Improving Spoken English in Chinese ClassroomJust answering questions with one or two words, or a phrase, is not a real conversation. It is more like a Police interrogation. In a real conversation, people share information, expressing their thoughts, opinions and ideas. If you want to have a real conversation then you must speak in whole sentences, using keywords [for effective communication,] and you must also learn to give Informative Answers.
This is the most frequent question that Chinese students in High School and University ask me. As a Conversational English Teacher for Eight years now [Spring 2011], I know only too well, that the real answer to this question, is "To Use It!"
By this I mean, that they have never developed the habit and skill of actually speaking, and it is by using the language that you develop your memory of grammar and vocabulary. You also discover your weaknesses. When you discover that you do not know 'how' to express yourself in relation to a particular matter, you can find the motivation to 'learn more'.
What now follows is the first of perhaps a series of booklets that I am currently preparing for my 1st year University Students. The skills discussed in this booklet, are the same skills that I taught 2nd year Senior Middle School students.
What is contained in the booklet, is the foundation for what I teach in class. In class I use 'theory, demonstration, and practical student participation'.
Chinese English Students reading this, might find it of some value. Certainly it will not hurt to follow the principles and learn the skills that it contains.
It is of course just a 'foundational booklet' that provides students with a written synopsis of what I teach in the classroom.
The content of this booklet is designed to provide Chinese students with a concise understanding of the basic and necessary skills that will be taught in the classroom.
Although many Chinese students will read this and say: But "I already know this!", the fact is, that in daily conversation, students do not know how to use these skills.
Luo Laoshi will 'officially' commence teaching the content of this book, on the 3rd week of class.
Students will be given a written exam on its' content at a future date.
PAGE 2. How do YOU answer questions?
When I ask you: 'What is your name?", do you just say your name?
If I ask you your age, do you just say a number, for example: '20'.
If I ask you: 'Where do you come from?', do you just say (for example), 'Wuhan'.
The first thing you need to learn, is to answer questions with 'whole sentences' [complete sentences]. That is to say, using a subject, a verb and an object. For Example: "What is your name?" - "My name is Hu Yu."
Each answer ought to contain the keyword of the question. In the sentence above, the key word is 'Name'. Why is it necessary? Let me show you.
If I start asking students the question 'Do you have a brother?' Most students just say 'yes' or 'no'. Then if I change the question to 'Do you have a mother?', I still just get 'yes' or 'no' for an answer. But do I in fact know which question you are answering? Do I know if you have understood my question?
But if you answer: 'Yes I have a MOTHER', then I know immediately that you did not hear my question clearly.
You used the wrong keyword.
Articles 3 & 4 will deal with this in more detail.
Just answering questions with one or two words, or a phrase, is not a real conversation. It is more like a Police interrogation. In a real conversation, people share information, expressing their thoughts, opinions and ideas. If you want to have a real conversation then you must speak in whole sentences, using keywords [for effective communication,] and you must also learn to give Informative Answers.
PAGE 3. Informative Answers
You have previously learned that when you meet a person for the first time that you should introduce yourself. That introduction is actually an 'Informative Answer', for you give to the person information about yourself that they did not specifically ask for. For Example: My Introduction.
Q. Tell me a little about yourself?
A. Well, my name is Luosi Dike and I'm an Australian from Brisbane in Queensland. I've been teaching English in China for 3 years now, and I am currently teaching at Hubei Guangbo Dianshi Daxue in Wuhan.
This BRIEF introduction answers the following questions:
What is your name?
Where do you come from?
How long have you been in China?
What do you do here?
Here is another example of an Informative Answer:
Q. In Which School do you Teach?
Answer: I teach in Hong Hu Number One Middle School. It is just to the left of the Main road as you enter town. It is a reasonably new school. I think it was built about five years ago. The old number one school was at the top of town near Long Ke Duo supermarket. The school currently has about 3,500 students, and about 1,000 of them are boarders living at school. Students go to school thirteen out of every fourteen days, and start school at 6:30 in the morning. Grades One and Two finish about 9:30pm and Grade Three finishes at 10pm.
