English schools in Japan
Westgate Corporation was founded in 1983 as a private English language school, providing corporate language training programs as well as programs for the residents, city and public schools of Gotemba.
Westgate provided language training for over twenty major Japanese and international corporations, including Ricoh, Toyota, Dow Chemical Corporation, etc. Westgate has done in-depth needs analyses, program development, teaching and assessment for personnel in a variety of fields, ranging from factory line workers, various engineering specialties, researchers in chemistry, hotel staff, factory tour staff, and the like. After several years, some major corporations requested special intensive programs for new personnel, just graduated from university. Most university graduates in these programs proved to be at a very low level of English communicative ability. The opportunity to assess the overall English ability and workplace-specific language competency of new personnel, and to posit this against the level and workplace language needs already assessed and addressed in Westgate's corporate training programs, gave a clear understanding of the gap between language ability and employer expectations for Japanese university graduates. It is precisely to fill this gap that the Westgate University Program was established.
Westgate's extra-curricular International Career English Program started in 1993, with a pilot program, developed by Westgate's Curriculum Director, who has taught extensively in the full range of Westgate corporate and community language training programs. Now in its eighth year, the Westgate University program is currently on 40 campuses including technical universities, liberal arts universities and junior colleges in the Kanto area of Japan. The program has been so successful for the students and the universities that already five of these colleges have decided to give credit to students taking Westgate courses or hire Westgate to teach within the regular, accredited programs. Westgate expects an increase in accredited programs on current and new campuses in the upcoming year as well.
Westgate continually provides the corporate language training programs and also the programs for the residents at Westgate Academy located in Gotemba at the foot of Mt. Fuji. In addition, the Academy provides English conversation Program at the local elementary schools. Westgate curriculum has been designed so that, level by level, students gradually get more practice with the language functions, lexis and structures they will need for oral communication in the workplace. At the same time, Westgate students get practice using English to talk about topics and situations of current interest, such as traveling, friends, daily activities, and so on. Syllabi are graded according to student level and major field. At the lower levels, general conversation skills are practiced while gradually introducing the vocabulary and functions to perform high-frequency tasks in the given field. For example, the program for technical university students emphasizes describing things, describing a sequence, describing cause and effect, etc. On-going research continues on the short-term and long-term needs of the students in various fields and majors, as well as profiling and analysis of the needs, goals and interests of individual students. Curriculum development and renewal is a constant process, done with the insight, experience, and contributions of Instructors and Curriculum Coordinators.
Westgate's teaching methodology is consistent with widely used approaches in the field of teaching conversational English as a Foreign language. Instructors utilize communicatively bases lessons and a variety of methodology to develop confidence and fluency in using English in a comfortable, learner-centered classroom environment.