Speaking a foreign language is not easy, especially if you lack confidence, vocabulary, and natural phrases. However, with practice you can improve. As they say, “practice makes progress”. But, what happens when you can’t think of any ideas?
This is one of the biggest issues students have, and that’s okay. There are several ways we can think of ideas to use when we practice.
First, try to use what you already know. Think about what you would say if you were speaking Japanese in different situations. You could think about what you would talk about with a close friend; what you may talk about with a coworker; and what you’d talk about with your boss, or even a stranger. Some of the ideas may be the same, but some will be different. So, you can get more ideas just by changing the person you have in mind.
Second, learning English should be fun. Of course it is difficult, but you can still have fun. Try thinking of fun or funny ideas that you’d like to talk about. Just the other day, I was teaching a class and we were discussing a banana boat ride. The student wanted to know about the number of people who could ride and said, “There are 3 fat guys. Can they ride on the banana boat?”
How funny is this? I imagine 3 sumo wrestlers on one banana boat with some of their much smaller friends. We all laughed and had a really fun conversation. Not only was it fun, but I’ll remember this for quite some time.
Third, listen to what your classmates are saying. They may spark an idea in you. When we are discussing the questions presented in our lessons, our classmate may say something that reminds us of a story or something interesting. For instance, a student began talking about Fuji-san. Another student was reminded of the time he was going to climb Fuji-san, but couldn’t because of a typhoon. Then, the third student started talking about a typhoon that had brought a lot of rain to Gunma.
So, let’s use what you know, have fun, and listen to each other.
Thanks for reading!