This answer answers so many different questions that you did not ask me, but which I guessed that you MIGHT ask .
PAGE 4. A Grammatical Exercise An Informative Answer
Step 1: Answer each question separately as a simple sentence.
Step 2: Using good grammar, link all the ideas to make three or four sentences. These sentences will be a long informative answer. (It is also an introduction).
You will give me a copy of these 3 or 4 sentences, and then you will address the class and speak what you wrote.
This is a grammar exercise. Follow these instructions or you will fail the Test. (Yes! It counts toward your Exam).
1. What is your name? 2. How old are you? 3. Where do you come from? 4. How many people are there in your family? 5. Do you have any brothers or sisters? 6. Which high school did you attend? 7. Which university do you attend? 8. What year are you in? (= How many years have you been at University?) 9. What is your Major? 10. What career path do you want to follow? 11. Where do you want to work in the future? 12. Why do you want to do that work? 13. Where do you currently live? 14. With whom do you live? 15. Do you like living there?
You do not need to connect answers consecutively. You can rearrange the order in which you answer the questions.
This is a grammar exercise:
First you write the answers to all the questions. Make them simple sentence answers.
Then try to connect all the keywords that could fit together in a sentence. You will find further information in a later article, but let me give you an idea of what I mean.
My name is ____ and I'm a 20 year old, first year, English major, studying at ____ university in _____ and I hope one day to be a ( - career - ) working in ( - town/city/country -).
PAGE 5. Changing Topics
The key to Changing Topics in a conversation is to use the Key words of a question or an answer, to change the direction of the conversation. When you use keywords, you are 'reflecting back' the content of the other speaker. We call this 'Reflection'.(See No. 3 Article: Why is Reflection Important?)
A True Classroom Example of Changing Topics.
Q. Do you like fish?
A. No, I don't like the smell of fish.
Q. Do you like the smell of saltwater fish? A. No I don't'. I smelled saltwater fish in Fujian.
Q. Where is Fujian? A. Fujian is in the South of China.
Q. What were you doing in Fujian? A. I was in Fujian on HOLIDAYS.
Q. Who were you with on HOLIDAYS in Fujian? A. I was on HOLIDAYS with my family.
Q. How many people are there in your family?
Note the Repetition of Words Key Words
Of Course, the student could have just given me an informative answer that kept changing the direction of the conversation. For example:
"No I don't like the smell of fish, even of saltwater fish which I smelled when I was on holidays with my family in Fujian".
PAGE 6. Changing Direction during a VERY LONG Informative Answer
Q. Do you like Fish?
No, I don't like fish. When I was a young boy my parents made me eat so much fish that I learned to hate eating it. They loved to go fishing and so we always had lots of fish to eat.
One day when I was fishing with my father, he caught a Shark. He managed to pull the shark into the side of the boat and began beating it on the head with a hammer. When he thought that it was dead, he dragged it into the boat. The shark however was not dead and it suddenly began to jump around in the boat. The Shark was two metres long, our boat was only three metres long, and I was only one metre tall.
I was so frightened by the shark, that even though that happened when I was a little boy, I am still afraid of Sharks, and I never like to swim in the ocean, even though I live very near to it. But that doesn't mean that I don't like going to the beach. No! I love going to the beach. The beaches in my country are long and wide, and the sand is very white. The grains of sand are very small like salt, and when you walk on it, it makes a really funny squeaky noise. I love to walk and run on the beach, and I often sunbake as well.
My favourite beach is at Karrawa on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is a strip of land in the southern most part of my province, and is famous as a tourist attraction.
Tourists come from all over the world to see not only our beaches, but to visit 'Movie World' where they make many American Movies, and of course, to visit the many wildlife parks and rainforests that are found nearby.
Most informative answers equal just one short paragraph.
PAGE 7. Changing Direction in a Conversation:
A Practice Example of Changing Topics:
A. What will you do when you finish your studies at Hong Hu High School? B. When I finish High School I'm going to Beijing University.
A. Have you ever been to Beijing before? B. No I haven't.
A. Oh you will love it. I was there last summer and visited the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and many other interesting places, but it does cost a lot of money to go on all the tours. B. Oh I don't have to worry about money. I have an uncle and aunt and two cousins living in Beijing. Oh! Actually one cousin is now living and studying in America.
