When Stevie Lim, 30, started singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" with gestures, the first-graders at Minami Elementary School in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, started singing together and mimicking his movements.

As the assistant language teacher (ALT) from Britain started speeding up, the children's excitement boiled over, and some started screaming.

The children kept asking Lim questions in Japanese while gluing together a Christmas out of colored pieces of paper. The homeroom teacher and another assistant teacher — both Japanese — paid attention to each student's needs and helped Lim answer their questions using the simplest English words possible.