About Donald Miller
After completing my M.A. in linguistics in 1996, I came to Japan and worked as a TOEFL®, GMAT®, and GRE® instructor at a large, well-known school for over a decade.
In 2007, that school started to require that teachers use TOEFL® Speaking “templates” in class. I wasn’t happy with this because templates cause serious delivery and topic development problems, so I opened my own school with the encouragement of former colleagues and students in October, 2007.
My original focus was on improving delivery in a small classroom (4~5 students). Delivery refers to fluency, intonation, and pronunciation. There were 3 students in the first class. Within 3 weeks, all of my classes were full through word-of-mouth, and I had to start a wait list.
Since that time, I have spent thousands of hours developing effective TOEFL® speaking strategies, developing a great curriculum, and providing feedback to my students.
My students’ average top SP score was 21.9 in 2008. Then I created an effective strategy for TOEFL® Speaking task 5 and the average top score bounced up to 22.8 in 2009, and 23.1 in 2010. I track my students’ progress on my blog. Please read my posts there if you are interested.
Based on these results, I am confident that I have the best strategies, advice, and curriculum for TOEFL® Speaking in Japan. And since I don’t have any staff, I can offer classes at a very competitive price (￥50,000 per month).
My English school (株式会社E4TG) is conveniently located in Yaesu, about 5 minutes from Tokyo Station.
About John Couke
I was born in Toronto, Canada. My parents and many of my extended family members have worked in education, and I also feel comfortable leading a classroom.
After several years in Japan managing a chain of English schools in Chiba, I enrolled in the MBA program at Hitotsubashi ICS in Tokyo, graduating in 2006. This was a transformative experience for me that taught me a lot about teamwork, communication, leadership, and decision-making.
After Hitotsubashi I joined the test preparation and academic counseling departments of the Princeton Review of Japan (currently AGOS) to help others have an educational experience similar to my own. I eventually ran their counseling department for a number of years until I left in 2012 to establish my own business.
In addition to teaching at E4TG, I teach writing and career development at the Hitotsubashi ICS MBA program. My main work however remains my passion: providing academic consulting services to business, law and grad school applicants. I have worked with hundreds of clients over the years, and helped them navigate the process of getting into top programs all over the world.
About Hans Albanese
Being very interested in Japan, I came here in 1994 through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, and planned to stay for just a year. However, I enjoyed working in Japan and ended up staying a little longer than I'd planned, twenty years actually.
In my first ten years, I worked as an editor for the Bank of Japan and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I learned Japanese, got a Master's degree in Advanced Japanese Studies, and I taught English at a few high schools and colleges. However, I was frustrated by the poor English teaching materials, the emphasis on grammar and translation, and the passive learning style of standard English education.
In 2003, I started working at a private high school in Kashiwa, where I helped build the International Leadership Course, a unique program for high school students that focused on project-based learning and character building. In the ILC, I created active learning projects such as research papers, presentations, and debates, which were unique in Japan at that time. They were also very successful as many of our students advanced to the top private universities in Japan or universities overseas. In 2005, I became the homeroom teacher of one ILC class, which was a fantastic learning experience for me. I enjoyed mentoring one class of students for three years. In 2007, I was promoted to leader of the ILC, in charge of three classes. I continued to work to make our students' education more active and effective.
I returned to the United States in 2014 where I am working as a writer and editor.