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Old Wine in New Bottles

Here come the school closures:

Nagoya-based investment fund Inayoshi Capital Partners said Thursday that about 50 of its 167 Geos foreign-language school branches will be renamed Nova X Geos after November.

ICP also said it will close down about 20 Geos branches whose business areas are overlapping with those of Nova.

The company said students of those schools will be relocated to the nearby Nova schools or receive lessons via Nova's unique video-phone system.

Nova X Geos? What the hell kind of rebranding is that? Two dodgy schools under one roof? Maybe titling this post, "Old Wine in Old Bottles" would have been better.

I'm sure the students will be ecstatic about having to move to another school or purchasing a videophone system. Still no word about what happens to the teachers, although it's clear that some will certainly lose their jobs. Would it kill the media to mention their part of the story?

Comments

I doubt that this will be the last of the school closures. Sayonara GEOS.

Be warned Geos/Ex-Geos teachers, the police will be checking your visa soon. Well, the Hokkaido police are checking. If your visa is due to expires soon, you better find a new job quick.

what's the point scare-mongering ?

the police can't do anything unless your visa has already expired -

if you are an ex-geos teacher on a geos sponsored humanities visa - don't listen to "warnings" like this.

Here is comes. Okay so I have gotten word that some GEOS teachers are being trained to teach NOVA lessons. Which means the NOVA schools are going to get flooded with excess teachers. This will put a hell of a lot of pressure on the current staff and NOVA teachers to try to fill their lessons up. It can get pretty cut throat at some schools in which there are too many teachers. I bet that some teachers will be at each others throats trying to keep their cappa high enough. It is going to be a wild ride for the next couple of months.

Im so glad I quit Nova last year. It was bad then...I cant imagine it can get worse. Im sure Nova students will be happy to be able to take extra classes...but the school has to keep the student-to-teacher ratio quite high...too many teachers and not enough students coming to class means alot unpaid free time or stuffing tissue packs. If you are working at Nova...you got it bad.

BTW: The cops dont go around checking teachers visas to see where they work. I was given a 3 year work visa last year on my second visa renewal and walked off the job at Nova...I have spent the last 12 months as a freelance english teacher...even registered my place of employment as my home address with city hall and city hall wrote that information on the back of gaijin card. I have even been carded by the j-cops a few times..nothing happened.

Be warned Geos/Ex-Geos teachers, the police will be checking your visa soon. Well, the Hokkaido police are checking. If your visa is due to expires soon, you better find a new job quick.

If your visa is set to expire soon then said teacher should be renewing or making plans to leave the country. What does the cops have to with that?? Are you confusing visa with work contract?? Its true you are entitled to 3 months to find a new job after seperation from your employer, but that rule is a Japanese Immigration "guideline" not a law. That rule is a catch-22 to deport unemployed foreigeners when all other means to deport have failed....that rule is enforced by immigration...not the cops.

I worked for old-Nova when it went bankrupt in 2007 and had old-Nova listed on the front of my ARC as my employer and sponser, and I was unemployed for more than 6 or 7 months before I found a new job. The j-cops didnt care when they asked me for my card and clearly saw I worked for bankrupted Nova with no new employer listed on the back of my card. They only care if your visa is expired....not what english school you work at. I seriously doubt Nova/GEOS is going to call the cops and inform them of which teachers got shafted and found themselves without a job...even if they did...there is nothing the cops can or will do about it anyway.

I'm just letting you know what happened in my city. A police officer from the main station visited me and said because of the bankruptcy of Geos, he has to check the visa situation of the English teacher in his area. I don't know if it's an initiative Hokkaido police have taken by themselves, if it's just something my city is doing, or if they've received a request directly from immigration. He didn't ask me anything about my workplace (which of course is no longer Geos). He just wanted to check that my ARC and my visa were in date.

