English Communication 3 and 4

Gordon Bateson

 The English Communication courses in the Department of Intercultural Studies are intended to give students a chance to practice communicating in English, in particular using spoken English. The materials and topics are not difficult or new, but the class is challenging because the goal is to communicate naturally, using your own words, not simply to remember a series of dialogs.

When I am explaining the course to new students, I often say that "English is like a sport". If you want to get better at it, you have to practice it often. Anybody can speak English if they put in some time and effort, but no-one can do it if they don’t practice.

This is especially true for oral communication. You may think that you understand a particular word or grammar point, but that is not the same as being able to use it in the middle of a conversation. When you are speaking and listening there are so many things your brain has to do, that it is not possible to create new sentences from scratch. It is important to be able to say certain phrases "automatically", without thinking.

Another thing that English and sport have in common is that if you can find a way to enjoy the practice, you will find it much easier to continue. Different people have different ways of enjoying the same activity, but in general I find that students often sit near their "friends" in class, and very often a group of "friends" will have a similar view of how to enjoy an activity. Some groups want to just talk. Talk, talk, talk. The enjoyment comes from sharing their thoughts and feelings with their friends. They get so involved in the talking, they sometimes forget to use the target vocabulary or grammar point! Other groups of friends prefer to prepare carefully before they speak. Then, when they do speak, they focus on saying the target phrase. If they can use the phrase, the conversation has been a great success, and everyone in the group feels they have accomplished something.

So in the English Communication course, you can expect to speak a lot of English with the teacher and with other members of the class, and so improve your ability to take part in natural and enjoyable conversations.

Student Comments on the class

「This class is very interesting! because the main focus is on English Communication.」
「授業の中心が英語でのコミュニケーションなので、このクラスは、とても面白いです! 私自身あまり英語は得意ではないのですがこのクラスはとても楽しいです。何を言っていいか分からなくなっても、ベイトソン先生がさりげなくアドバイスをしてくれたりするので、気兼ねなく受ける事が出来ます。」
「I think this class, English Communication, is very fun!! When I was a first grader, I didn’t like this class because I was very shy. I guess many freshman are. But now, I think conversation is fun. If you speak English you can talk to people from other countries, so please enjoy your English Communication class!!」
「この授業はいつも明るい雰囲気の授業です。 Conversationのテーマも日常的なものなので、英会話の力はつくと思います。」
よかった課題 (good activities):

  • 二人でペアになって英語で会話をする
    Pair work talking about something in English
  • 決まった語句を使って会話をする。
    Talk about something in English using certain words ("will", "would", etc)
  • 最後に発表をする
    At the end of the class we reflect
    on what we have studied and present an original conversation

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