Explanations

Today I want to share an effective way of explaining complex directions to students that I picked up from a JTE who always has great ideas.

When it comes to explaining activities (especially writing activites with lots of rules and advice), there are two obvious routes to take. One is to forego English altogether, while the second is to attempt a simple explanation in English (and fall back on Japanese if that doesn’t work). In an ongoing effort to increase the English spoken in the classroom, a teacher I work with has been doing something unique. First he will write the explanation on the blackboard in Japanese while the students are occupied with something else. Then he will say something like, “Now I am going to explain the main activity. I wrote it here in Japanese, but I am going to tell you about it in English.” We will then proceed to lay out all the directions and expectations all in English (and with reference to the chalkboard), and if students don’t understand they can see the board.

Small changes like this can revolutionize the classroom and give students more confidence in listening to unbroken English. It is certainly refreshing for me to see.

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