I'm not scaremongering - it's just what happened, so I thought I'd pass it on. Like I said, I don't know if it's a nationwide thing. But better to be warned, right?

yup, GEOS teachers are now being trained NOVA Style. There are 4 types of schools now. NOVA schools, GEOS schools that will turn to NOVA come November, nonGcom/Gedu owned GEOS schools and Closing GEOS schools (and some NOVAs). This is why GEOS teachers are being taught the NOVA style so they can teach it in their own old GEOS schools. The teachers in closing schools are sometimes given a spot in places that need teachers or being layed off or they are quitting. Most of the West GEOS teachers have been layed off. So the flooding of NOVA schools is not gonna happen so much. Not to mention almost all of the Japanese teaching staff have been layed off. This will not be the last of the closures. If the new and glorious leader expects to turn profit in 3 months like stated he will have to cut even more dead weight. Most of that is in the north and the remaining GEOS schools in Kanto and West.

I think this is just a slow unwinding of what was.

Inayoshi probably knows how to squeeze the lemon dry, and this is why he raised capital to go back into the Eikaiwa business. Practically, though, the model won't work if there are too many players. Aeon and ECC seem to be holding their own, so very likely the limit to chain Eikaiwas is: two.

Inayoshi's problem is that while he introduced some sensible changes to NOVA's business practices, i.e. smaller lesson point packages and allowing students to take lessons at different schools and in lower level lessons (some students really do need to), on the whole G.com's management has been even worse than that of the old NOVA Corp. They want to do everything on the cheap, and it shows badly. They don't have enough teachers and staff to run the schools they've opened properly, and if you thought the old regime of ATs, BTS and AAMs handling training, observations and evaluations was bad, it's way beyond bad now. NOVA Corp might have promoted idiots to do these jobs, but G.com are so clueless about running schools and so desperate not to spend money on higher salaries for anyone that they've hardly promoted anyone at all. The Japanese branch staff usually know nothing about the lessons or what the teachers are doing, so a lot of the lessons are basically shit because the teachers are totally unsupervised. I personally think that the notion that in eikaiwa all you need to do is talk to the students is total bullshit, and that some good teaching does go in in eikaiwa schools - but not at NOVA. Inayoshi taking charge again is bad news for everyone working and taking lessons there.

Who cares about how well or badly the schools are run? Who cares if the teaching is better in some schools and worse in others? Bottom line is that, from the best to the worst, eikaiwa schools are highly ineffective and cost inefficient when it comes to assisting people with language learning - because their business models conflict with what is actually needed to achieve success. People who do make significant progress going to eikaiwa are the exception and not the rule.

The best chance people get to learn a language is on the state for free in school. That is because they have got you for 5 hours a week, which is the kind of input level at which you classes can actually make a difference. Unfortunately, that opportunity is largely wasted because the nature of the curriculum and testing system make it very difficult for even people who have some idea how to make best of this time to do so. As it is most Japanese teachers and their sidekick ALTs don't know how to make the best use of the time anyway. But if you are after reform don't bother to talk about reforming the eikaiwas, think about reforming the schools.

But if you are after reform don't bother to talk about reforming the eikaiwas, think about reforming the schools.

Agreed, they need it badly, but with all due respect Japanese junior and senior high schools aren't the topic of this particular blog. Eikaiwas also need reform because people who pay to go to NOVA expecting capable teachers to help them improve their English are getting ripped off.

"..Who cares about how well or badly the schools are run? Who cares if the teaching is better in some schools and worse in others?.."

- I would hazard a guess that the geos teachers moving into the NOVA system care about how well or how badly the schools are run.

Just yesterday having spoken to a few ex-geos students currently taking lessons at gcomm schools, I can tell you that they care quite a bit about whether the teaching is better in some branches than others.

You are right, of course. Those people do care. The reason that they care is that they still think those things make a difference, when in fact they make little to none. I do feel sorry for those people but sooner or later they will learn the sad truth. Probably around the time that their tickets run out.

