Yumiko Honda

Yumiko Honda

B.A. in Psychological Studies


Ms. Yumiko Honda graduated with honors from TUJ in spring 2012, 5 years after she started at Academic English Program in 2007. We talked to the mother of two about many challenges she encountered during her study, especially the one of mastering English.

Tell us a little about your current job and your background before entering TUJ.

I lived in Hokkaido before I came to TUJ. I am a mother of two and I was a housewife at that time. I met a group of people in Hokkaido, who loved to discuss philosophy, history, religion, the cultures of various countries, science, etc. in English. We met constantly at the small community center hall at night, discussing with a cup of hot drinks and plenty of snacks. I started having an interest in developing academic knowledge through the discussions with them.

Now I am working as a teacher at a cram school which is a major company listed in the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. I am teaching from elementary school children to high school students, all the subjects, such as mathematics, geology, history, physics, biology, chemistry, English, and Japanese. I can acquire much knowledge through teaching various subjects everyday.

Why did you choose TUJ and major in psychological studies?

It is because my son had a learning disability and I wanted to study psychology in order to cure his disease. I thought that American psychology was advanced in the research of brain science. Moreover, I thought I could absorb the knowledge of language and education since TUJ had graduate TESOL program.

What was the biggest challenge during your time at TUJ?

First of all, there was a barrier of language, I did not have any experience of either international school or overseas. It was so difficult for me to follow the fast speaking professors. I could not express my opinion in front of everyone. I sometimes thought that I dumped the expensive tuition into a dust bin. One day, one student in class gave me a comment after I gave a presentation, and it said, "You are dyslexic. Go to English pronunciation.com." I stopped talking for about one month. My children also became silent.

How did you overcome such a big challenge?

I went back to the basics. Everything started over. I returned to the instruction which my professors taught me in the AEP program. That was "knowledge is stronger than any other things." So, I read many books in order to increase my knowledge. I lived in there. The librarians were so kind and sensitive to my needs, sometimes encouraged me. I bought extra textbooks which were similar to the required textbooks. Most of the professors said it was too much. However, the more my knowledge increased the more lectures I understood, and the more enjoyment I discovered. Now I am addicted to reading.

Another thing was that I put myself into a more terrible situation. I decided to take a course of the Art of Improvisation from TUJ's Continuing Education Program. I had to make a little comedy show, performing and improvising every each moment. The classmates responded quickly and laughed at my performance, even though I produced stupid nonsense English sentences. The class reduced my spoken English anxiety.

The most important was to find mechanisms of second language acquisition. I wanted to know why I could not get English ability even though I had studied it for many years. I took another continuing education class, which was TEJL. I learned mechanisms of second language acquisition. I learned a lot of ways of thinking from Dr. Childs. I am still learning with my favorite classmates, discussing and exchanging our opinions for many hours on every Saturday afternoon.

How do you envision your experience at TUJ will help your future career?

The research of learning disability and second language acquisition, which I have seen from the viewpoint of brain science, are very useful for my present work. I am teaching several students who are challenging their disability. I can put my knowledge into teaching them. Their academic level improved remarkably. Some of my students got the highest record in the class division test for Japanese and English classes in junior high school.

Tell us about your dreams and aspirations.

I would like to construct well-beings of students by teaching multiple academic subjects using English. English is the end-product in the Japanese educational setting, but this is completely wrong, and this is not fun! Children are getting tired of studying English grammar and play-like English conversations. Instead, they are looking for knowledge which makes them explore a new world of intelligence with developing their own creative images. If they do so, they will become wonderful grown-ups who will be able to lead people around the world.

本多 裕美子

本多 裕美子

文学士 心理研究学専攻








やはり、言葉の壁です。インターナショナルスクールに通ったこともないし、海外に一度も住んだことがありません。授業で使われる早口の英語にはついていけませんでした。教授が何をいっているのかさっぱり分からず、自分の意見もなかなかみんなの前で言えず、何回も「高い授業料を無駄にしたな」という思いがよぎりました。ある日、自分がプレゼンしたあとに一人の学生から、「ひどい英語、あんた学習障害じゃないの? 英語の発音のサイトにいけ!」とコメントされたときにはかなり落ち込み、それから一ヶ月間だれとも口をきくのをやめました。子供たちも無口になってしまいました。




そして、一番大切なのは英語習得のメカニズムを研究することでした。自分がなぜ、恵まれた環境にいながら英語がなかなか習得できないのか知りたいと思ったからです。テンプルの生涯教育のクラスを受講し、Dr. Childsのもとで長い間奇抜で幅広い考えを勉強させてもらいました。今もそのクラスで毎週土曜日、家族のような仲間と何時間も脱線しまくりながら意見を交わして研究を続けています。