Douglas is the Academic Director at Tokyo Academics, where he has guided the development of the SAT curriculum and heads SAT class teaching. An engineer by training, Douglas loves problem solving around effective teaching and learning, and works with all of TA's tutors for continuing training and development.
Why did you come to Japan?
Long story short, I figured I’d regret not living in Japan.
Japanese culture has influenced my entire life. My mentor in high school, Japanese-Hawaiian by birth, spoke to me about “bushido”: the Japanese warrior code of honor. These concepts of chivalry resonated with me. Later on at college, I made many friends with Japanese international students and learned more about Japanese culture. This culture and Japan’s interest in adult-education, even after graduating from college, made me believe Japan would be an ideal place to live and work.
What's your favorite thing about Tokyo Academics?
The people: the teachers, parents, and students have come together to form a community that embraces the vision of innovative and exceptional education. Our innovation lab, top SAT/ACT scores, science-backed learning strategies, top universities and boarding schools, and more are all part of the Tokyo Academics culture and aspiration.
What's your favorite idea to teach?
How people learn and how to learn better. Just the other day, my students asked what the best way to learn is; to which I replied – “Repetition.”
But, I had to follow up with: “Most people think practice makes perfect. But they’re wrong. Practice makes permanent. So, if you practice the wrong way, you’ll be adept at the wrong way!” This lead to a brief explanation of the myelin sheath: a substance that wraps, in several layers, around axons, increasing neuronal signal efficiency and integrity – a biological component of learning.
I get so “geeked out” by the science of learning.
What's your favorite hangout spot in Tokyo?
Cafés. On my days off, you can find me in a café around Tokyo reading books or web articles on topics such as psychology, business, neuroscience, physics, cosmology, philosophy, behavioral economics, and on, and on. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love learning!
It may seem a bit cliché, but I enjoy going to Starbucks, specifically for their Spearmint Green Tea. If you’ve got a recommendation of a great café around Tokyo, please don’t hesitate to let me know!