What is the 5W/H filter? Who can use this technique? Where can English students use the 5W/H filter in daily conversations? When can they use this method? Why do many journalists and managers use the 5W/H filter in their work? How can the 5W/H filter keep conversations going?
Some English students will already be familiar with the idea of 5W/H as the general question words: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. This checklist approach encourages speakers to bring these questions directly back into the conversation. Can you guess how it works?
When you are asked a question, practice running the answer through the “5W/H Filter.” Make sure you answer at least two of the question words to provide details. Let’s look at an example of a typical casual conversation.
Nick: What did you do this weekend?
Nobu: I went shopping.
Nick: That’s good.
Nick: See you later.
This short conversation might be pleasant, but it wasn’t too informative. Now let’s run the conversation through the 5W/H filter.
Question: “What did you do this weekend?”
What: Went shopping
Who:With my sister
Where: At the outlet
Why: We were looking for a present for our brother’s birthday.
How: We rode our bicycles.
With the filter in place, Nobu has several places to take the conversation. When Nobu chooses to share at least three of the filtered answers, it’s much more interesting and compelling. Nick may then continue the conversation in several directions. Let’s take a look at how the conversation might go:
Nick: What did you do this weekend?
Nobu: I went shopping at the outlet on Saturday with my sister. We were looking
for a present for our brother’s birthday.
Nick: Oh, really? How old will your brother be?
Nick: How is the outlet? I haven’t been there yet.
Nick: I didn’t know you had a sister! How many people are in your family?
By providing details, Nobu and Nick learn more and share more about their lives and activities. They can also maintain longer, better conversations. If they want, Nobu and Nick can cycle through the 5W/H filter again, and the two can talk for as long as they want! The good friends will learn more about each other and their friendship can
become even stronger.
As helpful as these questions can be to start a conversation, sometimes we need added clarification to keep it going. There are several phrases we can use to do this in English. The first three expressions are usually heard in conversations, and the last three expressions are more common for teachers or speakers to use during presentations.
Was I clear?
Do you know what I mean?
Is that clear?
Can you understand that?
Sorry, was that clear enough?
Are you with me?
Do you have questions about this topic?
Should we review together?
Are we on the same page?
Can I answer some questions?
Interested in learning more? Get the info on Compelling Conversations – Japan, including where to find sample chapters, here!
Ask More. Know More. Share More. Create Compelling Conversations.
Finding work is not always an easy thing, particularly in an uncertain economy such as that of the United States. But how does one get a job?
Research, self-nomination, and persistence are common paths that lead to job interviews. Our students, naturally, find the prospect of interviewing for a competitive job an intimidating prospect. We can reduce their justified anxiety by teaching a flexible phrases and providing authentic practice. I also like to share a few simple techniques (Situation, Task, Action, Results – STAR) in answering questions. It’s worth noting that many students come from more traditional societies where patronage and nepotism are alive and well. Some ESL students find the concept of merit-based hiring both refreshing and very American. Most Americans, after all, have had to apply and interview to get their jobs. Many English Language Learners come from countries where people are employed through families, political parties or government agencies.
Fortunately, like most skills, practice makes perfect. Rehearsing interviews is a common way to make sure you hit all the talking points for the real thing. As an instructor, you can pair or otherwise group students to make lists of skills they have and skills they would like to improve. For example, reading, writing and speaking their native language are skills they already have. Reading, writing and speaking English are skills they want to improve. That, of course, is why they are in your class. You can incorporate sayings and quotes that you may find to introduce and explore the importance of maintaining, developing and expanding skills in a competitive modern economy.
Mock Job Interview – Self-Evaluation
Name: Position: Organization:
Date: Length: Interviewers:
Please fill in this worksheet using with complete sentences. Feel free to expand the worksheet to meet your individual needs. You might, for instance, want to transcribe your strongest and weakest responses to interview questions.
1. What were you glad to see in your mock job interview?
2. What were some areas that should have been stronger?
3. What are some other observations?
4. What were some language (grammar/vocabulary) errors? Please identify and correct those errors.
5. Were there any pronunciation problems? What did you say? What did you want to say? Be specific.
6. What question led to your strongest answer? What did you say? Why do you believe that was your best response?
7. What question did you struggle to adequately answer? What did you say? Why was that response less than perfect? What could/should have you said?
8. On a scale of 1-10, what would you give yourself on this mock job interview? Why?
9. What specific areas do you want to work on for your next job interview?
10. How will you do better on your next speaking assignment next time?
Which is correct: fireman or firefighter? The answer is both! But one has been gaining traction lately, along with many other gender-neutral terms for occupational titles. Here’s why:
Many professions were traditionally only open to men. As women have gained greater rights and society has become more equal, the titles used for many professions have changed. It is important, however, to recognize both traditional and modern terms for various professions. We recommend the use of modern terms that show women can hold these important positions too.
