The purpose of this report material is exclusively to collect, present and interact with the readers about the information based on conducting an interview with Mr. Hideo Nakai, an entrepreneur. He would like to share his experience in running an English Language School “O.E.C.” where I have been literally working a part-time job at his school for about seven months now; as well as to indicate what he currently views the business situation and his stance for the school’s existence.
1. O.E.C. Background & History:
O.E.C. is an English Language School or also known as “Eikaiwa School” is usually an English conversation type of school in Japan. Although the Japanese public education system requires that English be taught as part of the curriculum but the focus is generally on English grammar. Some people attend Eikaiwa schools to supplement their school studies, to study a second language, to improve their business skills, as a hobby, to help socialize, or to prepare for travel. Many people such as college students, working people and young kids go to these schools in the hope of improving their higher education or to provide exposure to the ways and manners of people from other cultures due to the fact that foreigners are teaching most of the lessons being the primary selling point of an Eikaiwa business. O.E.C. has four school branches which are located in Umeda, Namba, Shinsaibashi and Akashi. The first O.E.C. school was established in Umeda, Osaka, in 1998 by Mr. Hideo Nakai, who is the owner and holding a Manager position at O.E.C. In the beginning, O.E.C. (stands for “Outdoor English Club”) started off as a very small school with only four English teachers including two managing staffs who were Mr. Nakai and his wife (Mrs. Fumiko Nakai) Mr. Nakai had specifically set up his school as a English conversation school. Thus, the lessons being taught were mainly activity-based lessons in which teachers had to teach English to students by doing activities both inside (regular lessons) and outside the class (outdoor lessons). For example, the teachers had games and role plays for the students participating in class. As the outdoor lessons, the teachers were able to take students learning English in a real-life situation such as in restaurants, grocery stores, shopping centers and etc. Most of the students at O.E.C were beginners who need to have simple and enjoyable lessons. Therefore Mr. Nakai keenly looked for the people who could actually teach the beginners and genuinely create a friendly learning environment for students. O.E.C. was ultimately successful at the initial stage and Mr. Nakai proactively wanted to open another school based on location. The second school is in Namba, then the third is Shinsaibashi and Akashi school is the latest one. The location hugely plays an important part for Mr. Nakai to pick and choose exactly where he should set up the school. What he bares in his mind about the location is the easy-access from the train station to the school and it is in attractive metro-areas. Therefore people can prominently find it convenient to go to school and be attracted to have a try and have a walk-in to the school. Now O.E.C. totally has thirty-eight teachers and ten managing staffs, most of the teachers are assigned to teach at the school where they particularly live close in that area. However, some of the teachers are occasionally assigned to have lessons in different schools. For example, a teacher who normally teaches at Umeda would go to Shinsaibashi in case of the teacher is calling in sick or replacing the teacher who is on vacation. The scheduled lessons can be very flexible depending on the students’ preference as O.E.C. feels the need to provide good service for all students in which ideally is what Mr. Nakai’s business is all about. For the past eight to nine years, he recalls that there was a slight competition in the English-school business and O.E.C. was doing well. However,...
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