The teaching methods of Kazuya Takahashi, 35, using Lego blocks and speaking entirely in English, may not be the norm in the Japanese education system.

But on a global level, the educator, who teaches at the Kogakuin junior high and high schools in Hachioji, western Tokyo, is considered ahead of the game and has won recognition for his efforts to promote global citizenship.

His methods may provide clues as to where education should be heading in Japan, a nation often criticized for focusing more on cramming knowledge rather than encouraging critical thinking.