About our Teachers

All our teachers are experienced teachers and language learners. In order to speed up the learning process, some Japanese may be used in class for grammar explanations. We have found that in some cases this is actually more effective and efficient for once-twice a week learners.

Our teachers are fun, interesting, and patient individuals with various interests and different life experiences, which add greatly to making the classes interesting and more importantly, stimulating and inspiring. We believe that a true teacher is one who can inspire students to learn.

Teachers and Staff

Michael Ratcliff has a Masters degree in TESOL. He has taught in universities, high schools, and private schools in Australia, Korea, and Japan. He was also head curriculum planner and teacher trainer for ECC Japan. Mike is from Australia and is a great guy!

Simon Cavell has taught ESL in England, Australia, Italy and Japan. He has TESOL qualifications from Cambridge. He was a teacher trainer at ECC Japan and a teacher with the Osaka Board of Education for 4 years. Simon was born in Cambridge, England and loves exploring new cafes.

Heather Napier has worked in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. She has a traveled extensively throughout the world giving her an endless colorful of travel experiences to share with her students. She teaches a range of kids and adults classes. She's been in Japan for less than a year and is originally from Canada.

Patrick Kell graduated from Osaka University with a degree in modern Japanese history. He is fluent in both written and spoken Japanese and has taught English in Japan for almost 13 years. He has worked as an interpreter/translator, and currently does some radio work for a number of radio stations in Kansai. Patrick is from New Zealand and has had a lifelong interest in fitness and martial arts.

Joy Abad graduated from York University, with a degree in Bachelor of Arts Specialized Honours in English, and a Minor in Political Science. She has worked with young children at Kindergarten as well as elementary school, coordinated tours for foreign exchange students in Canada and has extensive experience in customer service. Joy is from Ontario, Canada, which is why she is easily able to form a good rapport with the students. She has a broad range of interests such as reading, tasting new cuisine, and enjoying life!

Yukiko Ikeda grew up in Osaka and later studied English in the U.S. A hard-working mum, she runs the office and takes care of her toddling daughter, Minami, who also frequently visits Penguin to keep an eye on us. If you ever call Penguin Yukiko is the cheerful voice on the other end of the phone.

Shinji Shimoyama is originally from Hyogo prefecture but goes to university in Osaka. He has a lot of experience working in the service industry and is the one responsible for most of Penguin's advertising campaigns. Shinji's the man that does intelligence gathering finding us good deals at restaurants for our parties and organizes the part-timers to do flier distributing. No, he is not a spy, just very resourceful!


Michael Ratcliff and Simon Cavell founded penguin in January 2000. Since then it has continued to grow and now operates in three locations under the management of Patrick Kell. Michael and Simon still offer tremendous support, which greatly contributes to the steady growth of Penguin.