So you might think that my top five summer lessons would be:

  1. Summer Clothes - featuring the eternally popular Baby Money.
  2. Summer Sports - great for an after Summer review with “What did you do in the Summer?”
  3. Under the Sea - check out the Nemo Game!
  4. Pirates Colours - Ooo arrrr!
  5. Mr Octopus – (try the intro of this animation on a projector with younger kids, up to about 6, they just go crazy when the waves start to move.  I have no idea why – but give it a try!)


However ….. those of you who know Genki English will know the basically MBA level psychology behind everything we do ( I can …,  ending on a positive note,  Superhero poses to get genki, etc.)   so ….. my real top three lessons for Summer are ….

  1. Let’s build a snowman - even more popular this year thanks to Frozen!
  2. Winter Sports - super cool stuff.
  3. The Ice Cream Song - speaks for itself I think. :)


The reason?

It’s simple.

If you want to ace a test,  you picture yourself with the final successful result paper.

If you want to speak fluent English,  you picture yourself speaking fluently to Scarlett Johansson (even if it’s only on your phone :) )

And if you want to cool down?

Spend all day looking at pictures of snowmen, winter scenes and ice cream - an instant, psychological drop in temperature!

Remember what the Good Cat says –   just chill!


Be genki,



Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.

For those of you spending your summer selling USBs for the Genki English Homework programme, here’s a quick tip to speed things up:

photo (13)

Get a couple of USB extension boxes so you can do 5, 10 or 15 at once!

They’re less than $10/1000 yen each so should save you lots of time.

Better than a franchise?

Also this weekend, after speaking to many teachers who belong to franchise schools, then I’ve realised that our homework prices are far too cheap.

They are forced to sell bundles of textbooks to students each year  and the price is over $200 / 20,000 yen.

Plus the teachers don’t get to keep any of it,  it all goes straight to the franchise company!

So just like I advise you to do with your class lessons,  we’re going to be increasing the price students pay to $290 / 29,000 yen from the end of September.

And  you still keep 50%  (unlike the 1% or 0$ that the franchises give -which I think is crazy – I want to support you guys in your businesses by giving you extra income streams!)

(Plus of course, in the eyes of parents, having your own branded software is *way* better than a paper textbook these days!)


Just getting started?

Many of you in your third year now make the USB homework a compulsory part of your courses,  but for those of you in your first or second year with maybe still a few parents who are on the fence, telling them the price will increase from the end of September is always a good excuse for them to get on board, and to get their kids into the faster learning streams.

Ninja Tip:  If you have half the class doing the software at home, and half not,  then be prepared for having to split the class next school year.  There will be just too much of a gap between the two.   This also helps with any fears you might have about parents illegally copying the material, because they can only move up to the higher class if they have bought the pack from you!

As always I’m here to support you all and I am still always impressed by what happens when schools start using Genki English for homework,  it certainly makes all the hard work worthwhile!

Be genki,


P.S.  At the workshops people also asked what to do about siblings.   Many programmes force the parents to buy two sets,  but I don’t think that’s really for the best, so usually we say they only have to buy one per family.  Unless of course you really want to sell them 2 of course!

P.P.S.   A few new teachers have also asked “just what is the USB homework thing?”  :)

It’s basically how we get the really fast results from Genki English by letting the kids purchase the software to use at home, from you, at a discounted price.

I’m not taking any new schools for the programme at the moment, but when I have new slots open I put your logo on the Genki English software, give you permission to sell copies of the programme to students,  then you put the software on USBs …


If you want to take your school to the next level by making it into a real business *and* make a much bigger difference in your kids’ lives then this is the way to do it!   As I say I can’t enroll any new schools at the moment (I’ve got far too much on at the minute!) but hopefully I’ll have some slots open later in the year so do keep an eye on the blog!

Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.

photo (12)

Just got back from a massive 3 day, 3 city tour of Japan.  Totally shattered but fantastic teachers, some of the success stories were amazing!

I’ll write up more soon,  but a quick tip today from Ken in Tokyo

If you’re having problems explaining to parents just how good their kids will get in a way the parents understand,  emotionally resonate with and get impressed by …. he tells his parents:

I can promise you that if we work together and your children come to my classroom,  they’ll be speaking better English than the local Junior High School English teachers!

Now those of us in the know know that this is an unbelievably easy target to achieve, but to parents it sounds *very* impressive! :)

I’ve got a ton of tips, stories and more like this from teachers who’ve gone from zero to having waiting lists of students – as well as parents almost begging them to raise their prices! – so if you join a workshop, definitely join in the lunches and dinners too,  that’s where the real action is! :)

Thanks again to everyone and I’ll write up everything we did as soon as I work through my email inbox!

Be genki,


Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.

Just so I don’t forget,  please remind me to do this in the (now sold out) workshops this weekend  - the New Animal Voices Picture Book!



Thanks to Nigel for the idea and if it goes well I’ll get the update on the site for you all soon!

Would you like me to try some of the games to go with it too?

