I once read somewhere that a conversation, in your own language, or in a second or third language, is like a marriage: it needs two people and lots of hard work to be successful! 🙂
There are many conversation schools in Japan, but I wonder if they are actually helping students to develop their conversational skills and strategies by actually teaching conversation.
The art of Japanese conversation is different from Western conversation, on many different levels. In my classes, we try to identify those differences and develop a more British approach to conversation
We usually identify 5 or 6 key factors for a successful conversation …
• Listen carefully
• Show interest
• Ask follow-up questions
• Add detail to your answers
• Take (short) turns
• Clarify (check) your understanding if not sure what your partner has said
Compare the following two extracts from conversations
1. This is from a conversation I had with a student yesterday.
Me: Did u have a good night on Sunday?
ME: Did you go somewhere after the restaurant?
ME: Oh! Errr … OK … well anyway …
Can you think of any ways that my student could have made this conversation more successful?
2. This is an extract from my interview with Sarah (which some of you may have listened to)
T: Right …and when you’re travelling in these places … like … do you meet many local people who are helpful or …Do you try and speak the language?
S: Yes … yes I do … Takedau I’ve met a few peple … and the people in the local restaurants are really friendly and kind … they can’t speak much English and my Japanese is rubbish … but they are really friendly …
How are Sarah’s answers different from my student’s?
Which of the 6 skills regarding good conversation practice is Sarah using?