On Tuesday, our group of 8 discussed interesting topics. For the first hour( 7-7:50), we critically analyzed a news article and related the information back to how westerners use information to either prove or disprove information, and how that contributes to knowledge sharing. The topic was based on pollution, and some of the fallacies and assumptions that can exist in the news, and how to identify those flaws. From that point, we assessed how it is useful understand key English words and phrases and how to build useful dialogue to engage in meaningful debate.
For the second session, our group practiced methods to improve dialogue in English without having to focus on remembering specific words. We built on previous strategy from our previous session to include specific stances on topics, providing reasons for those stances and finally specify examples supporting those reasons, so that the chances for miscommunication are minimized. The format occurred as follows:
Idea/opinion: My shoes are the best.
Reason for having opinion: My shoes look good, and they make me feel like my outfit is complete.
Example of reason: When I wear my shoes, I feel like my attitude and confidence improves. Because of this, when I am in difficult situations like interviews or dates, I do not carry the same pressure or stress compared to times when I do not wear the shoes I like.
Conclusion: For these reasons, I believe my shoes are the best.
Please note that this is only an example, and in no way related to how I feel about my shoes. But, this helps to illustrate the logic which was applied in our session. It helps build the format for expressing individual reasoning, and limits another persons ability to form a unique interpretation of what we expect to communicate.
Finally, we discussed our language goals throughout the session. I shared the fact that while I am working diligently to improve my Japanese, my goal is not perfection, but instead persuasion. I am not perfect in English, but I no longer put effort into improvement. Instead, my goal for communicating in language is to be able to persuade others. That allows me to become effective in business, friendships, relationships and life. In a sense, this relieves a bit of pressure, and helps me to refocus on my goal, which is simply to be better than I was yesterday.
I was very happy and honored to share time with people who are diligently working hard to improve their communication skills, and I look forward to sharing the experience with others moving forward.