Other examples of this include:
businessman=> business professional
mailman=> mail carrier
Can you think of any more occupations that have made the shift towards more inclusive language? Encouraging your students to do so can open up enlightening discussion on new workplace policies, and get them familiar with even more helpful terminology!
Interested in learning more? Get the info on Compelling Conversations – Japan, including where to find sample chapters, here!
Ask more. Know more. Share more. Create Compelling Conversations.
“No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there – well or poorly.”
~Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), Russian-American poet & Nobel Prize winner
What’s the difference between a house and a home? English speakers clearly distinguish the two words. A house is simply the building where people live. It’s a physical structure. A house can be a stand-alone house, an apartment, or a condo.
A home, however, is the place where people live, create their lives, and feel comfortable. Often, teenagers who are forced to move may feel that their new location is a house, but not a home. They may have no memories there or friends nearby.
Does the expression “A house is not a home” in seem different when you understand this point?
You can continue to explore what home means with your students through the following prompts. Have them use complete sentences to respond.
1. When you were a child, did you live in a house or an apartment?
2. What did you like about it? What did you dislike?
3. Which was your favorite room? Why?
4. What is your favorite childhood memory at home?
5. Have you ever felt homesick? What did you miss the most?
6. Is your neighborhood the same today as it was when you were a child? In what ways is it different? In what ways is it the same?
7. What makes a good neighborhood?
8. Would you rather live in an apartment or a house? Why?
9. Would you rather live in a city, a suburb, a small town, or the countryside? Why?
10. Can you suggest some places to find interior design ideas? Where is a good place to buy furniture? Why?
11. What would your dream residence be like? Can you describe it in detail?
12. What modern appliances would your dream house have? Do you have—or want to have—a robot? Why?
13. What are some advantages of an apartment compared to a house?
“Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
~ John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th President of the U.S.
Are you a teacher looking for fresh tips to flip your classroom discussions? Do you ever wish the Teacher Edition of your textbook was more adaptable to your classroom needs?
Compelling American Conversations – Teacher Edition includes Search and Shares from the original CAC and the newly released Compelling Conversations – Japan
Chimayo Press, an LA-based educational publisher, releases Compelling American Conversations – Teacher Edition. This new title assists educators of English as a Second Language (ESL) working with intermediate students at the American high school and adult education levels, immigrant and international alike. Complementing and expanding upon the original material, Compelling American Conversatons – Questions and Quotations for Intermediate American English Language Learners, this guide also includes new content on pronunciation, idioms and word structures to spark more lively English classroom discussions.
This 120-page expansion on the original fifteen chapters comes from Eric Roth, also the co-author of four other Compelling Conversations titles and a master lecturer at the University of Southern California (USC). His co-authors are Mark Treston, who has over 15 years of teaching experience in the US, Korea, Japan, and Israel, and Robert Glynn, a tenured adult ESL teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Their collective, hands-on teaching experience is what makes the Teacher Edition an invaluable resource for more inexperienced teachers and adjunct faculty alike.”We’ve probably taught immigrants and refugees from 75 or more countries in our careers combined.” notes Roth.
First released in 2012, Compelling American Conversations, written by Toni Aberson and Eric Roth, gained some critical praise and a small group of enthusiasts.“This book is fun and stimulating and, fortunately, very accessible for the intermediate learner,” noted Planaria Price, author of Life in the USA and Realistically Speaking.
Carl W. Hart, author of Rocket English Grammar and The Ultimate Phrasal Verb Book, called Compelling American Conversations “a gold mine . . . . The combination of compelling conversation topics, which students enjoy; new vocabulary, which students crave; and brief grammar reminders, which students need, will get students talking and learning!” Despite this critical acclaim from some ESL authors and excerpts in the literacy monthly Easy English Times, Compelling American Conversations remains relatively unknown outside of Southern California adult education circles.
Many ESL Educators Can Benefit:
“I learned so much from Mark (Treston) and Robert (Glynn) about teaching speaking skills with my own book during this creative collaboration,” says Roth. “It’s both surprising and delightful. They brought so many insights and savvy techniques from their own ESL classroom experiences into the book. I suspect many other ESL educators can benefit from their teaching tips too!”
“Each chapter includes a list of learning objectives, extended vocabulary lessons, minimal pairs, and advice on paraphrasing proverbs and other extension activities. The combination of teaching tips, diverse extension activities, and additional cultural references makes it easier to provide insights into American culture while teaching English conversation. “Sometimes teachers are reluctant to teach conversation because students may ask unexpected questions,” adds Treston. “It can be stressful or wonderful. Our book reduces the stress and increases the wonder. And we like lively class discussions.”
Chapter titles – of both Student and Teacher Editions – include: Opening Moves; Going Beyond Hello; Making and Breaking Habits; Studying English; Being Yourself; Choosing and Keeping Friends; Playing and Watching Sports; Talking About American Television; Celebrating American Holidays; Being Stylish; Handling Stress; Practicing Job Interviews; Valuing Money and Finding Bargains; Exploring American Cities and Seeing Our World With Photographs.