To me, one of the problems here is defining "What is Eikaiwa?" and what exactly should it be about. Should it be about language learning?

I'd hazard a guess that the majority of people don't go to eikaiwa to learn and study the language. They go there for a whole host of other reasons (often encouraged by the eikaiwa school), such as having a hobby, a bit of fun and entertainment and socializing, or simply to get some semblance of a life because they haven't got anything else to do.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can see, real language learning doesn't feature highly on people's list of priorities. That's why it's sold as "English conversation", so as to attract the people (a significant number of them) who don't want to study English but just "do something involving English".

IMO eikaiwa aren't into the business of actually teaching English. It's too expensive to implement and wouldn't make so much money. There's quite a market out there for "hobby English", and that's what eikaiwa tap into. Teaching and learning is largely unnecessary.

Don't you get it? it's an equation, with so many right answers

NOVA x GOES = Shit squared

or

NOVA x GEOS = fucked teachers and students

Everyone join in!

There's quite a market out there for "hobby English", and that's what eikaiwa tap into. Teaching and learning is largely unnecessary.

All the figures indicate that attendance at private English schools is plunging. Approximately 620,000 students in 2007, around 335,000 this year. The hobby English crowd are giving up because they're worried about having less money to spend, and because there's no point going to English lessons if the teachers aren't going to teach. If I were a prospective student I wouldn't want to waste any time with some worthless tit who thinks all he needs to do in a lesson to earn his salary is act like he's got together with some chums at Starbucks. As long as the teachers, managers and owners think that teaching and learning are unnecessary, the numbers will continue to drop. Actual teaching may be expensive to implement. In the long run it'll be even more expensive NOT to implement. No point in telling people like Inayoshi and his minions that of course, they'll all too stupid.

You are wrong when you say that eikaiwa is just sold as English conversation. It is not. It is sold as a language learning method. That is what a great deal of the sales bullshit is about, as anyone who has worked in one will know. That is what the teaching bullshit is about as well. If eikaiwa was in fact dressed up to be no more than conversation practice, clear statements were made at the point of sale about the limitations to actual learning which this implies, and the 'teachers' gave up pretending to be teachers and doing some of the silly pointless things they so often do, then I wouldn't have much against it.

They sell it as language learning to new instructors definitely, and to people who want to learn a language, yes. However, they're the minority. When someone comes in wanting to do eikaiwa for all those other reasons that people do it - entertainment, hobby, meet-a-foreigner, get a life etc. etc. - they'll sell it in a way that gets those people in. I think that if they sell it too much as language learning to those sorts of people, chances are they might scare them off. They have to pitch their sales correctly. That's where they make their money.

I agree with you though, they do dress it up in this sleek, "professional" packaging, and it's absolute bullshit when all that's happening is someone is sitting there talking to people (I'm sure some eikaiwa stooges will come on and try and deny that that's the case).

All the figures indicate that attendance at private English schools is plunging. Approximately 620,000 students in 2007, around 335,000 this year. The hobby English crowd are giving up because they're worried about having less money to spend, and because there's no point going to English lessons if the teachers aren't going to teach.

It's definitely plunged because of the recession, and the bad press that it's gotten from the NOVA collapse. I still think there's a demand there though, those 300,000 people who gave up on private English schools didn't necessarily abandon the desire to do something connected with English conversation.

Eikaiwa is basically an extra hobby, a bit of entertainment for people. There's little substance to it generally, and when times are tough, things like that will be the first things to get cut from people's monthly budgets.

If eikaiwa was in fact dressed up to be no more than conversation practice, clear statements were made at the point of sale about the limitations to actual learning which this implies, and the 'teachers' gave up pretending to be teachers and doing some of the silly pointless things they so often do, then I wouldn't have much against it.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but "silly pointless things?" Such as?

Such as following company lesson plans, doing drills, listen and repeat and a whole host of gimmicky things designed to make it look like the student is going to learn something.

