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ホーム > CLOSEUPS > 私たちの英語の先生:Paul Allen Crane

私たちの英語の先生:Paul Allen Crane



Associate professor Paul Allen Crane

外国語学部 英語教育学科
准教授 ポール・アレン・クレイン

School of Foreign Languages
Department of English Language Teaching
Associate professor Paul Allen Crane
I was born and raised in the Great Lakes state of Michigan in the USA, the fifth child out of six. Michigan is the home of the automobile industry where General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler have their world headquarters. In fact, my hometown, Flint, was the birthplace of General Motors. It was inevitable that my upbringing in such an environment would cause me to have a strong interest in cars, which I still have today.

Growing up in a large family taught me to be a sharing and generous person. As one of the younger siblings, I learned patience and the ability to wait my turn to speak, certain aspects of my personality that seem to match the Japanese character.

When I was a child, I loved looking at maps. I would often spin a globe and then stop it by placing my finger on it, and I would say, “This is where I’m going to live!” Even as a child, I dreamed of living in a foreign country and speaking a foreign language because it seemed so crazy and exotic.

Associate professor Paul Allen Crane

Although I studied French in high school and university, I never felt that I ever acquired any ability to use it functionally. When I was a university student, I heard about a unique “Work-Study” program in Japan. It seemed too good to pass up, so I took a year off from my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, and I went to Japan for about ten months to study Japanese and learn about Japanese culture. Needless to say, I fell in love with Japan and I was determined to go back some day.

For the first few months of living in Japan, I struggled with the language and whenever I tried to say anything, surprisingly it would come out in French! Eventually that changed to Japanese because I started thinking and even dreaming in Japanese! I realized then that learning a foreign language requires much time and effort and the best way to learn a language is by having many opportunities to interact with people and actually USE the language for communication.
Here at NUFS, I teach a variety of classes; from my seminar about English as an International Language to Academic Writing and Presentation. As a result of my own experience learning languages as well as studying and researching about second language acquisition and intercultural communication, I have the knowledge and experience to help students develop their English skills. Regardless of the type of class I teach, students can expect to have many opportunities to read, write, listen, and of course speak English. All of my classes are conducted in what I coined “AEM” which means “All English Mode”. Freshman students initially seem a bit shocked and nervous, but through "scaffolding”, (which means simplifying a task and providing a lot of support with guided instructions to allow students accomplish a task or an activity) students begin to relax and feel comfortable using English.

Class photo

Communication is a very active process and there is a lot of responsibility that goes with it, so we as language educators have so much to offer and teach to our students. When students ask me how they can improve their English, I tell them to read more. Through reading, students can improve their vocabulary range and they are exposed to various grammatical patterns within the text, which is valuable input. Both extensive reading and intensive reading are important for language development. Students should take notes, highlight words and expressions, then summarize what they read in their own words as much as possible. The next step is that they should share what they learned with others because by teaching others, their learning becomes more embedded in the memory and deeper learning takes place.

In addition to reading, writing is equally important. In my experience teaching writing, the students who make the most progress and improvement with their language development have made much more effort to improve their writing output skills. Writing involves the ability to manipulate grammar and use vocabulary to make meaning and students will naturally improve their speaking ability through writing when they have a chance to talk about what they wrote about.

Naturally listening is important, too, and communication strategies for both speaking and listening are a part of all my classes, too. Students need to be actively involved in communication, and that involves careful listening when receiving a message, and giving feedback to the interlocutor (one’s speaking partner) to show understanding or misunderstanding.

Anyway, it would be impossible to share everything I know about language learning and education here in this short forum, so please come talk to me if you want to know more!
I was also asked to share something that I have recently become interested in or what I care about. I believe that volunteer work and service learning is something that all students should develop an interest in and get involved with.

One volunteer work experience I had with students was several years ago in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where we helped build a house for a needy family as a part of a Habit for Humanity project. Because the NUFS student leader of that project still maintains contact with the family that we built the house for, I have become a sponsor for the family to help pay for the costs of raising and educating the children who lost their mother to AIDS.

Volunteer work

Serving school lunch

More recently, I have participated with Ujitani-sensei (Dept. of British and American Studies) in her international service learning volunteer work camp trips and these experiences have taught us so many valuable things about intercultural communication.


For two weeks in February 2014, we took students to Manila, Philippines where we prepared and served school lunches to impoverished inner city children. This volunteer work taught me that we have an obligation to help others, and serving others less fortunate than us can be very satisfying.

Cleaning of the local forest park

For two weeks in February 2015, we took students to Vietnam where we lived in a rural mountain hamlet with local people as homestays. While there, the students helped with the cleaning of the local forest park and within the village to help the locals promote ecotourism to bring tourists to their area. (For more information, see the Closeups report by Tomoki Ichikawa)
Through such volunteer work experiences, students have a chance to not only develop their intercultural communication skills, but also to broaden their perspectives of the world around them.
A final word and message to all NUFS students: be actively involved in your learning and experience as many things as possible!

Associate professor Paul Allen Crane