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The Rise of Eikaiwa Online

At this time last year, with Nova gone, LJers in the forums were talking about how Skype and lessons online would be the future of eikaiwa. A year to the day that thread was started, J-cast News ran a story on the rapid growth of eikaiwa lessons online. The article reads more like an advertisement than a piece of journalism as it only focuses on three very new online schools, so it's difficult to gauge the popularity or success of online eikaiwa.

The article mentions three schools.

Gun-Gun

  • Set up just this past September.
  • For 6,000 yen a month allows you to take up to two 25-minute lessons a day via Skype. On a per lessons basis, that works out to 100 yen per lesson.
  • Why are they so cheap? Their teachers are in the Philippines and work from their homes. Japanese staff travel to the Philippines to recruit experienced instructors and university grads.
  • In just two months Gungun has 600 registered students and 30 instructors, with plans to hire another 10 to 20 instructors.
  • Some of the instructors even speak Japanese and Gungun uses this as a sale point to reassure beginners.
  • The "school" day runs from 10AM to 25PM, (Yes, the article says 25 o'clock. Only in Japan will you find the 25-hour, 26-hour, or even 27-hour clock.). The usual pattern is housewives in the morning followed by salarymen in the evening.
  • Online lessons are already popular in Korea. (Nice dig at Japan, J-Cast. If the Koreans are already doing it, then Japan must be really, really far behind.)

Rare Job

  • One of the biggest online schools, had 6,000 registered students at the beginning of September, which increased to 17,000 as of November.
  • They started in 2007 with just 10 Filippino instructors and now boast 800 instructors.
  • All of the instructors are either university students or graduates. This allows students to choose an instructor that meets their needs. For example, if a student wants to learn conversation in a medical setting, he can be paired with an instructor who has a medical background.
  • Charges 130 yen for a 25 minute lesson, a veritable steal compared to online Caucasian instructors who charge at least 1,000 yen per hour. (Oh brother!)

Ripple Kids Park

  • Started in November and is geared toward teaching children from the ages of 1 to 15.
  • Instructors are also Filippino. RKP employs instructors with experience in internationals schools or working for American companies. (This makes them good?).
  • RKP lessons cost 4,980 yen for one 25 minute lesson a week for a month. This works out to 1,300 yen per lesson. It sounds expensive but is still cheaper than actually going to a real school since more than one person can sit in front of the computer and attend the lesson at the same time.
  • RKP says that price wars have already started but claims that other "schools" do business by preying on students unfamiliar with the eikaiwa racket business. For RKP, it's nothing but the best: professional, career-oriented instructors (Cough, cough, cough! Where have I heard that bullshit line before?), and RKP's goal is to carve out a niche in the "high end" online eikaiwa business.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before online eikaiwa took off. The technology is there for the taking. Even if the lessons were awful, people probably wouldn't feel too bad about losing a few hundred yen. How can you beat that price? Well, it's easy. You do it with quality. (Note to Gungun, its "copyright," not "Copy Right.")

Update 12/8: The Yomiuri has a nearly identical story. Is it Let's Feature Online Eikaiwa Schools Week in the newsrooms?

Rare Job, another online service with Filipino instructors, has attracted 17,000 registered users since launching two years ago.

The service offers four pricing plans, ranging from 3,000 yen to 8,000 yen. Lessons are available 9 p.m.-1 a.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m.-noon on weekends. Each lesson lasts 25 minutes. They can be booked up to five minutes before a session is scheduled to begin.

Rare Job has about 8,000 instructors, who, it says, have been chosen from among students and alumni of the University of the Philippines, one of the country's most prestigious institutions.

Eigo de Syaberitai Club is yet another example. It features instructors who are currently teaching English to nonnative speakers at eight language schools in the Philippines.

To take these lessons, users pay their tuition via credit card or bank transfer, but they are not charged registration fees.

For students, affordability seems to be one of the most attractive features of these online lessons. They work out to a mere few hundred yen per hour, much cheaper than the few thousand yen per hour they could expect to pay for instructors from Britain or the United States.

But before you commit, you should always first take advantage of a trial lesson.

