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Rebecca A. ARTHUR
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Communication Strategies and Teaching Low Level Learners
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Living English A•BA‰pŒκ1•2 Office EnglishABusiness English
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Conversation strategies are communication tools that help speakers avoid communication breakdowns. Although many native speakers are not aware of using conversation strategies when they are speaking with others, these strategies can be identified and taught. Learning conversation strategies helps students understand how speakers negotiate meaning in a conversation and gives them the skills they need to speak more confidently and fluently.
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One of the classes I teach is Living English A. This is a required course for all first year students in the Secretarial Department. Most Japanese students have studied English for many years but they are not confident using English to communicate with others. As a result, the focus of this class is for students to develop communication skills as well as confidence speaking English. To this end, students work mostly in pairs to complete textbook exercises, to do listening exercises using iPod nanos (which I supply) and to prepare original conversations. Support is provided when needed. Once an exercise is completed, students come to see me to be evaluated. Working this way allows students to work more efficiently since they can work at their own pace and they can ask for support when they need it. It also allows for more individual instruction. The two speaking tests give students the opportunity to use the functions and strategies they have studied in class. By the end of the term, students have had many opportunities to use English to speak with the teacher and with each other.
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  1. Practical Ways to Increase Speaking Practice Opportunities Using the Textbook (Workshop)2011”N
  2. Teaching Conversation Strategies (Workshop)2011”N
  3. Getting Outside the Textbook with the Practice Box (Workshop)2011”N
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  1. Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT)
  2. Teachers Helping Teachers (THT), JALT Special Interest Group