A. Really? I also have a cousin living in America. He's in Chicago studying to become a doctor. B. Wow! My cousin is also in Chicago studying to become a doctor. He loves it there, although he is not happy that America has gone to war with Iraq.
A. It is not just the Americans who are fighting in Iraq you know. The Australians are there as well. B. I didn't know that. We have an Australian teaching at our school.
A. Really? I met an Australian in Wuhan two weeks ago. He is an English Teacher. His name is -- B. Mr.---------------? That is my teacher in Hong Hu!
We went from talking about Hong Hu High School, to Beijing University, to tourist places in Beijing, to Family, to cousins in the USA, to the war in Iraq, to Australians, to an Australian English Teacher in Wuhan, and back to school in Hong Hu.
Complete Sentences: Speaking whole sentences not just phrases. [Subject Verb Object]
Reflection: Replying with some of the same words that were spoken to you. [My NAME is .......]
Statements: Are ordinary sentences containing information.
Conversation: Is the sharing of Information, thoughts, ideas, opinions etc
Effective Communication: is making sure that both speakers understand the meaning of the other, and requires speaking in whole sentences and reflecting back some of the words spoken to you. It may also require asking 'clarifying questions'.
Are not always replied to with Direct Answers
They may be replied to with Questions or Statements.
They should be answered with complete sentences, and with extra information, even if that information is not absolutely necessary and even if the question was a 'Closed Question'.
Closed Questions: Usually can be answered with 'Yes No Maybe Sometimes I don't know'.
Open Questions: Usually require the other person to give some information that forces them to 'talk'.
Multiple Questions: Asking more than one question in the same sentence.
Informative Questions: Are questions that EXPLAIN 'why' you are asking the Question. If you wonder why a person is asking a certain question, then they have failed to make their question informative.
Informative Answers: Are answers that give people more information than they specifically asked for. It is ADDITIONAL information which you can guess that they might ask for.
The content of this article is what I actually teach in the first few lessons, and from then on I begin the process of making students think and practice these skills, until they reach a point where they suddenly realise that they have a lot more ability than they thought.
Take your time reading this series of articles. They are not about filling your head with knowledge, but about teaching you practical skills. That means that you must practice them.
One of the problems I have in the classroom is that students pay little attention to doing what I request. If I don't clearly state my reasons for doing something a particular way, they just do what they think is better. Unfortunately when they do this in any exam or test situation, they fail the test. For example, they often will not compose the 3 to 4 sentences for the informative answer test, because they think of it as an introduction. So when they stand in front of the class, what they end up doing is not what is being tested. So they fail. One of the purposes of that speaking test, is to hear them say specific words, so that I can quickly and easily determine what their speech problems are.
So on the little booklet I have prepared for next semester's classes, I have placed footnotes. Take the time to read them, and remember, when your teacher gives you an instruction, there is usually a good reason for it, even if you don't know what that reason is.
Don't learn definitions for the exam: Understand the terminology.
'Reflection' as used in this book is the only correct Exam Answer.
Students who just memorise do not actually learn to understand.
Students who understand this material always pass their written tests
Tests are easy to pass when you understand the Meaning of what I teach.
You will be required to give 'SPOKEN' informative answers for EXAMS
Do what I ask (not what you think will sound good) and you will Pass.
The Key to Changing Topics is to use the KEYWORDS
Students who just memorise this page usually FAIL. Understand it!
Students fail because they don't want to work hard at understanding
Luo Laoshi has been a successful teacher of English as second language, because he learned how to break through students educational and cultural barriers, to connect with them on a personal basis; to motivate them to be successful in English by teaching them the Skills (mechanics) of language use. If the purpose of learning English is just to pass a grammar exam, then Chinese students would be better off studying Chinese grammar. Luo Laoshi believes that the key to student success in studying English, is to learn 'the language' first, and the grammar second. Since the Education System in China puts such an emphasis on passing grammar exams, many students never learn the language.