Each chapter also concludes with reproducible ‘Search and Share’ communicative homework exercises in the appendix. These communicative, reproducible worksheets and tips help flip the classroom environment. The Search and Share format – where students collect information to share with classmates in small groups – both encourages and requires greater student participation and speaking in class. “English students need to be encouraged and supported as they gain competency and confidence,” concludes Roth. “Speaking English is harder than it looks.”
Although tailored for college and adult education students, the fluency-focused ESL textbook remains adaptable to other English programs and level. This ESL textbook expands the innovative fluency-focused ESL/EFL series that started with Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics written by Toni Aberson and Roth (2006). Since publication, Compelling Conversations has found readers in over 50 countries and established a niche among dedicated English teachers, online EFL tutors, and English conversation clubs. Compelling American Conversations is the third conversation book. The series also includes Compelling Conversations – Japan: Questions and Quotations for High Intermediate English Language Learners (2015) and Compelling Conversations – Vietnam: Questions and Quotations for Advanced Vietnamese English Language Learners (2011).
“The most important thing we learn at school is the fact that the most important things can’t be learned at school.”
~Haruki Murakami (1949- ), Japanese author
Do your English students want to speak more English? Do you currently teach Japanese English language learners? Are you looking for an engaging, fresh EFL conversation book to guide your English students toward greater fluency in speaking English in and out of class?
Compelling Conversations – Japan includes a dozen search and share worksheets.
Chimayo Press, an LA-based educational publisher, proudly introduces their latest title Compelling Conversations – Japan: Questions and Quotations for High-Intermediate Japanese English Language Learners. The English as a Foreign Language (EFL) textbook focuses on fluency and authentic conversations. The 163-page title offers a wide variety of speaking exercises and cultural discussions that consistently encourage and foster deeper communication skills for English language learners.
Designed for Japanese students of high school and community college programs, Compelling Conversations – Japan remains adaptable to a variety of students and classroom needs, including adult conversation classes.
Some English language professionals believe the conversation-based EFL (English as a Foreign Language) textbook fills a niche. “Compelling Conversations – Japan will prove very useful to Japanese English learners ,” notes Lisa Mojsin, author of Mastering the American Accent. “It’s more than just a conversation book; it’s also a cross-cultural awareness book, filled with proverbs and cultural insights.”
Marshal Holmes, owner and head teacher of Eikaiwa English World online, adds “I have been using Compelling Conversations with my intermediate students for years. With its range of topics, it’s a great book to get students to a higher level of fluency.” Holmes concludes: “In my opinion, [Compelling Conversations – Japan] is one of the best books available for intermediate English students.”
Compelling Conversations – Japan is the latest EFL textbook from Chimayo publisher Eric Roth, co-author of four other Compelling Conversations titles and a master lecturer at the University of Southern California (USC). His fellow authors are Shiggy Ichinomiya and Brent Warner, each of whom taught English in Japan for at least a decade. Ichinomiya also has photography credentials in his repertoire, and a language learning site, GoSpeakGo.com. Warner, like Roth, is currently a lecturer at USC and is the author of How to Pass the TOEFLibt Test. Their combined experience provides invaluable insight into the world of both learning and teaching English as a Second Language.
Compelling Conversations – Japan includes over 120 provocative quotes and 60 + proverbs, from authors, thinkers and celebrities from around the world within 12 thematic chapters: Getting the Conversation Started; Going Beyond Hello; Home Sweet Home; Eating and Drinking; Exploring Daily Habits; Being Yourself; Making and Keeping Friends; Sharing Pet Peeves; Taking Photographs; Talking About Movies; Learning in School, and Exploring Cities. The appendix features additional self/peer evaluations, resources for further learning, and an index of quotes used.
Chapter sections feature a range of diverse speaking activities like: Sharing Experiences, Vocabulary Expansion, Culture Corner, Ask More Questions, Photographs to Start Conversations, Paraphrasing Proverbs, Pronunciation Practice, The Conversation Continues, Discussing Quotations, Tell Me About Japan … in English. Each chapter concludes with a Search and Share web quest, where students find articles and videos online, then summarize and evaluate the information. These activities provide many opportunities for college students and adult professionals to develop, deepen, and practice their speaking skills in English. “We think this book is the best book yet in the growing Compelling Conversations series,” notes Roth.
This EFL textbook expands the innovative fluency-focused ESL/EFL series that started with Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics written by Toni Aberson and Roth (2006). Since publication, Compelling Conversations has found readers in over 50 countries and established a niche among dedicated English teachers, online EFL tutors, and English conversation clubs. “Speaking fluent English is becoming increasingly important across Asia, including Japan,” notes Roth. “Our book helps Japanese English language learners create authentic, positive experiences in our difficult, strange tongue.”