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Our Approach

Our original approach for teaching communication 


Three principles

Alma has been publishing French and English textbooks in Japan since 1999. Our materials support communicative language learning and are based on the following three principles:

1. Building speaking skills for interactive, real-time conversation on everyday life topics

2. Regular oral testing

3. Raising awareness of cross-cultural differences in speaking styles and how to overcome them

Research group

Alma supports teachers doing classroom-based research on these principles by providing logistical support to the Research Group for Teaching Oral Communication in Japan. At its annual event, the Autumn Workshop, participants are encouraged to share their research experiences, request feedback on potential projects, or simply attend and learn from peers, whether they use Alma textbooks or not. Topics covered include successful speaking activities, class management techniques, oral testing methods, cross-cultural communication, or pragmatics.  

Classroom-based research

Classroom-based research is also at the core of our editorial policy. We are fully committed to the continual improvement of our textbooks because they are the tools we use every day in class. Each new edition incorporates innovations developed in light of user feedback and constant classroom testing.

Class management books​​

The evolution of our textbook format

Our original communication textbook format is now in its 10th version:

​Our Authors

Jean-Luc AZRA

Jean-Luc Azra has been living and teaching in Japan since 1995. He is a Professor at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka. He is a co-founder of the Immediate Method, an original classroom management system designed to teach conversation to Japanese students. He is a co-author of numerous foreign language textbooks and the author of « Les Japonais sont-ils différents ? » (“Are Japanese people different?”), a sociological book about Japanese society.
His articles, a list of his publications and a few videos are available at He also regularly uploads supplementary teaching material on

Meiko Ikezawa

Meiko Ikezawa teaches Japanese language, Japanese culture. She does teacher training for teachers of Japanese. She frequently uses manga and Japanese cartoons as teaching material. She is a co-author of the Japanese conversation textbooks “Nihongo-de !!” and “Petit Nihongo-de !!“, which are based on theImmediate Method. She is also a co-author of English and French language textbooks.

Olivier Lorrillard

Olivier Lorrillard is now an Associate Professor at Osaka University, after occupying full-time and part-time positions at Kyoto University, Ritsumeikan University, the Institut français de Kyoto and the Centre-Alliance in Osaka. He has been teaching French language and culture, literature and latin in Japan for the past 20 years. He is a co-author of a reading textbook, “La société française”, and of a conversation textbook, “Monsieur Pourquoi”. He is interested in multimedia technologies.

Yoshio Miki

Yoshio Miki is Professor emeritus at Kobe University. He was a member of the team who created “Français 21, one of the textbooks which introduced the communicative approach to French teaching in Japan. He has recently put his 40 years of experience teaching French grammar into a new Alma Publishing textbook, “Moi, je… Grammaire”. He is interested in Middle Ages ships and is enjoying his retirement by taking the time to read quietly and watching French movies and documentaries, when he isn’t out sailing on his boat.

Mitsuru Ohki

Mitsuru Ohki is Professor emeritus at Kyoto University. He is interested in the Neurolinguistic Approach (NLA) to acquiring a second or foreign language, conceptualized by C. Germain and J. Netten. He also works on the topic of the objectives of foreign language education in Japan. This question is important since only 20 % of new graduates need to speak English in their professional lives.

Stephen Richmond

Stephen Richmond has lived in Japan since 1999 and taught at a number of universities in the Kansai area over the past ten years. He is especially interested in using pragmatic-based teaching materials to enhance students’ communicative ability, and conducts research in pragmatics and sociolinguistics.

Simon Serverin

Simon Serverin studied Japanese with the Immediate Method at Paris 7 University. Since he became a French teacher in Japan, he always placed student expression at the center of his teaching. He has been collaborating with the Alma team since 2008 on different projects, each time incorporating his experience of teaching at Japanese universities. His taste for new technologies brought him to focus particularly on multimedia contents and blended learning.

Jerry Talandis Jr.

Jerry Talandis has been teaching English in Japan since 1993. He did a three year stint on the JET Programme, then taught for 15 years at the Toyama College of Foreign Languages in Toyama Prefecture and at Toyo Gakuen University in Tokyo. He has been teaching English conversation and composition at the University of Toyama since April 2012. His current interests are technology in the classroom, how to effectively teach pragmatics for improving oral communication, and the connection between extensive reading and building speaking ability. He is working on the third edition of “Conversations in Class”.

Bruno Vannieuwenhuyse

Bruno Vannieuwenhuyse often shortens his name to “Bruno Vannieu”. He has been living in Japan for more than 20 years. He has taught French at Osaka University, Kyoto University and is now a Tokunin Professor at Kobe University, where he has received the Best Teacher award five time in a row. His domain of research is intercultural communication, and he has worked on applying it to the management of language classes in Japan. He is a co-author of 12 French and English textbooks.

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