This is how it works eh? Stick any old monkey in a suit in front of people, give 'em a textbook and a very fragmentary outline of a communicative teaching "method", and off you go.

I agree with the above, if they didn't couch it up in such BS and were straight with people about what it is, i.e. a native speaker talking to people and attempting to string some sort of a "lesson" together, I don't think it'd attract the same sort of opprobrium.

They sell it as language learning to new instructors definitely, and to people who want to learn a language, yes. However, they're the minority. When someone comes in wanting to do eikaiwa for all those other reasons that people do it - entertainment, hobby, meet-a-foreigner, get a life etc. etc. - they'll sell it in a way that gets those people in. I think that if they sell it too much as language learning to those sorts of people, chances are they might scare them off. They have to pitch their sales correctly. That's where they make their money.

Yes, but eikaiwa teachers are supposed to teach everyone the same way whether they're serious about studying English or not, because they're probably all going to end up taking classes together. The pace, content and levels of difficulty and teacher support are supposed to be varied according to the backgrounds, interests and ability of different students, but there is also supposed to be a learning outcome for each lesson. I mean, a lot of people just play the piano as a hobby, but if they're paying for lessons I think they actually expect to get better at it. A lot of students do complain about the teachers or quit if they feel they aren't getting anywhere.

Eikaiwa is basically an extra hobby, a bit of entertainment for people. There's little substance to it generally, and when times are tough, things like that will be the first things to get cut from people's monthly budgets.

.

If eikaiwa is just an extra hobby and a bit of entertainment, what do you think the teachers get told in basic training they're supposed to do? NOVA's 3-day training isn't really sufficient, but if all the teachers were expected to do was talk to the students for 40 minutes, they wouldn't even need 3 hours of training. Eikaiwa owners do not set out to run schools where there is nothing going on except chatting and entertainment. Unfortunately they don't know anything about teaching and neither do the people they employ - if they did they would have to be paid more - so that's pretty much all that does go on. Eikaiwa looks okay in principle. It doesn't work in practice.

Such as following company lesson plans, doing drills, listen and repeat and a whole host of gimmicky things designed to make it look like the student is going to learn something.

I think you'll probably find that a lot of more reputable and credible English language schools also have lesson plans, drills and listen and repeat. What are the other gimmicky things?

Just back to the original topic at hand, I can tell you that there are about 150-160 Geos schools now, but when the closures happen at the end of the month, there will be about 50, so I don't know where this clown pulled this '20 schools are closing' malarky from.

Just back to the original topic at hand, I can tell you that there are about 150-160 Geos schools now, but when the closures happen at the end of the month, there will be about 50, so I don't know where this clown pulled this '20 schools are closing' malarky from.

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It sounded implausible to me too. I'd imagine that any GEOS school located near a NOVA school, especially one they're paying obscenely high rent on, will be on the closure list.

GEOS teachers, both Japanese and native speakers of English, that work at a school about to close should consider collecting student contact details and handing out leaflets to the students.
I expect a local English school would pay them 2000yen per student successfully introduced. And also pay them a fee to teach these students at that local school. For example, 2000yen per class of 3 or more students to native speakers and 1000yen per class to Japanese speakers.
Off course it would be better for the GEOS teacher to take all the students elsewhere and pocket all the fees but this is difficult for kids classes and students unwilling to travel.
In addition, the local school will provide administration and staff for telephone queries etc, And it would protect both student and teacher alike from false claims of any type.
Also, if the opportunity arises, the GEOS teacher might find more work within the local school.

"...You are right, of course. Those people do care. The reason that they care is that they still think those things make a difference, when in fact they make little to none. I do feel sorry for those people but sooner or later they will learn the sad truth. Probably around the time that their tickets run out...."

In regards to the ex-geos students- I think it's rather more that they are financially invested, can't get a refund or cancel their contracts (many i believe have still yet to see a gcomm contract) than any great disillusionment with the business plans of eikaiwa.