Be genki,



Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.

tanzaniareportIf you’re trying to persuade your school or Board of Education to choose Genki English then you can’t really ask for more than the research from Harvard University on using Genki English & Genki Phonics.

Quite a few people have asked me for the citations for the research, so here you go:

Schlemmer, Emily. (2012). Statistical Analysis of the ELT4Mafia pre and post testing data. Harvard
Graduate School of Education.

And of course the golden quote,  which was such a relief and made all the hard work worthwhile, was:

“Based on a variety of analyses, it has been confirmed that the …. program had a significant, positive and robust impact on students’ learning outcomes“.

You can read more about the project in the report here.

(And do check out the US State Department logo on the cover!)

There is also the UK’s Oxford University research into Genki English from last year showing how the Genki English songs and stories were equally effective for teaching English.

What is Genki English?

If you are wanting a description of Genki English to show your school, here is a Press Release that was released by the British Council (the UK’s public organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.)

About Genki English

Richard Graham founded GenkiEnglish.com, a provider of teaching materials and training based on the Japanese concept of “Genki”. He is now working with the University of Newcastle in the UK to bring this “Genkiness” to schools for low income families in India, China and Africa as well as working with the British Council in Japan.

The Genki approach to learning English works by engaging all of the learners senses and appealing to a wide range of learning styles. Children are engaged visually through the simple but striking graphics, aurally/orally through the simple chants and songs and limited amounts of graded vocabulary input and kinaesthetically through the actions and games. Because all of the learning tasks are organised as game-like activities, children are immediately motivated to take part. Tasks are achievable and learners receive positive feedback throughout the learning process. It is important that teachers realise that just using the materials is not enough, the way the materials are used are just as important to fully engage learners and maximise learning.

The University of Newcastle have also done considerable research into Genki English, with really encouraging results.   I don’t think their research has been made public, but you can read about the projects in the Boston Times and we also got an acknowledgment in Professor James Tooley’s A Beautiful Tree – which is a fantastic read!

Combine this with TV shows, Movie Stars,  TEDxgovernments (the government of Western Australia have also just adopted the GenkiJapan.net materials) , countless MA dissertations, plus all you guys getting amazing results with Genki English each & every day, then how can your school resist! :)

We’ve still got a long way to go though,  so thank you all for all your support!

Be genki,


P.S.  If you are planning on doing any research into Genki English as part of your MA, PhD or undergraduate research then please do get in touch.  I’m always looking to learn where we can make things better,  and you might also persuade me to get cracking on with my own PhD!

P.P.S.  Really looking forward to seeing you all in Tokyo, Osaka & Nagoya this weekend,  I’ve got some amazing new things planned for you! :)  And we might also be adding a new date in Spain in October!

Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.

This is a great game that I used to use as an end of year review, lots of fun.

You can either use it in big groups, like I describe here.

(Or for smaller groups see lower down!)

1. Spread out lots of picture cards on the floor. (I used to use about 50 A4 cards at a time)

2. Put the kids into groups of about 5 or 6.

3. Two members from each group go upstairs along with the teacher who speaks the best English (if you are more than 1.)

4. The other members stay downstairs with the other teacher (if you have one!).

5. The upstairs kids have a piece of string (long enough to reach down to the floor below) which has magnet tied on the bottom. There is one for each team.

6. One of the kids from each upstairs team comes to the upstairs teacher and asks them today’s question.

7. The teacher tells them an answer using one of the picture cards below  (e.g.  What can you see?  with “I can see a dog”, “I can see a car” etc.)

8.   They go back to their fishing pole and their teammate below shouts the question up and the top kid repeats the answer the teacher just gave them.

9. The teammates search for that word amongst the picture cards.

10. When they’ve found the correct card they attach it to the magnet on the string.

11. The upstairs kids reel in the card.

12. They bring the card to the upstairs teacher, saying the English to them.

13.  They then re-ask the teacher the question who then tells them the next answer!

Remember to give each team different words to look for (otherwise you’ll have a big fight downstairs).

It’s also good to change the kids around (i.e. the upstairs kids go downstairs and the downstairs kids go upstairs) half way through.

Ninja Tip:  Thick string doesn’t tangle as much as thin string!

Fishing Game – For Smaller Groups

Or if you are in small groups, here’s a great version I learn at the ACET teacher’s meeting yesterday:

1.   Put fish minicards on a blue coloured mat.

photo 1

2.  The kids fish one fish each.  (Put a metal clip on each mini card, and again a magnet on the end of each string!)

3.  At the end give them a Fish Market sheet to fill in with the prices for each fish and how many of each they caught!

photo 2

4.  See which team got enough money to feed their families!


This is Japan so they were fishing sharks and all sorts.

But …. this is also a fantastic time to introduce some ecology if you wish and give the kids minus points for fishing endangered species or fish that are too small!

Or if you’re really into this type of thing, do check out the Sustainable Fishing Game!

Do let us know what you think in the comments!

Press the "+1" button if you like this!

Comment Competition: Every month I'll select a random comment to win a Genki English CD of your choice. Comment a lot and you have more chance of winning.