As a rule, the language of instruction is English. Each week, several students will serve as discussion leaders to facilitate in-class discussions on a particular topic, following the schedule.
To become a proficient English communicator, what we need to do is simple — we communicate in English. However, this is not always easy to do. As a teacher, I generally believe that the ultimate goal of teaching is to help students to develop self-confidence and independent attitude towards learning. As the course instructor for this Academic English Communication class in particular, I would like my students to communicate in English confidently. To this end, my mission is to provide a relaxing environment and value students' contribution.
Some people (often proficient speakers of English) might say speaking English is easy, but many university students apparently find it difficult to speak English. There is no surprise. Speaking English is difficult because speaking (in public) is difficult. Unlike listening, speaking necessarily starts with an idea. To speak English with confidence, we need to have an idea that we feel like sharing with others. A bit of courage is also essential. That is why any communication attempts in English is encouraged; there is no bad English. We also pay attention to listen to others’ opinions, because listening is apparently not considered to be valuable in this busy 21st century.
We discuss various basic topics around us, such as friends, sports, and romantic relationship because these are what university students often care about. More importantly, in this course, students become teachers and stimulate discussions for around 20 to 30 minutes. Teaching is perhaps the best way to learn. This semester (Fall 2018), I enjoyed my time with a group of science students who actively participated in the English-only environment, demonstrating that Japanese students can communicate effectively in English once they set their mind to it.