I tell the students they can say anything when they can't think of what to say, but they must fill in the silence. They can say "umm...", "Let's see...", "chicken", "kitchen", and so on. Amazingly, students usually pause very little, and I have often had groups go on for 20-30 minutes without pausing for more than three seconds. During this activity you must act as a "policeman" and go from group to group counting off three seconds and noting when a group has spoken Japanese or has stopped for more than three seconds. However, it's best if you don't tell a group when they are out so that everyone continues speaking for as long as possible. There is simply no better way to build students' speaking confidence than the speaking marathon.
You will need some Japanese ability in order to do this effectively. If you can't speak any Japanese, here is an incentive to learn. You will be able to control your students much better if you can mimic their Japanese slips and then say, "Is that English?" and supply how to say the phrase in English immediately. More often than not students quickly realize they already know how to say the word or expression they said in Japanese. For example, a student might indicate that his or her partner can begin an activity by saying, "Iiyo" in Japanese. At this point I would mimic "Iiyo" and say, "Is that English?" (facetiously of course) and then supply "Go ahead" in English. Again, this must be done in a friendly manner.
Free Essays on Why Is Speaking More Than One Language Is Important
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As a variation, if you can speak a little Japanese, write some of their Japanese on the board and then teach them how to say the expressions in English.
What the World Will Speak in 2115 - WSJ
As with free conversation, I have noticed whenever I fail to arrange the chairs in this fashion the students have been much more reticent to speak out. Ideally, there will be no desks or barriers between the students, only chairs in two rows facing each other (see diagram below). There is something magical about this arrangement that gets the students talking. It may work because the students are out in the open and have nowhere to hide and so feel obliged to speak only English. Also, sitting face to face affords direct eye contact which somehow improves communication in English.
How To Speak English Like A Native - Part 1 | English Harmony
You will not be able to control your class well if you don't know your students' names. If a student is speaking in Japanese you need to be able to quickly say, "Yuki--are you speaking English?" This should not be said in an angry tone, but rather in a friendly, almost joking tone. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to learn your students' names. I make it my first priority, and usually commit all my students' names to memory by the third class.
I’m Robby, and I’m a non-native English speaker
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