Improving Spoken English in Chinese Classroom Just answering questions with one or two words, or a phrase, is not a real conversation. It is more like a Police interrogation. In a real conversation, people share information, expressing their thoughts, opinions and ideas. If you want to have a real conversation then you must speak in whole sentences, using keywords [for effective communication,] and you must also learn to give Informative Answers.
Conversational English for Chinese Students: It does not matter if you do or do not like foreigners; or if you do or do not believe Chinese people should speak English; or if you will or will not use English later in life; or whether you did or did not have any other Major to choose from. What is important, is that you do your best to be successful in all your studies. The purpose of language is to enable you to communicate with others. If you can do this using good grammar and perfect accent and pronunciation, then that is wonderful. But if your knowledge of grammar is perfect, and your pronunciation is perfect, and your accent is perfect, but you can't talk to people, then all your knowledge and skill is useless.
Teach English in China: Reflection: Keywords: Changing Topics - Using keywords is very important, even if they are the wrong keywords. It helps us to make sure that we are both talking about the same thing. Speaking in whole sentences, using Keywords, and giving informative answers, is very important for effective communication. The key to Changing Topics in a conversation is to use the Key words of a question or an answer, to change the direction of the conversation.
What does Effective Communication mean? Effective Conversation! Effective conversation (communication) is a conversation in which no one gets confused by the other person's MEANING. The first thing you need to do to ensure effective communication is to use reflection (key words). The second thing is to ask Clarifying Questions; questions that try to find out the other person's true meaning. An effective conversation can also mean a conversation in which something is achieved. It can be a conversation in which two people both enjoy the conversation and learn something. We should never assume anything in conversation. We should make sure.
Effective Conversation and Group Discussions in English In Group Discussions, it is not enough to KNOW language skills, you actually have to be able to USE them. In order to be successful, you have to forget that you are shy; you have to develop a strong voice; you need to learn how to 'butt in', and of course, you need a good vocabulary. In a group discussion the 'topic of conversation' will change several times, as participants use their skills to avoid topics they do not wish to discuss, or to 'force' the group to discuss specific topics that skilled speakers wish to discuss. Group discussions are not 'orchestrated role plays' that can be practiced in advance.
Answering Questions with informative answers: Informative Answers make conversation more interesting. They make Changing Topics far more easy to do through the use of reflection. They make communication far more effective. Answering specific individual questions and actually communicating, are not the same thing. Informative answers are not just about giving the answer to one question. They are about communicating with the other person, and sharing with them something that you think might interest them or which you know that they either want or need to know.
Asking good questions in English: Closed Questions: In essence, closed questions do not ask for more than one piece of information. They are conversation killera - Open Questions: Open Questions are questions that provides people with an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. - Multiple Questions: Multiple means 'more than one". "Multiple questions" ask more than one question at a time. - Informative Questions: If you ever find yourself wondering why a person is asking you certain questions, it means that the person has failed to make their question informative.
How to Think in English: Memorize means: "to learn by heart" - Understand means: To grasp the meaning of something or to have thorough acquaintance with it; to be thoroughly familiar with it. Just because you memorize something, does not mean that you understand it. When you give a presentation, make sure that you know and understand what you have written. If you do this, it is less likely that you will forget your place.
Introducing Yourself: Does an introduction require skill? In fact it does. This is so because of the nature of an introduction. An introduction is your presentation of yourself, and your skill or otherwise at doing this, will effect the other person's judgement about who and what you are. The essence of good public Speaking is first found in the Preparation. A good public speaker knows exactly what to say, because they have developed very good preparation skills.
Vowels and Consonants: They say: 'Pronunciation does not have to be exact!' and they are right! Sometimes! Exact pronunciation can make the difference between being understood and either shocking foreigners or causing them to fall on the floor laughing. You have to be careful with your vowels. Do you have 'Six' lessons or 'Sex' lessons? Blue eyes or blue arse? And do you like fighting or farting? Or do you just like eating "ships"?
