Autumn term starts today …

I am back to work today after a two week break 😦 , and you can see from the previous two postings what I have been doing in that time. For those of you who are studying with us this term, and for those of you who are taking time out, I have some big plans for the blog over the coming weeks, so keep coming back to have a look at the postings.

Preparing for speaking activities in class …

Many students like to prepare for their lessons, which is great, and I am often asked if it is possible to prepare for speaking activities. Well, teachers will usually re-cycle recently learnt/studied vocabulary and grammar in following lessons, and many teachers often begin the first lesson catching up on recent activities.

One thing that some of my students have found helpful for them, as they often forget what they want to say in class when asked, is keeping a small notebook with comments about what has happened to them during the week – like a diary. They bring this to class and use to help them remember what they have done, even simple things like washing the car, visiting a friend, or seeing an obachan fall off her bicycle in Midosuji Street. πŸ™‚

You might not think it is interesting, but to improve your speaking fluency you need to be talking about familiar every day topics and events. It is quite frustrating 😦 when you ask somebody what they have done at the weekend and they answer, “Nothing.” Well, only dead people do nothing, and even if you sleep all weekend, you still do something, and if you were tired, what were the reasons you were tired? You can talk about that. πŸ™‚

So, before the first lesson this week, think about what you have been doing for the past two weeks while I was on holiday in Okinawa etc, and make some notes, simple short notes. Maybe you could also make a note of some interesting vocabulary or expressions that you learnt recently, or last term, and try and use that in the classroom: think of the classroom as a laboratory for experimenting with language. πŸ™‚

So, when your teacher or classmates ask you what you have done for the past two weeks, please don’t say “Nothing”, take out your notebook and say, “Well, two weeks ago on Friday I went to ….”


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