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May 2015 - Alan Simpson

posted May 11, 2015, 10:43 PM by NanKyu JALT   [ updated Sep 11, 2015, 7:00 PM ]

Hometown  Glasgow, Scotland
Location  Asahi Kasei Amidas, Nobeoka, Miyazaki
In Japan Since  2003
JALT Member Since  2009
SIG Member  Pragmatics, Business English, Bilingualism, Task Based Learning

Hi, my name’s Alan, and I’m glad I can share this little corner of Japan with you. When I first came here, I lived in Miyakonojo for 5 years, where I met my wife, and learned my trade working for a now defunct private English school. I enjoyed working there; planning lessons quickly, thinking on my feet and assessing students’ weaknesses. Back in Scotland, I was a fighter aircraft test systems engineer for 5 years. However, I wasn’t that keen on helping to kill people, and wanted to help instead, therefore, I took a leap of faith and jumped into English teaching. Now, I coordinate the English program at Asahi Kasei in Nobeoka. We have two teachers, and about 18 classes per week. We go to the chemical, pharmaceutical, electronic, fiber, and medial factories, and teach a range of students from recent graduates to senior managers, using various materials, to suit their needs and motivations. Recently, I finished my MSc in TESOL. My main focus was on the authentic business English as a lingua franca interaction between Chinese coworkers and my Japanese students. We used a process syllabus to study the problematic phonological patterns and discuss our comprehension (or lack of). This year, I aim to develop pedagogical materials to help my students to be tolerant when listening and flexible when dealing with the variety of Englishes they encounter. If you have an interest in English as a lingua franca, or just fancy a beer in this neck of the woods, please feel free to drop me a line at

Slainte mhath (slahnchə var) as we say in Scotland, which means that I wish you good health, and hope that you enjoy life in this sunny part of the world!