I'm all for a discussion as to the merits and detriments of eikaiwa, but how about keeping it to the forums or a blog post relative to that topic?

This blog was about NOVA X GEOS.

You probably know more of the gimmics than I do Mr X, and many of them have their place in organisations that are actually geared towards getting results with people, but eikaiwas use these things to create the impression that they are the same, when they are not. Having lesson plans with outcomes attached to them is just a joke. Sure you can sometimes get people to do something they weren't able to do before at the end of a class that is highly controlled, but that is meaningless if they can't do the same thing next week, month, year. Sustained and quantifiable increases in ability are the goal of real educational organisations - which eikaiwas are not.

People can call this off topic if they like. But it bothers me that there are still people who take this all seriously and actually making comments on how to 'improve' these places. Real improvements of a kind that would validate these organisations claims to be real teaching enterprises are simply not going to happen. Take David English School for example. They made big claims to educational authenticity that were, in my opinion largely bogus.

I'm all for a discussion as to the merits and detriments of eikaiwa, but how about keeping it to the forums or a blog post relative to that topic?

This blog was about NOVA X GEOS.

Right enough. My point was, though, that if Inayoshi isn't going to try to run his eikaiwa business more competently than he's been doing so far, student numbers will continue to drop. I think these comments are particularly pertinent to the NOVA situation:

Sure you can sometimes get people to do something they weren't able to do before at the end of a class that is highly controlled, but that is meaningless if they can't do the same thing next week, month, year. Sustained and quantifiable increases in ability are the goal of real educational organisations - which eikaiwas are not.

Yes, I agree. The NOVA idea that students can take lessons any time they like, just jump around the textbook units in no particular order and somehow learn something is just utterly ridiculous and totally impractical. The conditions needed for such a system to produce any sort of achievement simply do not exist at NOVA. Furthermore, in a wider context the NOVA 'curriculum' is totally meaningless. Progressing to level 3 (effectively the most advanced level) isn't going to help anyone get into university or impress job interviewers. The textbooks are a joke - anyone involved in ELT publishing would laugh at them. However, as you also point out, nothing is going to change, and while I don't know much about teaching standards at GEOS I have a feeling that GEOS students switching to NOVA won't be very impressed.

that is true - the methods are very different in that geos students paid for the same time, class, text and teacher week-in-week-out

the idea of joining whatever class is going with varying mateial and different teachers is not what they've come to expect - however considering that the ex-geos students were given a take-it-or-leave-it deal
when they continued their courses through gcomm - I doubt that NOVA is worried about that at all.

that is true - the methods are very different in that geos students paid for the same time, class, text and teacher week-in-week-out

When G.com took over they did introduce a more conventional, set time and day option for students, so that might be more to the GEOS students' taste. However, the lessons in the NOVA textbooks aren't even presented in any kind of coherent order - in one lesson the topic will be asking for permission and in the one after that it'll be body language. It makes no sense whatsoever. I wouldn't have thought the GEOS textbooks were that fantastic, but they have to be better than the crap NOVA is using.

the idea of joining whatever class is going with varying mateial and different teachers is not what they've come to expect - however considering that the ex-geos students were given a take-it-or-leave-it deal
when they continued their courses through gcomm - I doubt that NOVA is worried about that at all.

They might start to worry when all the ex-GEOS students start flooding them with complaints about how shit the lessons and the teachers are.

well - I guess there will be a certain percentage of students who will complain, and a certain percentage who vote with their feet, but it certainly seems as if gcomm were more interested in the geos student base than in the geos schools, teachers or 'method' when they made such a big deal back in April of taking over geos.

It does make me wonder what will happen to geos' homestay section, or their business English section now that gcomm has decided to fold everything into NOVA.