Japan: 

Comments

Thanks for that guys. Wasn't aware of any of those services.

On a bit of a side note, I'm kinda pleased to see you guys running drupal. I've been experimenting with it lately, would love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line sometime.

For 6,000 yen a month allows you to take up to two 25-minute lessons a day via Skype. On a per lessons basis, that works out to 100 yen per lesson.

Interesting post, Shawn. I haven't seen prices in the Eikaiwa game this cheap since all the ex-Nova "teachers" were teaching for onigiri and chu-hi on park benches around Japan after Nova went bust.

Their teachers are in the Philippines and work from their homes.

I think Filipinas are much better on webcam doing their traditional gigs, like taking their clothes off for Japanese Salarymen, rather than teaching them English! LOL! (Yep, I'm going straight to hell...)

Not surprised at all there! Good for the Pinos! They are going to be running the English teaching Japan in a few years anyway. They are more long term than any 'Western' teacher...

And more importantly, they are happy working for shit pay...everyone wins!

"And more importantly, they are happy working for shit pay...everyone wins!"

Good point. They'll most likely be bit docile and accept second class treatment, which the Japanese will love. 日本は立て社会ね!
No more ungrateful Westerner's demands.

Luke

I guess those poor TOEIC / TOEFL scores that Japan is famous for will start shooting up now! Can't wait to see the reports coming in.

I enjoy reading these blog posts because they are informative, sometimes entertaining, and some people have well-thought-out things to say. But please do not say anything negative about the Filipino people. I am half-Filipino.

or are you Filipino on the right side ala Frank Gorshin?

OH Im just funning ya!...youre all cute and wonderful!!

;)

If you don't like what you see on this forum, then go somewhere else. You've already been told once.

So do I take it that you liked the above comments? If not, you really should be consistent and go.

I didn't not like them, therefore I'll be staying. How about yourself?

I didn't not like them, therefore I'll be staying. How about yourself?

How about me? When I like something, I say so if I feel like it. When I don't like something, I say so if I feel like it. Whether I stay or go is also based on what I feel like.

Me too - great minds think alike.

Thorn, your posts are making me laugh today. Cheers.
Where's Canada Jin's insight?

"But please do not say anything negative about the Filipino people."

Ferdinand Marcos was a theiving, murdering cunt.

Estrada is a fat, cheating fraud who should be in jail.

Manny Pacquiao can't box for shit, and is gonna get pasted by Mayweather.

This should be a wake up call for anyone in the English educaiton industry. There is cheaper more flexable labour out there. There are more people speaking English in non traditionaly speaking countries than in all the English speaking contries combined. The only thing standing between us and joblessness in the snobishness of the the Japanee consumer. Thank your lucky stars and do your jobs well because it is easy to get over snobishness.

Exactly, case in point being the the British Council in India who have just opened a school with exclusively non-native speaking English teachers. Given that these teachers are almost always much cheaper, have a greater appreciation of the particular problems facing learners in that context and are often, quite honestly, more enthusiastic, flexible and eager to work I'd put money on there being a huge rise in people learning with a NNSET, and schools becoming more willing to take on NNSETs in meaningful roles of equal staus to native English speakers.

Now this may come a bit later in Japan, but it'll come. Just look at the Koreans; the fastest growing market for ELT providers in Korea right now is the Phillippines. Korean business-people set up a shonky little school, staff it with locals they can pay a pittance and ship over the students who end up paying half of what they would studying in Oz or NZ.

I'm sure that there will still be jobs for native-speaking English teachers, but it'll increasingly be specialised teaching jobs for highly trained, well-qualified teachers teaching EAP and ESP, or other niche teaching roles requiring a native level of fluency. And hell, why not? Why should Japanese learners (or learners anywhere for that matter) pour their money into classes only to receive half-baked "teaching" from someone with no training or understanding of how to teach?

"Confessions of an eikaiwa teacher (or, how I found a way to extend my student days to last throughout my twenties)"

I doubt that the 3rd world English teacher thing will gain much traction in Japan. There is too much racism involved. If anything, attempts to go this way will only hasten the demise of eikaiwa as it exists now (not a bad thing, I would say).

