To read part 1 of this blog post, please access it @ https://hyugasuccessinjp.com/2018/04/26/no-more-shyness-combating-students-inhibition-to-communicate-within-the-esol-university-and-high-school-classroom-part-1/
The influence of “no more shyness” on your students
Upon the completion of a “proper” “no more shyness” initiation, your students will be ready to demonstrate the highest levels of inhibition you will ever see in Japanese college-aged students! They will be proactively seeking ways to communicate in English, interested in getting to know their classmates and truly befriend them, talking with people boldly (even the people they met for the first time), happy to use English in front of their peers, trying to use their newly acquired confidence to talk with international students in the campus and, above all, they will be unashamed of using English as a means of communication—even if that means making a fool of themselves for their lack of proper grammar usage.
Results will tend to vary depending on your students’ age, gender and level of spoken English—but in general, they will all be more willing to proactively communicate in English than they normally would before going through “no more shyness.”
Last word for the day: “can this silly ritual really work?” Support systems for “no more shyness.”
“No more shyness” has helped me get the most out of my students in terms of communication and many of my students, even years after taking my class, still proudly claim to be part of the “no more shyness” family. In fact, I have taught students who then went on to become teachers themselves—and the same have decided to use the method in their own classes as a way to motivate Japanese students to be freed from their inhibition and to perform at their true potential in class. I write all of this to say that even if you think this method is a bit silly at best, Japanese students might actually take it very seriously. And if it can help them improve their mastery of English, why not give it a shot?
Of course, this method requires a set of support systems to be “reinforced” during a given semester of classes. I call the following set of activities “no more shyness activities.” Due to the fact they require students to be bold enough to perform in front of others. Performing these on a weekly basis will be a good way to help students master the “no more shyness” way of life.
- In-group presentation
After students have discussed enough about a topic, break them up into groups of 5-6 students and then do a small-group game activity (more on these in future articles). The ones that lose the game round have to answer one question related to the topic in front of the whole group (or give their personal opinion again about it)
- Group presentations
Get the students in groups and give them a chance to present their ideas as much as they can to the whole class. In small classes (16-20 sts), all students have the chance of participating in at least 2 group presentations for the entire semester.
- Individual presentations
As students understand more about “no more shyness,” they will have the confidence needed to perform individual presentations for the whole class. These presentations must be conducted without the help of memos and students are encouraged to adlib throughout it. They are given a theme they must talk about and they need to study the topic, but for this presentation (unlike the group ones) there is no need for too much preparation. The goal is, once again, to provide the students with that “no more shyness” bravery that we have been discussing throughout this blog-post.
- Whenever students are presenting, others are asking individual questions
The listening students must be actively listening to the presentations. They are in charge of transforming these presentations into discussions—for that reason, I select students to make questions to the presenter while the same is still presenting his/her ideas to the class. This will keep listening engaged and will give them a chance to speak up their questions in front of the whole class, once again, reinvigorating the “no more shyness” culture.
- Have game activities ready that promote self-expression in front of others
I like to have students sometimes conduct team role-plays (skits) in front of the class to promote self-expression and boldness. Certain games require students to stay in circles within their respective groups and, whenever this is the case, those who lose the game get to do a circular presentation in which they rotate facing each person of the group telling them their opinion about the topic.
I final word of warning in regard to the activities mentioned above. If the “no more shyness” system is not properly set up, you will have some students complaining about you to the schools’ academic affairs department because they feel pressured or forced to do these activities. This happened to me only in 2 of the hundreds of classes I have taught throughout my career (back in the day when I was starting to try “no more shyness” out), but it happened only because I did not inform the students properly of the reason for doing these activities. Even the shiest of students will try these activities out if they know that:
- These activities will help them to build the confidence they need to talk in English
- They will help them acquire the boldness needed to try out new challenges and consider new ideas and cultures throughout their life
- The activities will give them the same level of confidence they will need in a job interview, when asking someone out on a date, when doing any sort of public speaking/performance in front of an audience, etc.
As long as the above are clearly communicated, your students will be ready to join the “no more shyness” ranks—for the benefit of their future ESOL ability, careers and lives in general.