Thursday, March 16, 2017

Oh Really?

I really love my job and my students.  If there is a better situation for teaching in Japan, I don't know about it.  


One of my classes was practicing what to say to show you are interested in what the speaker is saying.  "That's interesting", "How nice!", "It is, isn't it?" went fine.  When we got to "Oh, really?", the student said it very flat, and I had to laugh when I tried to explain the difference between sounding interested and sounding like you thought the speaker was not telling the truth. The two students understood and I have a feeling that "oh, really" is going to be an ongoing joke.  


An upper level class was discussing gestures used in English and comparing them to those used in Japanese.  In English, when I talk about myself, I point to  my chest.  In Japanese, you point to your nose.  In English, when I want someone to come to me, I use my arm with palm up.  In Japanese, you gesture palm down.  One gesture my students had seen on television but didn't understand was the big in-air quote marks.  There isn't an equivalent in Japanese.  For the rest of the class, everything was in quotes.  I was glad the middle finger gesture didn't come up! 


I try to make my classes interesting and meaningful and if they can be fun that is an added bonus.

11 comments:

  1. It sounds like a hoot. How old are your students?

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    1. My students are in their 40's and 50's. I work at a Japanese company that merged with an American company last year, which is why they need to learn English.

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  2. lol ,i am glad the middle finger didnt come up also Pamela,lol,sounds like the students are having lots of fun.

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  3. Air quotes is a great gesture, how fun! :)

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  4. Gestures are a very important part of communication. You can manage quite well without knowing the language if you can use gestures that the listener understands. So it is very important to know which gestures NOT to use. One 'gesture' that can solve many problems is the SMILE.
    You are doing such a great job, Pamela. You are a real Bridge Builder!

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  5. That does sound like a fun class. xx

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  6. This is a very interesting post. Not what I think about at all when I think of a language class. (Though I have never taken a foreign language class). You just don't think about the gestures we use, or if you do think about them, you never think they would be different, though it certainly makes sense that they would be. I think your students really like you and attending your classes.
    xx, Carol

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  7. My son's school teaches sign language and many of the teachers use it every day. I don't know many signs at all and yesterday I was miming using the telephone by holding out my thumb and little finger to make the receiver. My son took my hand, laid it flat and put it up to my ear, like a smart phone. Apparently my signing is out of date LOL

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  8. Interesting how gestures are different in different countries.

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  9. What a fun lesson this must have been - for you and for your students alike :)

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  10. That is fascinating, and also sounds like a lot of fun - I'm sure you are a great teacher! And it must be so much fun to compare, now that you have taught kids, students and adults ^_^

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