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What is ‘The Callan Method’ of teaching English?

カランメソッドでの英語学習について / What is the Callan Method of teaching English?

The Callan Method was devised by Mr. Robin Callan, a teacher in the late 1960’s, in order to educate his Italian English students in a more effective way and with better, faster results. It is in widespread use today in schools throughout the world and is especially popular with learners wanting to develop their conversational skills.

The method is based on a ‘direct method’, whereby the learner is required to think in English instead of translating. The student develops listening and speaking English as reflex actions in the same way they communicate in their own language.

The method avoids overthinking and long pauses. Silence means a lack of communication and a lack of confidence.

The Callan Method teaches English in a manner more realistic to actual conversation. Students become more fluent, better able to answer quickly, and are more confident when compared with traditional methods.

How does
"The Callan Method" work?

カランキッズのレッスン/ Callan for Kids lessons
カランメソッドのレッスン / Callan Method lessons
ディクテーション(書取り)の時間 / Dictation time
  • In a Callan English lesson, the teacher repeats the question twice: Once at a normal speed and then again at a faster speed.


  • The answer/reply is immediately given after the question and the student answers by repeating with the teacher.


  • If the student needs help - he is pulled by the teacher and follows his words.


  • If the student is more fluent - he is pushed by the teacher and answers before him.


  • In every case, the aim is to speak independently without waiting to hear the words from the teacher.


  • Mistakes are always corrected by the teacher immediately, including pronunciation. Callan schools can always be trusted not to let the student develop bad habits.


 Please follow the link to watch the Callan Method in Action Video

  • The meanings of key words, grammar, and phrases can be practised at home by using the glossary in the accompanying student book.

  • Callan lessons feature lots of revision, as this is the key to attaining vocabulary, memory skills, and fluency.

  • New work is taught at a realistic rate so as not to overwhelm the learner. 

  • Each lesson usually features both reading and writing exercises.

  • Callan lessons are relevant and up-to-date in real-life settings, with commonly used English words, grammar, idioms, and phrases.

By following these core principles, students develop confident conversational skills and learn English at a faster rate than other methods and schools.

What are phonics?
And what is the ‘Jolly Phonics’ system about?

ジョリーフォニックスのフラッシュカード / Jolly phonics flash cards
ジョリーフォニックスグラマーワークブックセット / Jolly Phonics grammar workbooks

Jolly Phonics is also a British system and it was devised in the late 1980’s by Chris Jolly in England. It essentially teaches English in it’s most basic form - sounds.

Native English speakers automatically learn the sounds of the language from their parents but are often taught phonics to enable them to understand the language better. Phonics are necessary for listening, speaking, and writing in English.

If you or your child were born and raised in Japan, it is highly likely that you have missed out on this essential skill while learning English at state school!

Japanese people are usually taught whole English words individually, which they then pronounce by using katakana. This is a fundamentally flawed technique, and learning phonics addresses this error.


See this example of how the Japanese pronunciation of the word ‘taxi’ compares to the correct original English version:

TAXI, Japanese spoken = タクシー (which sounds like “ta-ku-shee”)


English spoken = T - A - X - I


Each of the 4 letters in taxi has its own individual sound, so we blend these 4 sounds together to say the word in full.


In Japanese, there is no sound for T, but and A can be pronounced together with the katakana ‘TA.’

Similarly, there is no Japanese sound for X. Conveniently, a K and an S can be pronounced together in English to make the same sound, ‘KS’. However, in Japanese, there are only KA, KE, KI, KO, and KU. Similarly, there is no S, only SA, SE, SHI, SO, and SU. Therefore, KU and SHI are used as the nearest equivalents, despite being different sounds from X and I in the English word.


This is the primary reason why Japanese people struggle with English pronunciation!


3R English starts by teaching the seven groups of basic sounds. We then teach blending skills to mix the sounds together to form words. Once this has been mastered, children can read, spell, and write in English!


Learning phonics will give your child a better understanding of English. Their listening and speaking skills will be better, as well as their reading, writing, and spelling!

Classroom study guide

教室での学習ガイド / Classroom Study Guide

Please arrive 5 minutes before the lesson starts, greet your teacher in English and prepare yourself and any homework. 

Homework should be completed in a timely manner and always checked by a parent before coming to school with the relevant box ticked on your homework sheet.

Read and practise your Callan book whenever you have time or are waiting.

Make sure you have practised the relevant Callan work prior to the lesson. 

Please ask the teacher if you do not understand something (i.e., ‘I’m not sure how to study at home’, ‘I don’t understand why we use plurals', etc.).

The teacher will answer these questions before or after the lesson, or sometimes email a response afterwards.

Think in English, not Japanese.

Remember that English is very different from Japanese, and using katakana will not be correct.

Listen carefully and copy the teacher as closely as possible, including the pronunciation. 

Do not worry if there are large sections you do not understand; this is normal. Getting stressed or worried because you don’t understand everything will hold you back. Please be relaxed with the idea of not knowing everything, because we do lots of revision work at 3R English.

Mistakes are normal! The teacher will always correct you or help you to answer.

Copy your homework down carefully from the teacher on to your homework sheet. 

If you are absent for a lesson, please study 5 pages of new work from where you previously finished. 

(Kids' lessons: If you are absent and have not been given any homework, please contact us, and we will email it to you.)

"My daughter's high school entrance exam was saved by her English grades!"
Mrs. S., Parent, Yokohama.

Home study guide

家庭学習ガイド / Home Study Guide
カランのオンライン学習アプリ、Callan App

It is important that you have a clear plan for studying at home and know how to use your time efficiently.

Make sure you write down the homework after each lesson. The teacher will make a note on the board for you, showing the current page/lesson progress point. 

Practise the relevant Callan lessons whenever possible; 20 minutes a day is a good starting point.

Make full use of the available study materials and resources.

Practise Callan lessons by reading your text book aloud while simultaneously listening to the Callan audio file; doing so targets English in three ways simultaneously.

Make use of the Callan Online App. This is an online learning function that helps with listening, speaking, and pronunciation.

Expose yourself to English in your everyday life. Some good examples are:

Watch TV and films in English (Japanese subtitles are OK!)

Read newspapers and online articles in English, e.g.,. 

BBC World News, Japan


The Japan Times


Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. are excellent media sources in English.

Read books in English!

Callan lessons are only the fundamentals of your English skills. The work you put in outside of the lesson will accelerate your learning hugely, so please do not underestimate this. 

"Callan lessons at 3R English have given me confidence and freedom. I'm very satisfied!"
Mrs. T., HR Manager, Totsuka.
Callan Method Accredited School / カランメソッド公式認定校

Callan Method Accredited School

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