ALMA Publishing is an independent publishing company based in Kyoto. Created in 1999 by a team of experienced teachers, it is now run by an energetic young manager, Mariko Nagano, but remains centered on the work and research of practicing foreign language teachers based all over Japan.
Our mission statement
To actively support the field of conversation teaching in Japan.
Conversation teaching, while probably the most commonly-taught class by foreigners here in Japan, is still an area fraught with problems. One of the more serious of these is the way it is sometimes perceived (by teachers, students, and the general public) as an unfocussed, amateurish ‘filler’ subject. Contrary to this negative image, we believe that that conversation can and should be explicitly taught, particularly at the lower levels. Conversation teaching for us is training students to orally exchange original and personal information in real time . Teaching this valuable skill, especially to groups of lower level Japanese students, in fact requires great competence on the part of the teacher, who must:
- give the right amount of appropriate linguistic content at the right time,
- establish a group dynamic and strong, clear aims to sustain pair and group practice, and
- point out the cultural and pragmatic differences between Japanese and English conversation, and show students how to overcome miscommunication which may arise in natural conversation.