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Would everyone please stand
I've found that teaching at Japanese Universities the students can be quite stubborn when it comes to volunteering an answer. I become very frustrated when I ask questions they clearly all know the answer to but the wall of silence is the only response I get. I usually use this when we are brainstorming or checking the answers to the questions they've just answered in their book.
After a few moments of silence I ask everyone to stand. Then I ask the question again. As they respond they may sit down. It's not long before they're fighting to answer the question. If you run out of possible responses I make the remaining students make a statement so they can sit down. I usually give a topic for the statements to streamline the process. Common topics I use are: Tell me one thing about yourself, What did you do last weekend or Why do you want to study English.
I have found that it has a much better long term result than randomly choosing names from the role book. In that situation the students nearly always opt to play russian roulette and hope they aren't chosen. This way everyone is punished equally and no one is embarassed.
Cameron, Osaka, Japan
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