Mispronouncing English: A student who reads 100 words per minute clearly and precisely, pronouncing each word correctly, is much better to listen to than students whose faster reading slurs their speech, and makes their words incomprehensible. Reading fast often gets students into trouble, because they have not learned to pronounce every syllable in each word. You should not speak at a faster speed than 160 words per minute when reading or giving an Oral Presentation. While each word on it's own has a stress or accentuation on one particular syllable, those stresses are not supposed to dominate the sentence in which the words are used. Words are Stressed in a sentence to give them prominence (an importance) so that the listener knows the true message. The emphasis or stress we give to certain words, can change the grammatical meaning of the sentence.
Some Fun with English Words Here are some oddities concerning the English Language. You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
Business English for Chinese Students: There are two inescapable observations when it comes to the topic of Business English. The first is that studying Business is about Learning Theoretical Knowledge and the second is that Studying English is not meant to be theoretical. It will not be until you are in the business environment that you get your hands on experience of the Business world, and at that time, you will need to recall all that you have learned at University about Business. The purpose of your studies is to give you the practical ability that you will need when you enter the English Speaking Business World. In terms of your education, If you get the top English score in China, but can't do the job you are hired to do, then it is clear that you have concentrated on quantity (exam results) instead of Quality (being successful in your learning). A quality student Understands what he has learned. A quantity Student, just gets good marks.
Foreign Trade Assignment: Many Chinese Students think that opening a business requires little more than finding suitable shop or office space. They know little about the legalities involved in starting up a business, of import / export licenses, tariffs, insurance, advertising, legal fees, demographic studies, business plans, office rentals or the initial cost of purchasing equipment. They express a desire to get rich working overseas but have no concept of overseas living costs. They have no concept of how various aspects of life are interdependent eg: how the price of oil effects life and business in general, and world trade in particular. They feel that someone should teach them rather than learning for themselves. Students need to learn how to research.
Business English Exams: The Chinese Educational System inherently leads students to believe that teaching is the process whereby students learn what the teacher says. Learning therefore, is the memorization of what the teacher teaches. Conversational English is about learning the skills of natural [business] conversation. The purpose of the test is merely to discover if the student has at least basic conversational ability. While social issues may not seem to have anything to do with business or politics, the fact is that when it comes to politics and business, one thing that is needed in every country is a stable social environment. Such environments are fostered by the benefits that result from the successful interplay between political decisions and business development.
Language Skills: Memorandum, letters, thesis, speeches: Improving Oral and Written English: A major skill lacking in most Chinese students is that of "word association", which is a thinking skill that connects words to ideas or concepts; linking one keyword with another but different keyword and topic. Word association allows us to think of more than the specific topic under discussion. The problem most students have in writing, is that they can't think of 'what to write next'. Using word association skills, the problem is not 'what to write', but what to leave out of your writing.
Writing Skills: Speeches and Letters: Everything - Memo, letter, fax, email, speech, Thesis, business report, essay or a novel has 3 basic sections that are the same. Introduction - Body - Conclusion. The Introduction and Conclusion are easy because you do them after you have finished writing the Body of your report / speech etc. That 'BODY' has 'BONES' - the outline that results when using a professional formula to construct the composition. The bones of the speech derives from your ability to apply word association to your topic.
Writing: Facts: Summararies: Reviews: Chinese Students do not know how to summarize what has been written. They know how to give their opinion on what has been written; often given through the lens of political or cultural ideology that is not related to the written work. They do not understand the difference between writing objectively and writing subjectively. Writing about an author's purpose, is not about 'offering your opinions' on the writer, or the correctness or otherwise of what he writes. It is not about your 'opinion'. 'Your opinion' is subjective. Objectively writing about 'the writer's purpose' requires understanding what he/she has actually written.
Descriptive Writing: What you do not see is just as important and relevant as what you see! What you do not say or write, is just as important and relevant as what you do say or write! Do not give your opinion, nor use your imagination. Observe and Describe! What do you think the message of the whole picture is. What story does it tell. This does not mean that you should invent a story! The message is derived from the observation of the evidence. You may speculate or draw an inference from what is evident. Learn to describe what you see - not what you imagine about what you see! Learn to write about what is written - not what you imagine about what is written!
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The Download book does not contain a section on Seder Olam
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.