26Speak Stronger and Longer!

by Danny K. Howard, EAP Associate Director

A change will happen soon that will make Japanese people focus more on speaking and supporting their opinions. On tests such as TOEFL (for students going to America) or IELTS (for students who want to study in the UK) speaking sections are now a part of the overall score. This skill is usually very weak for Japanese students because they usually focus more on reading and ability to learn grammar.

Most Japanese who study English learn basic conversation, but NIC students have to use English to share ideas and speak up in class.

At NIC teachers often ask students questions, and they tell them to make their answers better, stronger and longer. But many students don’t know how this can be done. At first many of them only short answers of only a few words. Well, now I can explain what you can do to speak stronger and longer in classroom situations.

Imagine someone asks you this question in class (in English!!)

“Do you think Japan is a good place for foreigners to visit?”

Common answer for most Japanese students:
“Yes, I like think so.”
“Yes, it is.”

NOTE: Such answers make many people believe Japanese are shy and unable to hold a good conversation. Now, look at the conversation with the idea above.

“Do you think Japan is a good place for foreigners to visit?”
I think Japanese is a good place for foreigners to visit because Japan has friendly people and good food. For example, my friend from L.A. came to visit last year and she said she was surprised by how friendly people were at shops and restaurants. Also she felt that the food was very healthy. Therefore, I think other people will feel the same if they visit.

Good speakers do this whenever they answer questions in class. Teachers at NIC and at colleges and universities always notice students who try to make their answers better. At NIC, teachers help students answer questions better and make them add reason and examples to their answers in class. NIC has a lot of discussion, so when you come here be ready to discuss just like I have shown you above. Become an active speaker and make your answers stronger & longer in class!