I’m a father of a bilingual child. It didn’t just happen that way. I made it happen.

I live with my family in Nagoya, Japan. I hope to find people in a similar situation who are willing to share ideas that helped their children to use two or more languages or hope to find ways to do so. I work long hours, so my blog posts are mostly about effective use of time.

I have experience working in a UK primary school teaching English to foreign students and since I came to Japan in 2000 I have worked in elementary, junior high and now at high school levels creating materials and designing courses for second language learners.

Now I have the most important teaching challenge of my life. This blog is a record of my activities. If you have any opinions on the subject or want to share an activity that worked for you, please feel free to comment.

If you would like to submit an article about your ideas or experiences then leave me a message and mail address in the comments section on this page. It will not be published, and I’ll be in touch about submission.

Nick Benwell

17 responses to “About”

  1. Susan says :

    Hi Nick,
    I came across your blog as the result of a Jolly Phonics tweet.
    I’m a UK grandma with 2 bi-lingual (English/Spanish) grandchildren, a past home educator and now a specialist reading tutor.
    You may find my web site of interest -it’s all about teaching reading

    Best wishes

    • teachthesprog says :

      Thanks Susan. I shall take some time to read through the links this week.

    • khalilzakari says :

      Dear networkers,

      I got acquainted with Teach The Sprog through a LinkedIn message from Keith, Nick’s dad…” my son teaches in Japan, he has an interesting blog called ‘teach the sprog'”…

      You are doing a nice job herein sharing and seeking experience and knowledge while growing so fatherly concerned and so professionally involved.

      My nine-year- old daughter, Salma, is now acquiring Standard Arabic, French and English simultaneously (compound/coordidinate multilingual) http://cogito.ucdc.ro/dec2011/en/romanianlinguisticheritageinthecontextofeuropeanchristinamitariu_18.pdf

      Back to our discussion…

      A discussion of bilingualism and second language learning distinguishes three types of bilingualism, namely, compound, coordinate, and sub-coordinate. A compound bilingual is an individual who learns two languages in the same environment so that he/she acquires one notion with two verbal expressions. A coordinate bilingual acquires the two languages in different contexts (e.g., home and school), so the words of the two languages belong to separate and independent systems. In a sub-coordinate bilingual, one language dominates.

      + How old is your child?
      + How long has he/she been in Japan?
      + What is the two laguages (English & Japanese ) exposure ratio?
      + What sort of motivation might you be coaxing your child to build to take in Japaneese (Instrumenta = short-terml/ Integrative=long term)?

      This list of anticipated quiries is by no means exhaustive….

      “It is concluded that in addition to biological predisposition, motivation and context play a significant role in bilingual development, and that overall, the bilingual experience is enriching. (MSE)”


      • teachthesprog says :

        Hi Khalil,

        She is a 5 year old, she has been here since she was born and exposure to English/Japanese is about a 20/80 ratio, maybe less English on a daily basis (differs at weekends). There isn’t a difficulty motivating her to speak or learn English now because I got busy providing the reasons to speak in English while she was still young. The real difficulty will be maintaining motivation when she becomes an elementary school student here in a Japanese school and the homework begins to pile up. Another bridge to cross when we come to it ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Perogyo says :

    Hi Nick! I saw your comment on Busan Kevin’s blog. I like what I see here!

    A few of us are involved in the bilingual blogging community, would love to see you there! http://bilinguepergioco.com/blogging-carnival-on-bilingualism/

  3. teachthesprog says :

    Thanks Perogyo. I had a quick look and the concept is fascinating. Great idea!

  4. expatsincebirth says :

    Hi Nick, I just nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Congratulations!

  5. teachthesprog says :

    Thanks! That really made my day!

  6. Jenny says :

    Just discovered your blog through LinkedIn. I’ve been keeping a record of how we keep our daughter’s two languages going whilst living first in France, now in Scotland. Looking forward to getting a chance to go back through all the posts on your blog – already seen lots of really interesting stuff!

  7. expatsincebirth says :

    Hi Nick, I nominated you for the Liebster Blogger Award! I really appreciate all your posts! Keep on writing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Jenny says :

    Hi Nick, haven’t seen any posts in a while, I hope you’re still getting on well with keeping your daughter’s English going. Just to let you know, I’ve changed the url of my blog, it’s now http://www.onefamilytwolanguages.com/. I’ve just written about how we’ve been using Disney’s Frozen to explore various topics in English – I’m sure that the Frozen craze must have hit Japan just as hard as it did over here! All the best!

  9. teachthesprog says :

    Hi Jenny, yea a long break from the blog. I wasn’t reaching the audience I wanted to, or it didn’t seem that way (not to say that I didn’t value those I reached, but I had a specific focus for setting up the blog in the first place). Then I started a new job last September and with that came a massive change of lifestyle. Anyway, I saw your post on Linkedin. Ha! Ain’t that the truth!

  10. Jenny says :

    Would be interested to know more about your focus for setting up your blog…I sometimes wonder who I’m writing my blog for – probably mainly myself, I forget so much that it’s good to have it written down! I certainly find your blog an invaluable source of resources and practical ideas for keeping my daughter interested in English and I pass on the blog link esp to fathers I meet here trying to keep up minority language skills with their children. Good luck with the new job, I hope you’re managing to find a balance with keeping up the English minority language battle…!

    • teachthesprog says :

      Nail on head. I started because I liked blogging but also because us dads tend to be a bit crap. They were my target, and I ended up being in touch with Chris, a dad who became an inspiration, but the target audience (in japan) never got involved. Perhaps I sounded like a know it all. Perhaps they already figured it out. Some I have met seen to think it will either happen by osmosis or fairy dust.
      There is no simple answer to this. Find a way and do it. If it isn’t working then imagine a way that will. Commit time to your sprog’s future and see the benefits. Don’t and you won’t. Rant over ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Chris says :

        Hi Nick. You’ve just made my day by saying I’ve been an inspiration. Thanks so much – but it works both ways. It really helps me to know that there is someone else ‘out there’ striving to do what I’ve been doing.

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