Friday, September 22, 2023

Speaking/Listening to English, and the Japanese Student

During a class or lesson, the student(s) should talk 70% of the time, with the teacher encouraging the student by praising their efforts, and asking them questions that require the student to give longer answers. As a student becomes more familiar and comfortable with the English language, it often will become easy it will be to motivate them to speak, especially if the topic is something personal to them, such as their interests, their job, or the city that they live in.

Listening is a different story- this is the most difficult skill for a student to develop. One of the most effective ways for a student to improve their listening skills is to listen to English for one hour every day, and it should be something that is related to their interests so that they stay motivated. Sometimes during the one hour, the student should practice shadowing, choosing a part that is about 20 seconds long, listening to the part repeatedly until they are comfortable, and then repeating that part while they hear it. As for what they will be listening to, you can provide students with transcripts of audio or video recordings, or you can record yourself reading aloud and then have students listen and repeat.

It is very common for a student who is very new to the English language to make claims such as, “There is something wrong with your voice/accent”, “You talk too fast”, and even confusing ones such as, “Your voice is too clear”. So, don’t be surprised if you hear these statements, this is merely a display of their difficulty with listening comprehension. As the student becomes more used to hearing English being spoken, their listening comprehension will slowly improve. In the meantime, if the student’s English level is very low, sometimes it would be best to speak to the student in short sentences using simple English.

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