Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Where are you based?
We do not have a ‘school’ in the traditional sense because we have found that we do not need one. Our clients are based all over Tokyo and we find that being able to ‘go to them’ or meet at an interesting or learning relevant location is a far more efficient, effective, and engaging way to deliver our services.
In the same way that people are working in an increasingly mobile fashion so, we believe, education is becoming increasingly mobile. In this sense we can and do run our training sessions almost anywhere.
What we insist upon is that the training environment is not only quiet and comfortable but also stimulating; usually with interesting interior features such as art works, interesting decor, proximally to nature or gardens etc.
We currently deliver courses in Shimo-Kitazawa, Akasaka, Omotesando, Daikanyama, Harajuku and Shibuya but we are not restricted to these locations and can operate anywhere in Tokyo, Japan or over-seas if required.
Q2. How do you conduct training without a classroom?
We and our clients have found that working outside a classroom offers far more flexibility for learning activities and is ultimately much more stimulating and conducive to acquiring new skills.
We always utilise spaces that are quiet and comfortable, but that have interesting and relevant features which we often incorporate into the learning programme. Features such as art works, unique design, gardens or nature, items of historical interest or antiques.
In effect, once we know a client well enough, we seek out the environment that will most support our teaching content and their learning objectives.
Many of our sessions will include realia from the surrounding environment that is relevant to the client or client’s objectives, for example for an artist we may run the course or a part of the course at an art gallery, museum or their studio so that we can fully incorporate meaningful aspects of the environment into the learning process; this allows the language styles or forms taught to then be applied to talking about or describing a present work of art in the context of materials used, message, meaning, history, cultural context etc. The possibilities for practising meaningful, relevant language from this type of exercise are endless and incredibly valuable.
Additionally, we use an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and a suite of apps for drawing, writing, editing, rather than a white board, and all materials that are generated in session are electronically transferred to the client’s device during or at the end of the session.
We have found this system to be so popular and successful that most of our client’s now bring an iPad or laptop to their sessions so that we can share screens, exercises and materials, collaboratively as we work.
Extensive use is also made of the internet as and when appropriate.
For clients who often travel and do not want to disrupt their programme we are also adept at delivering sessions via Skype or similar technologies and applications.
Q3. Which programme or course should I choose?
The Generalist Course
During the free consultation we will be happy to advise you on which type of course we feel you would benefit you most, however; as a guide:
If you need to improve your general English Communication skills the most suitable course would most likely be the Generalist Course.
The key objective for this course is to promote clear and fluent communication, by helping the client build the confidence they need to engage with others, in English across a wide range of personal or professional situations.
The Generalist Course is based on an agreed learning text and/or personalised materials. The text will come from a variety of English Language texts readily available in Japan and which is selected to be appropriate for the participant’s English Language skill level and learning objectives. As with the Specialist Course, where necessary there will be some degree of customisation of the course and augmentation of learning materials to suit the participant’s needs and progress.
Every Generalist course is always personalised to the client’s specific needs.
This course is suited to both private one to one or group study.
The Specialist Course
The Specialist Course is designed for clients with clearly defined or specific Professional English Communication needs, for example: the need to present to international audiences, to speak at overseas conferences, to write academic papers for international journals or to interview international celebrities etc.
With the Specialist course we focus on developing the skills, experience and confidence in communicating that is essential to engage with an international, specialist community at an elevated level of English.
All materials for the Specialist Course are written by LABtokyo and specifically personalised to suit each client's learning needs and objectives.
The Specialist Course is suited to both private one to one or groups of clients who share the same organisation, industry sector or profession and with a common communication goal.
We regularly organise seminars or informal themed gatherings for you to experience LABtokyo’s training and communication style.
To receive the latest information, please register from here.
Q4. How do I start a programme or course?
Every course starts with a free consultation. This typically takes place in an informal setting over a coffee or at your workplace. The initial consultation is about us listening to you to find out what your needs are.
We will also analyse the way you communicate in English either for work or personal life and we will make suggestions, based on our experience, as to what areas of learning would be useful to you.
During or after the consultation we will make a proposal (program outline) containing our recommendations, for your consideration. Subject to agreement with the proposal (including any modifications you may with to make), a schedule of sessions being locked-down and invoicing and initial payments being received; your course is ready to start.
Q5. How long is my course or programme going to last?
Due to the flexible and personalised nature of our courses there is no standard duration for study and course durations are set subject to consultation and the client’s requirements.
However, we do find that for Generalist Courses, in most cases, the course can be delivered in blocks of 12 one hour sessions, usually over a period of 3 months. These programs are most often extended with clients continuing to study for a number of years.
Specialist Courses tend to be designed to run for blocks of 5 hours; so a typical course could be 5, 10 , 15 hours or more, depending on objectives and content; typically delivered over 1— 3 months. Again, subject to consultation the delivery period can be adjusted to suit the client’s needs; for example, in certain, urgent cases the course can be delivered in 1 or 2 weeks, or even in a matter of days, if required.
Q6. How much will my programme or course cost?
As our courses are either completely or partially customised to suit the client’s communication needs and objectives, a fee proposal is only produced after an initial consultation which includes a Needs Analysis and setting of agreed Communication Objectives.
Q7. How soon can I start?
In most cases, providing we have space in our schedule clients can start as soon as the initial payment has been made. In some cases, especially for the Specialist Courses, where unique materials have to be produced the programme can begin within 2 weeks from receipt of the initial payment.
In exceptional or urgent situations we will always do our absolute best to adjust our schedule to facilitate our client’s needs.
Q8. How do you schedule time for my programme or course?
We know our clients are busy people and often have unpredictable professional responsibilities and commitments.
In every case we aim to be as flexible and accommodating as possible regarding scheduling.
However, as a rule do not usually work on Sundays or Public Holidays.
Q9. Do you provide any textbooks? What kind of materials will we use?
We use a combination of internationally recognised text books, pre-written LABtokyo materials, custom written LABtokyo materials and electronically made materials, notes, tasks, sketches etc which are generated by iPAD Pro and Apple Pencil (for more see Q2 above) during each session.
However, as a rough guideline:
The Generalist Course is based on an agreed learning text and/or personalised materials. The text will come from a variety of English Language texts readily available in Japan and which is selected to be appropriate for the participant’s English Language skill level and learning objectives. As with the Specialist Course (below), where necessary there will be some degree of customisation of the course and augmentation of learning materials to suit the participant’s needs and progress.
Every Generalist course is always personalised to the client’s specific needs.
For the Specialist Course, which is designed for clients with clear communicative objectives (for example the need to present to international audiences, to speak at overseas conferences, to write academic papers for international journals), all materials are written by LABtokyo; some of the materials will be selected from our existing Specialised Courses and some of the materials will be custom written for each specific client. In some cases, where appropriate, the entire course will be written for the client’s learning needs.
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