As I understand it, NOVA had neither a homestay or business division.

well - I guess there will be a certain percentage of students who will complain, and a certain percentage who vote with their feet, but it certainly seems as if gcomm were more interested in the geos student base than in the geos schools, teachers or 'method' when they made such a big deal back in April of taking over geos.

It does make me wonder what will happen to geos' homestay section, or their business English section now that gcomm has decided to fold everything into NOVA.

As I understand it, NOVA had neither a homestay or business division.

The old NOVA Corp did have study overseas courses, but not any kind of business division. I think Inayoshi might be interested in keeping some kind of homestay arrangement going, and maybe the business division too - I'm not sure that all of the old GEOS operations are being absorbed by NOVA.

well - I guess there will be a certain percentage of students who will complain, and a certain percentage who vote with their feet, but it certainly seems as if gcomm were more interested in the geos student base than in the geos schools, teachers or 'method' when they made such a big deal back in April of taking over geos.

by "certain percentage", you mean "large majority".

and it seems gcon miscalculated. to a large extent, geos's brand image was based around building close relations with and among students - a world away from nova's impersonal "grab a slot when you can, with whichever teacher and students you can, and NO PARTYING" philosophy.

maybe they are finally getting the message. there is now talk in my region of reversing some of the upcoming closures. i guess it's been prompted by the lack of uptake of nova contracts.

it is absurd in the extreme, of course, to think it will succeed having already canned the teachers and tried to convert the students to nova. sure, students will stick around to use up their contracts - they've paid for them, no matter how much they regret it now. some teachers will hang on, but only until they find another job. (in my case, this is the final straw - begging in the streets holds less shame than working for these assholes).

basically everyone, teachers and students alike, will have their eyes firmly fixed on the exit sign. anyone who doesn't is dumber than the brainless assclowns in charge who think that their actions since april could ever be defined as "management".

I wouldn't have thought the GEOS textbooks were that fantastic, but they have to be better than the crap NOVA is using.

that is a scary thought! i always thought the universe would implode or something if crappier textbooks than geos's ever came into existence!

on a slightly more serious note, i have heard nova textbooks are easier to use. as an experienced teacher used to using textbooks that were at least grammatically literate, if not always fun, i spent hours in a funk trying to find ways to get fun and something proper to teach out of the geos textbooks. they suck elephant balls, big time.

as an experienced teacher used to using textbooks that were at least grammatically literate, if not always fun, i spent hours in a funk trying to find ways to get fun and something proper to teach out of the geos textbooks. they suck elephant balls, big time.

Never seen one, I'll take your word for it. Did you have to come up with your own lesson plans from scratch as well? The Nova units are pretty much designed so that you can use the same basic lesson plan with each one, so after a while the amount of planning required is effectively zero.

I'm working on a new language service in Japan to compete with the traditional Eikawa. If you are a teacher or interested in learning about it, and potentially being involved, please write to me at: bradmarshall75(at)gmail.com

I look forward to talking to you.

Brad

Last straw??

Anyone who didn't quit GEOS back in the spring has to be entirely gullible! You believed them?? You trusted them?? I just pity you. By the way, I quit GEOS in July 2009 and got a new job, best thing I ever did.

If GEOS instructors (Japanese and native speakers of English) in Itsukaichi find that they are not re-employed when their branch closes on October 31, and have contact details for students that may be unable to relocate to another branch or take lessons at a site available to the instructors (I.E. Kids/local cafe etc), they should consider contacting a school in the vicinity of their doomed branch.
It may prove possible for the instructors to teach the same students under the umbrella of the local school.
Email me to discuss at davidsensei88@yahoo.co.jp
We have an official email address but do not choose to publicize it on a noticeboard.

By the way, the official email address for the above is: iamascavenger@fleabag.com

Scavengers are better than GEOS, Nova, or any other douchebag of an organization out there. GEOS is lower than a scavenger.

