Recently I’ve been trying to help my students expand, both in length and content. Most English conversation school students can make simple sentences in English, in fact most Japanese people can do so. The key to being a good coach is to encourage students to take what they know and get it out with confidence. Students often lose confidence because they don’t have a huge high level vocabulary to work with, or their ability to make long utterances is limited, but I always say to them “Bah! Stick with what you know and do your best, just get it out.”
In order to help my students make longer utterances and SAY MORE, I teach conjunctions to them. Of course they already know these conjunctions, what I’m really doing is giving them the opportunity and courage they need to USE them. This week, however, I decided to simplify things and asked my students to follow up EVERY SENTENCE, no matter how simple, with 2 more sentences connected with a simple “AND”. After that, I showed them how to use AND? as a question, to encourage others to say more, to expand. This was simple and very effective and within a minute all student’s were able to ask a simple question and then follow up with a few AND?s. As soon as I had taught them the proper pronunciation of the question AND?, they could go off and have a 10 minute conversation by themselves, encourage each other to give longer and longer answers. Easy AND helpful- try it!