Making Eye Contact

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Apr 19, 2013 19:34
Yesterday I asked my students to make eye contact especially when they talk in English in the classroom, since I noticed some of them don't even look up their faces during conversation. Oddly enough, that's what I was told by my American teacher over and over when I was in college. I guess when he first came to Japan, he was disappointed to see Japanese students avoiding eye contact when he talked to them.

In Western countries, making eye contact is a basic and courteous manner when people have a conversation. I personally understand its importance, but we Japanese are not accustomed to doing it, because we think it's not polite to stare at people.

Furthermore, some Japanese people feel nervous or intimidated if a talker looks at their eyes all the time. In that case, we are advised to look at a talker's Adam's apple or a tie knot. I think it'll take a long time for us to master it.