Tips for Communicating with AUAP Students


1.  Eye contact and full attention are important!  Your eyes can help indicate who should answer and whether an answer is right or not.  Most importantly, eye contact checks for comprehension or confusion.  Similarly, talking with your eyes focused on other things such as your computer screen sends the message that you’re not that interested in the person you are speaking with.


2. Speak slowly and clearly, at least initially.  Most new students have just arrived in the U.S. They may only be used to hearing English from language lab tapes or heavily accented by their teachers.

3.  Use simple English.  Simple English is generally easier for non-native speakers to understand than slang and informal English.  Also, two-word verbs are usually idioms and might not be understood when students first get here.  For example, “call off” is more difficult to understand than “cancel.”


4.  Use your voice (stress, pauses, and intonation) and body language to help convey your message.


5.  Relax.  Try not to interrupt or finish sentences, or answer for the other person.  (Silence is much more accepted in interpersonal communication in Japan than it is in the US.)


6.  Avoid asking, “Do you Understand?”  Most students will not admit that they don’t understand.  Use specific questions to check comprehension, or better yet, ask them to paraphrase the information.


7.  If you want to help your roommate improve English, don’t imitate the mistakes.  Always speak in clear and proper English when talking with your roommate. 


8.  As a last resort, try writing down messages, especially if it is important information such as meeting times, places, and dates.