I think students need a chance to communicate. Otherwise all we teach them is just wasted air and black and white words on a page. There’s no resonance without spoken practice. 

In trying to convert other teachers to this way of thinking, I am working on soundbites that resonate and get this message of “Let’s talk more with students” across quickly. So far, these are the ones that seem to work.

“I don’t want to play games, I want time to talk with students.”

“If we had 5 minutes to talk with students during this class it would be good practice.”

“The students love communicating when they have the chance.”

“All we need is 5 minutes for talking and exchange to help students understand this.”

“Students can understand this better if they can try saying it.”

This system of 5-10 minute a “talk time” in each class, where we walk around the class and have tiny conversations with students, is still new to all of us, so it continues to be a grand experiment. If you realize like me that what students need most is more chances to practice using what they learn, and you need to do some converting of your own, then these soundbites might come in handy.

Can you think of any more that might be effective??


  1. Are you able to eat Kyushoku with your kids? I feel like that’s a perfect place to get some conversation in. It turns this abstract idea of English in a classroom and turns it into a tool that they need to use to communicate.

    • Good point! It’s great to show the kids that communication is a great way to learn and practice English. Sometimes it’s a hard sell to students, too. So far it seems the best way to get them to come around is to show rather than tell. Kyushoku is a good time to do that.

      Any thoughts on how to sell the idea to JTEs?

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