How to Start a Communication Class as a JTE

By Takayuki Watanabe, JTE, Yamagata City

I started communication classes 2 months ago at my school with my ALT. Now I feel my students’ skills to speak English is getting better and better!  I also enjoy the class every time.

These sentences below are the ideas or tips about how I started communication classes at my school and how I should make the class better.

 1.  Keep your Style

Communication is important.  But getting knowledge is also important.  So we don’t have to deny our teaching style.  I believe the Japanese teaching style is good for Japanese people because it’s easy for us to understand, and many “senpai” teachers have established such a good style.  What we should do is simply add a little to improve it.

Let’s make evolutions daily for English revolutions!

 2.  Understand How…

The topics of my communication class are like, “Do you know…?” or “Did you enjoy the weekend?”  You might say, “What?  Aren’t they for 1st graders?  Are the students interested in such simple questions?”  But when I asked my students this kind of question in my first communication class, they were upset and had a long pause, or they finished talking with just one answer, “Yes”.

Why don’t you ask your students a simple question to understand how they are good at talking or not.  If they can’t do it well, I think it’s worth doing a communication class.

3.  Communication – Verbal and Non-Verbal –

We sometimes do a “Social Group Encounter” in our homeroom classes.  The aim of this class is to communicate well with other people.  I have thought this idea is also important in English class since I started communication classes.  When my students are doing “high-fives” that were taught by my ALT, students looked really happy.  I think communication is not only about words, but also about showing other people who we are.  I always want my students to enjoy talking with their friends with big smiles, big reactions and high-tension in English class.

4.  Give responsibility to ALT

I think saying to ALTs, “Can you make a procedure of the next lesson?” is good for us and them.  If the procedure is good, we can learn good ideas we can’t learn about as Japanese people.  Even if the procedure is not good enough, it’s a good opportunity to exchange and share ideas.  This is what we usually do to make a lesson plan with Japanese teachers at school.  So why not extend this idea to ALTs? We both are teachers.

5.  TALK MORE!

Talk more and be good friends with your ALT!

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Click this link to read more advice for ALTs about starting a communication revolution.

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