About Our ALT and NLT Program

A to Z has 25 years of experience, specializing in the promotion of communicative ability in English classrooms and the support of boards of education, schools, and teachers.

To excel in our ever globalizing world, children now require leadership and communication abilities that transcend cultural differences. We understand that English education goals at the public school level may differ from school to school, and our aim is to support individual needs and hopes, for the future of our children, and the future of Japan.

Individual coordinators for individual schools

Our coordinators make periodical visits to assigned schools, offering both advice and support to boards of education and schools. Coordinators work closely with foreign language elementary school teachers to ensure a smooth working experience, and also with junior high school teachers to better bridge the link from elementary to junior high schools. By building a network of support, communication, and cooperation, A to Z coordinators are actively able to make the expectations of schools, boards of education, and teachers, a reality.

A true commitment to English Education

The town of Shimosuwa introduced the PLS Recipe system in 2004, the same year it was designated as a special English area by the government. Together with elementary and junior high school teachers, A to Z is dedicated to the improvement of English education, in coordination with PLS Institute of English Education(PLS-IEE), whose Recipe System was developed by its Director Masumi Ormandy.
The Recipe Method is an approach that aims for natural language acquisition, like a child learning their native tongue, by matching content to students’ development levels. The success of the Recipe Method is based on two key points: a strong phonic program, and the teaching methods and materials of professionals with over 40 years of experience. Additionally, a constant focus on Homeroom Teacher (HRT) and Native Language Teacher (NLT) training seminars, combined with the advice of PLS Advisors, means our instructors are effective and efficient team teachers.

Through this commitment to learning, and through the knowledge and experience that have come with it, we at A to Z are doing our best to contribute to the constant improvement and development of English education in Nagano Prefecture.

NLTs (Native Language Teachers) differ to ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) in that the NLT is the classroom leader. In an NLT classroom the main teaching is conducted by the foreign teacher with the Japanese teacher as support, whereas in ALT classrooms, these roles are reversed. NLTs are also responsible for the planning and progress of all their classes, and as such are recognized as professional. As part of their professional development, NLTs are required to take part in regular training seminars through the PLS Institute of English Education where they learn educational philosophy, classwork policy, teaching techniques, and most effective use of the system’s unique materials and activities.

Though some cities employ the Recipe method through NLTs, whilst others use their own original system through ALTs, we believe that a program linking both elementary and junior high schools is of great importance. Creating and strengthening such links will aid in the reduction of academic gaps that exist between students. So to help bridge these gaps, and to promote a stronger communicative focus in the classroom, we advocate the Recipe system.

What is the Recipe Method / PLS System?

The PLS System is a unique set of curricula, programs, activities, and games developed by Ray and Masumi Ormandy, who have over 40 years of experience in English education (ranging from kindergarten to university). A registered trademark since 2005, The PLS System encompasses original training materials and their correct usage as well as training and progress management systems for teachers and students.
The Recipe Method, based around adapting the PLS System to larger classes, is a 35 lesson curriculum instituted at public schools through which NLTs and HRTs work together as a team, teaching English to elementary and junior high school students. The Recipe Method includes thoroughly planned learning activities, teaching materials, and regular teacher training seminars.

More information can be found at the PLS web site ( http://www.pls-pec.co.jp/ )

The Recipe Method

  1. Variety – Teachers choose and combine activities from the curriculum, creating lessons with a focus on variety.
  2. Spiral focus – Lessons focus on continuous review, rather than one-shot, singular goal classes.
  3. Rhythm and Tempo – Emphasis is placed on keeping a quick rhythm throughout class to maintain student interest.
  4. Speedy – Short activity times (3~5 minutes each) mean a wide variety of English is covered in a short time.
  5. All English –Students learn English in English.

The main focus of this approach is to give students the chance to learn a language through experiencing it and using it. For this reason, explanations in Japanese are kept short and where possible avoided completely. The goal is to elicit spontaneous responses to a wide variety of input as well as encouraging student-initiated speech, so an all-English atmosphere is actively encouraged.

The role of Coordinators in the Recipe Method

Every Recipe English class contains an NLT and an HRT. The NLT is responsible for general class instruction and has the role of cross-cultural ambassador, whilst the HRT is responsible for the overall education of their class. These two teachers, working together, are expected to put their best efforts into making and giving high quality English lessons. A to Z coordinators act as advisors and support for NLTs and HRTs, ensuring smooth communication, and effective, efficient, and enjoyable lessons. They also serve as an important link between teachers, advisors, schools, and boards of education.

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