On thread GEOS Scuttlebuck you can find my offer as shown below.
When I lost my job at Nova 3 years ago I would have appreciated a chance like this. I expect the teachers to pick up as many of the students as they can and teach them on their own terms at their own chosen venue.

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 14:04 — David Price (not verified)
Itsukaichi GEOS
If you are a GEOS teacher and your school is closing, consider collecting student contact details and approaching a local private school with the list.
The local private school may make an arrangement whereby you can teach your students out of that school.
For example, the students will pay a monthly 8,000yen fee to the private school. They will have a 50 minute lesson at a fixed time each week. You will teach the lesson in the private school. The private school will provide accommodation administration and a school environment-not a cafe or etc. The school will share the fee with you 50-50.
If you teach kids classes this could be a useful proposition as the kids will most likely be unable to relocate to a distant venue.

I advised this approach a month or two ago. I hope you collected the details.

I worked for old-Nova from March 2005 to Sept. 2007...G. Com from Jan. 2008 to Jan. 2009 and GEOS from February 2009 to Nov. 2009. After all the BS I had to endure working in eikaiwa...I gave up and decided to look into other fields of employment. I finally got myself into a real job outside of ther english teaching industry and it pays better than eikaiwa.
I feel sorry for all of you sticking around and trying to make the best of a bad economy and bad working conditions...its not getting any easier.

Is there a new list of schools closing this round? I'm interested because I run a private school in competition with a GEOS nearby and U'm really hoping it's going to be on the shut list :)

I'm not U'm.

Sorry about that.

Seems to be just getting going. But like it will be interesting.

http://berlitzjapan.wordpress.com/

Shawn, feel free to move this post to a better spot, if you like.

Poodle said at 11:08 on 2010/11/02:

You moan, you whine, and you forget......
.......you forget that through Eikaiwa you get to live and learn in a country that is ancient and has a culture that is vastly different to your own. Without Eikaiwa most of you would never have the opportunity to live and work in magnificent and intriguing Japan. Rather than bitch and moan, cherish your time, and embrace each and every moment, you get to share, with your wonderful hosts, the Japanese.

Hello Mike, how was your time in Japan?

Oh Hi Betty, I spend most of my time sitting in my room, hating my employer, and posting on LetJapan about how terrible everything is, so, I don't really know. One moment I was in Japan, and the next minute, I closed the lid on my laptop and it was time to go home. I think I had an OK time but well I just don't know what happened to my time. Shucks.

Well put, although a bit off topic on the GEOS NA thread... What a pity eikaiwa is going to the dogs because of the short-sightedness, cluelessness and general incompetence of the morons in charge of chains like Nova and GEOS. And I'm afraid the word is getting out - http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20101102zg.html:

Yoshiko Yamamoto, an adult studying at the school, echoes that sentiment.
"I don't like the way that the major chain schools charge their fees. It's very complicated and has left the schools with a bad reputation," she says. "The teachers also tend to be badly trained on many occasions and you aren't guaranteed to be taught by somebody you get on with."

Dominic Berry, an English teacher, says in the same article:

"Big chain companies very often are run by people who do not speak English and have no interest in learning English. For these people, eikaiwa is just another product that they buy and sell. You often find that the CEOs are not interested."

Let's Japan's Thir believes the lessons of the collapse of Nova and Geos have fallen on deaf ears among management at the remaining large eikaiwa chains.

"Despite all of the negative press (in the aftermath of the bankruptcies)," he says, "the schools appear to have done nothing to change things for the better."

Better enjoy your eikaiwa experience in Japan before the next round of bankruptcies, Poodle...

14:55 It was completely off-topic in the Open Hearts-GEOS thread. The moron did not even read the thread, so it makes you wonder what his/ her true intentions were. The posters in that thread are talking about Japan-owned GEOS, with many probably never even setting foot in Japan before.

As for "perfect little Japan", well, I think most on here all know that the "ancient culture" is pretty messed up and maybe not as exciting or rewarding to be involved in as once thought................

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