Grabbing the attention of young minds with the implied power of hot lead.

One of the difficult things about teaching English in Japan is figuring out a way to maintain students’ focus and interest. Though English is a compulsory subject and proficiency can be extremely useful in a career with one of Japan’s many internationally focused organizations, Japan’s largely ethnically homogeneous population means that most people have few opportunities to use English in their daily lives, or in the sort of low-level part-time jobs that are most students’ introduction to working society.

So to try to keep their pupils’ motivation strong, some teachers give lengthy talks on the future benefits and opportunities that will come from putting effort into learning English. Others try to make the process more enjoyable by incorporating games into their lessons. And then there’s Japanese Twitter user @komathematicsR’s English teacher, who whipped out an extremely realistic-looking model pistol during his lecture to shock everyone into alertness.

During the lesson, the instructor noticed that some of his students looked pretty drowsy. “You’re all sleepy at this time of day,” he observed. “At times like this, a true educator knows it’s his job to draw out his students’ ability to concentrate,” and his methodology was to grip the model handgun in his right hand and extend his arm.

“Just like the teacher expected, it totally woke everyone up, and the lesson continued,” @komathematicsR reports. “Oh, and of course it wasn’t a real gun. It was a model, with no bullets. I love this teacher because he’s always so funny.” And while it may look like the pistol is aimed squarely at the temple of the woman in the first row, @komathematicsR says that’s just a quirk of the perspective from which the photo was taken, and that the teacher wasn’t actually pointing the barrel at her or anyone else in the classroom. “He wasn’t trying to threaten us. The teacher loves jokes, and the model gun was just an aspect of his sense of humor.”

On the one hand, it’s probably true that a lesson on English composition that starts off with “Classification essays classify an item into several categories” does sound like pretty dry subject matter, and, taken by themselves, the teacher’s realization of that potential problem, and initiative in addressing it, are commendable. And it’s true that his ploy to snap the class back into rapt attention did work, at least according to @komathematicsR.

At the same time, one could definitely argue that Japan’s infamously accurate firearm models aren’t really the best props to use for spicing up boring material, even if there is a new Star Wars movie and the teacher is sort of dressed like Han Solo.

Source: Jin, Twitter/@komathematicsR

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he wonders if he could have improved the quality of his English lessons through creative use of melee and/or missile weapons.