How Do I Explain the Difference Between “Ride” and “Drive”?

Teaching the difference between “ride” and “drive” is initially simple; “drive” has many different uses outside of operating a vehicle. However, practicing all of these additional uses can create confusion in the classroom, as there is no similarity between them.

For example;
Mr. Yamada drives a car.
Mr. Yamada drives a screw into a piece of wood.
Mr. Yamada drives his subordinates to achieve success..
Mr. Yamada drives a golf ball over 400 yards.
Mr. Yamada drives a baseball through a window.

carWith no similarity between all of these examples, exclusively using “ride” in reference to cars becomes a lot more appealing, but as all native speakers know, the driver of the car cannot also be a rider in the car. To avoid all of the difficulty associated with learning each meaning, and the associated vehicle for each, simply have the student use “use”.

For example;
Mr. Yamada uses a car.
Mr. Yamada uses a bicycle.
Mr. Yamada uses a train.
Mr. Yamada uses a horse.

By avoiding “ride” and “drive” altogether, a more concise word can be used, making English conversation easier for the listener as well as the speaker.

How Do I Convince My Student That “Sand” and “Sandwich” Are Not the Same Thing?

Due mainly to katakana being used to represent foreign loan-words, foreign words take on many extra syllables when represented in Japanese. Something like “personal computer”, which has 6 syllables, would become “pasonaru conpyuutaa”, which contains 7 syllables. 6 is a lot more comfortable than 7, but most Japanese enjoy , thus it would become the 3-syllable “pasocon”.

Oftentimes, “sandwich” (サンドイッチ) is abbreviated as “sand” (サンド), which has led to most students believing the two words to represent one item. Imagine an English speaker’s surprise upon hearing that their counterpart eats sand. The surprise would be great.

To break the student of the bad habit of expressing enjoyment concerning the consumption of sand, it is good to keep a small pouch of clean sand in the pocket of your suit, allowing for rapid access when the need arises. Fine, white sand works best for this demonstration. Sand may be steamed, microwaved, or baked at 200 degrees for 5 minutes to remove any bacteria.

sand

Sand

As the student begins to mention eating “sand”, reach into your suit to retrieve the pouch, and sprinkle a little on the table. Inquire as to whether the student wishes to eat the sand on the table. The answer will be “no”, to which you would respond “correct. I don’t want to eat sand. Repeat”, and have the student repeat the sentence. Coach the student to say “I want to eat a sandWICH”, placing emphasis on the “wich”.

Under no circumstances should the student be allowed to eat the table sand. It is not meant for consumption.

How Do I Teach Polite Requests?

Occasionally you will encounter a student so rude that they could be mistaken for a Frenchman. France is famous all over world for it’s inventive cuisine and unsurpassed rudeness, but some of that rudeness derives from misappropriate English language use. Japanese are genetically not rude people, and therefore it is important to give the students the appropriate language to express themselves in the politest ways possible. This is often done with the use of polite requests, since if a request isn’t polite, it’s an order.

Have the student transcribe the following 4 questions in random order;

  • Give me your wallet.
  • Please give me your wallet.
  • Could I have your wallet?
  • May I have your wallet?

Have the student number the sentences from most polite to least polite.
If you notice any problems in the order, create an apprehensive look and back away from the sentences as though they are a very ugly baby. The student will notice your apprehension, and their shame will help them to remember the mistake.
Once the sentences have been verified to be in the correct order, read them out loud and have the student mimic while passing a wallet back and forth. If both the student and the teacher are uncomfortable with using real wallets, they may be substituted with a piece of paper that has the word “wallet” written on it.
Once the student has had enough practice saying the sentences, have them transcribe the following 4 nationalities in random order;

  • French
  • American
  • English
  • Japanese

Have the student number the nationalties from most polite to least polite.
Once again, if there are problems with the order, show your apprehension. The student’s shame from earlier in the class will be compounded, further helping them to remember the correct answers.
Match the nationalties with appropriate politeness, and practice saying the sentences.
Practice this exercise until all of the sentences have been said twice.

How Do I Stop Students From Saying “I Am Reaching Orgasm To The Store”?

In English, reaching orgasm is expressed by many phrases – “Bingo”, “Yahtzee”, “Team Rocket is blasting off again”, etc. However, none are more common than “I am coming”. In Japanese, it is expressed by saying “I go”(行く). There are many mistakes made in Japanese, as they confuse sentences such as “I am going to the store” and “I am reaching orgasm to the store”, and these oftentimes find their way into English lessons.

When the student makes a mistake, confirm meaning by having them demonstrate with their hands. 99% of the time, they mean to express “going” and not “reaching orgasm”.

To practice the difference between the two English meanings, you may practice a roleplay where the student travels throughout a city and reports their activities to you via “phone”. This roleplay should only focus on the literal English meaning of “go”. This will help the student avoid saying anything particularly embarrassing when using English outside of the classroom.

How can I have my student share their coffee?

We’ve all had classes where our eyelids can barely stay open, and we spend most of the class trying to keep our head upright. When a student brings a can or cup of coffee into the classroom with no intention of sharing it, they are inadvertently insulting the teacher and they are responsible for creating a lower quality lesson.

Coffee started as a drink in the Middle East, to keep desert dwellers awake throughout the nights during Ramadan, allowing them to fully enjoy their times of feasting before the day-long fasting. Coffee has spread all throughout the world and is renowned for its ability to keep people awake. Of all of the world’s coffee, Japanese coffee is among the most delicious.

How can we have the student share their coffee? Like everything else, it must be integrated into the lesson.

There are two effective methods that work for this;
1) Telephone roleplays
Communication becomes much more difficult when you are unable to see body language or facial expressions, such as when conversing via telephone. Tell the student that in order to prepare for these situations, you will do some roleplays where you are not allowed to see each others faces.
Have the student turn their chair around so that they are no longer facing you. As the student talks, you will be able to take a sip of coffee.
There is an inherent problem with this in that it is a sneaky way to get coffee. If the student catches you, they will very likely be unhappy. However, this method has a greater success rate.

2) “Would like” practice
Students expect a certain degree of fun and excitement in the classroom, and practicing “would like” is the best way to do so.

“Would like” is very useful language in that it lends itself to a variety of situations. To drink some of the student’s coffee, start by asking three “would like” questions in either the verb or noun pattern, incorporating objects in the classroom (ie, Would you like to use my pen? Would you like to open a window?”)

After asking 3 questions, have the student ask 3. They will not think to ask about the coffee, so if you see the student struggle to compose a question, point to their coffee to encourage that question. When they ask a variant of “Would you like to drink my coffee?”, answer with an enthusiastic and grammatically relevant “Yes, I would” and take a quick sip. Most students find this very amusing, and you can have them repeat the question to have a second or third drink.