More likely, in Japan, there will be an increasing tendency to prefer a Japanese teacher. The number of fluent Japanese speakers of English is increasing all the time, and generally they will be able to do a better job, than the native English new grad.

I'd put money on there being a huge rise in people learning with a NNSET, and schools becoming more willing to take on NNSETs in meaningful roles of equal staus to native English speakers.

I know Interac have hired non-native ALTs to help them cut costs, although I think the schools weren't happy about it and they lost contracts over it.

I'm sure that there will still be jobs for native-speaking English teachers, but it'll increasingly be specialised teaching jobs for highly trained, well-qualified teachers teaching EAP and ESP

I agree with you, the way forward as an English teacher is to get yourself qualified to teach, as opposed to just sitting there 8 hours a day talking shite. Carry on doing that if you want, but make sure you've made out your will and taken out life insurance.

Estrada is no longer the president of the Philippines. It's been about eight years since he was impeached and imprisoned. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is now President of the Philippines, but she is just as corrupt and conniving. She too should have been impeached a long time ago.

My god! I hope your job is NOT teaching English! And if you are a native English speaker, you give all of us a bad name! Check out your spelling; or at least proofread before you send your reply. A total embarrassment for English speakers!

I agree with the first two points.. but Manny getting pasted by Mayweather? Phulezz! Mayweather is a shit-scared of Manny! LOL. Too funny.

GUNGUN EIKAIWA is still number 1` . and please for those who have insecurities or hatreds for FILIPINOS, please stop saying TOO GENERALIZED NEGATIVE THINGS. It won't do anything good for us or EVEN FOR YOURSELF. Well, I think THOSE WHO CRITICIZED FILIPINOS without even knowing them and their culture are considered very NARROW-MINDED people. IT ONLY PROVES THAT SOME OF YOU HERE ARE LIKE THAT. Hahaha. Peace out people.

A POINTER TO PONDER: "Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you" -- Confucius

I feel sorry for you... maybe it's because you badly wanted to take your clothes off for Japanese men, but couldn't for fear of showing your curves placed on the wrong places.

TRIVIA:
People who criticize a lot are people who were bullied or were unfairly treated during their childhood. What you hate most about other people is the very thing that you possess.

Seriously, it is not a good thing to stereotype people...I wish you will be given the chance to to meet nice Filipinos around your community.

Filipina's are not native English speakers anyway. They speak a bastardised version of Spanish/American influenced English, usually only at a pigeon level. They do not deserve the honorific title of Native English Speaking Sensei, and consumers of their brand of English language should do so, knowing the quality of product is the bottom of the barrel. Sure, go there for a holiday, even though the food is very average, but leave your exposure to any Filipina at that. And, take condoms.

Sure, go there for a holiday, even though the food is very average, but leave your exposure to any Filipina at that. And, take condoms.

If you're suggesting extremely limited contact with the locals, why do you think the condoms are even necessary? What do you recommend doing with them?

End of the work week here in NA at GEOS...

1. People bitching, but nothing new there...

2. Little guy you all are so affectionate for let slip out about his time on this board. Some of you guessed right.

3. Little guy pretty much resigned himself to the fact he lost the argument/ propaganda war/ etc on here with many posters.

4. Rita not happy...Rita was on here also trying hard but told to "ignore" things on here and get back to work sucking ass with the Koreans.

5. Anyone see any Open Hearts sale notification? We, the staff of GEOS, haven't...But keep a close eye on OH Web site and if there are any links still up regarding "partner schools" like ILSC. LSC, etc. Clues will be there just before the announcement. And, yes, the "sale" is WAY behind schedule...You figure the rest out...Some have on here, for the most part..........

6. Uri gay? Bi? Who freakin' knows with this guy. Anything is possible.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone......

End of the work week here in NA at GEOS...

I don't care. Post this stuff on the GEOS NA/Open Hearts thread, it has nothing at all to do with online eikaiwa.

I know who posted it...Contacted him and told him I would re-post it on OH thread. He said he was writing quickly on a GEOS computer, so you can figure he did not pay much attention to where it landed.

Discussion moved. Carry on.

