why did you start
Mother’s recommendation.
Mother’s recommendation.
learning English?
To do not have problems in
JHS English.
6. Why do you study
Do not know.
Preparation for JHS.
To do not have problems in
JHS English.
7. Do you enjoy studying at
Yes. Especially, he enjoys
No. She is tired of doing
studying math. He feels fun
her materials.
when he understands
Do not like homework.
something. He did not talk
about English.
English Education at Kumon
8. Which do you like
Listening because it‟s easy
Writing. Easy because there
Listening, Writing and
for him.
are hints.
9. Which is the most
10. How do you think your
Listening・・・difficult to hear
Do not know.
Do not know.
11. How many pages do you
5 pages. Sometime 10pages.
She has to do 5 pages
study in a day?
He does not have homework.
everyday. But she does not.
12. How long do you study
0 minute.
0 minutes.
13. Do think that you can
No, because it is difficult for
So-so, because she thinks
understand English? Why?
that she does not study very
material? Why?
English in home in a day?
hard. If she does it more , she
can understand.
14. Do you think studying
Yes, because he can
No. she does not keep up
English at Kumon is useful
understand what English
with her materials.
for you?
teacher say in school
She does not understand
though he can’t understand grammar.
at all before.
English Education at Kumon
Appendix C
Interview for Mothers
1. なぜ小学生の間から、英語を習わせようと思ったのですか?
Why does your child start to study English?
2. なぜ公文を選んだのですか?
Why did you choose Kumon?
3. お子さんは積極的に公文の学習に取り組んでいますか?
Does your child study hard?
4. お子さんが学習している時、お母さんはどうしていますか?
Do you help your child?
5. お母さんは、英語が好きですか?
Do you like English?
6. お母さんは、英語が得意ですか?
Are you good at English?
7. 公文の英語の良い点を教えてください。
What are good points of Kumon?
8. 公文の英語の悪い点を教えてください。
What are bad points of Kumon?
9. お子さんは公文の学習を楽しんでいますか?
Does your child enjoy?
10. 公文で学んだ英語はお子さんの役に立っていますか?
Is it useful for your child?
11. 今回のアンケートや調査について、何か質問はありませんか?
Do you have any questions?
Thank you very much!
English Education at Kumon
Appendix D
Interviews for Children
1. 学校ではどのくらい英語を勉強しますか。
How many times do you study English in school?
2. 外国の人と話したことはありますか。
Have you ever talked with foreign people?
3. 公文でどのくらい英語を勉強していますか。
How long have you studied English at Kumon?
4. なぜ、公文で英語を勉強し始めたのですか。
Why did you start learning English at Kumon?
5. なぜ、くもんで英語を勉強しているのですか。
Why do you study English at Kumon?
6. くもんで勉強するのは楽しいですか。
Do you enjoy studying at Kumon?
7. リスニング・ライティング・リーディングどれが好きですか。
Which do you like listening, writing or reading?
8. どれが一番難しいですか。
Which is the most difficult?
9. 教材についてどう思いますか。それはなぜ?
How do you think your material? Why?
10. 一日に何ページ勉強しますか。
How many pages do you study in a day?
11. 一日に家でどのくらい英語の勉強をしますか。
How long do you study English in home in a day?
12. 英語を理解できるようになったと思いますか。それはなぜ?
Do you think that you can understand English? Why?
13. くもんで英語を学ぶことはあなたの役にたつと思いますか。
English Education at Kumon
Do you think studying English at Kumon is useful for you?
Thank you!