December 04, 2007

NOVA rekindled


Fifteen years ago I worked at an Eikaiwa school in Osaka. It was a lot smaller than NOVA, but it had the same business plan, wasn't run very ethically, and went bankrupt at the end of the 1990s. More recently, ethical problems forced English-teaching giant NOVA into bankruptcy. Holding corporation G.Communications picked up NOVA's assets and merged them with the recently-acquired EC English schools. Neither school has a good reputation among English teachers. Only time will tell if the new owner will do more than apply a fresh coat of paint.

Student can nevertheless make good use of even shadily-run Eikaiwa schools. (NOVA got into trouble for not refunding legitimately-canceled contracts, so read the fine print.) In fact, I would recommend that serious students find the school that offers the cheapest access to a native speaker. Even Eikaiwa "teachers" who haven't studied teaching or grammar know what correctly-spoken English sounds like. Students motivated to study on their own can utilize these schools simply in order to use the teachers as sounding boards.

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