We are talking about Filipina on-line instruction and not about GEOS NA. Whenever anything useful gets said idiots in here try to divert the topic of conversation to GEOS NA. GEOS NA conversation is getting just as tiresome as all that CELTA stuff from Macko was. What's next? Encarnacion Julia going to come out of her closet and start posting again? She already is posting in here, but is using to tag ANONYMOUS. Do you want her to come in here and totally ruin this place? Well if you do then keep on posting for ever about GEOS NA like you have been. That stupid thread does one thing and one thing only. It attracts loopy people.

Learn filippino-english for only 100 Yen an hour and get what you pay for!
I generally agree with most of this post:
"Filipina's are not native English speakers anyway. They speak a bastardised version of Spanish/American influenced English, usually only at a pigeon level. They do not deserve the honorific title of Native English Speaking Sensei, and consumers of their brand of English language should do so, knowing the quality of product is the bottom of the barrel."
I had to read it three times to understand half of it.
Thanks for the spelling of "pigeon english" - that's a classic!!!
I'm not a native speaker, btw.
I like your spirit!

This Native English Speaker thing. It's only a matter of time before it goes out the window. The majority of speakers in the world are not native speakers. Of those that are, they speak dozens of different dialects. The 'real' proper English, (which half the native speakers who end up teaching have to consult text books and study up to find out what it is) is an invention of academics and publishing houses with a vested interest in maximising profits.

Give it enough time and a new English will take over. It will have it's own rules which are different from what's written in today's textbooks, and the contribution of native speakers will no longer worth the bucks it has been in the past.

Also, on the subject of teaching, I think that languages are much better being taught by people who are not native speakers but have risen through their own efforts to the point of excellence in a foriegn toungue. People like this have a far better understanding of the process of acquisition than people fresh out of college who have either never learned another language, or who have not got very far in their efforts. It is also considerably helpful if said teacher is a native speaker of the mother toungue of the students.

Whilst it is true that Native speakers do work out the meanings of things by a process of guesswork, when they have no other method available, these people also have the luxury of 24 hour a day immersion in thier mother toungue in which to employ such methods. People who are only studying a language for 5 hours a week should not be wasting time trying to figure out what things mean when some one is there who can just tell them exactly what it means and then just get on and practice it.

This is the reason that, whilst having nothing at all against Fillipino people, I think there are problems with importing people who are not fluent Japanese speakers to teach English. What is required is better Japanese teachers of English.

6:13 If most of your post is true, then English will sadly not be the dominate language in the future. The whole reason why it is so dominant (one of them) is because of it balanced flexibility (the French never got this one) with a foundation of pride and rules. The balance is key to enabling newcomers to English-speaking countries to learn and work in the language, sometimes with little formal education, and the rules govern the long-term strength of the language. You need both of them to survive as the world's leading language.

For English to sustain its world dominance, we do not need Filipino "bastardization" or any other form of non-native English speakers manipulating the language for convenience, bias and ease. There is a reason that no one really cares about speaking any language other than English found in the Phillipines, India, Sri Lanka, even Japan. The English language is already flexible, and will evolve, but doesn't need to be pushed too far in any one direction.

Poor english and a strong accent will always reflect negatively on the speaker. If someone says: "Yesterday she go with him to home" I'll think to myself: "Where did you learn english? On the street?"
The better your english, the more respect you get, the more people will listen to you because you can verbally bring your point or your opinion across. There are plenty of reasons to study hard to get it right, and you'll need a qualified teacher. A person speaking english well projects the image of having had a good education, having spent lots of money on private lessons, having travelled and spent time in foreign countries and coming from a good home.
That said I agree that "native english" speaking teachers are overrated; I worked with scottish, welsh, australian and other teachers and could hardly understand what they're saying, but they acted as if they were the real thing. One local teacher (I live in Thailand) of a high school where I was teaching told me he could understand me the best - and I was the only non-native teacher! Later I couldn't find work at a government school because I didn't have a degree and wasn't a "native". You don't need all that to teach students who know almost nothing!

English with a capital letter???

Yup, you are sooo perfect.

Nice to see you in hear Arnel.

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