We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Ritsuko Nakata, co-author of the best-selling Let’s Go series and founder of the IIEEC Teacher Training Center. Ritsuko’s career was dedicated to the teaching of English to young learners.
Born and educated in the USA, Ritsuko moved to Japan early in her teaching career, where she began experimenting with more practical, effective ways to get children to learn English. Her focus on getting students to ask questions as well as answer them and to thus be able to engage in more natural dialogue is a cornerstone of the Let’s Go approach. The series was a pioneer when it was first published in 1992, setting the standard for many others that followed; now in its 5th edition, it remains a market leader. In fact, one of Ritsuko’s great pleasures was meeting English teachers who had studied with Let’s Go when they were children and who were now using the series in their own classrooms. She was a wonderful mentor and teacher trainer who could get roomfuls of teachers on their feet and practising her signature action-based routines. Always kind and always enthusiastic, she was especially skilled at inspiring new teachers, putting them at ease, and helping them to feel confident in their teaching.
It’s no exaggeration to say that through her work, a lifetime of teaching, authoring, and training, Ritsuko has touched the lives of millions of primary teachers and students — in Japan where she lived, across Asia, and around the world. She leaves an amazing legacy and her loss will be keenly felt by the staff at OUP and all those who knew her. Ritsuko touched so many lives here at OUP and in the world of ELT, and she will be missed by all who knew her. We send our deepest condolences to her husband and two daughters, as well as to her fellow Let’s Go authors.