Only by increasing interest can we shorten the distance between people which alone can bring language gains. Bringing people closer together so that they really want to be together is not something that can be accomplished in our classrooms in a robotic way. Dr. Krashen has said as much in his famous observation that robots don’t converse.
So, instead of asking our students to slot one word into a mechanically constructed sentence over and over during class, which does not retain interest, we ask the students to respond in ways that are natural to them, with a nod, a smile, a laugh, a grimace, or a word or more than one.
What word or words? It can be anything that comes into their minds, as long as there is no coercive feeling about it. Rather, we invite our students to respond in natural ways that show that they actually want to answer the question, and are involved in the class primarily as interested listeners.
In this way, it happens that the class loses the mechanical feel it had to it, and anyone observing can see the difference. It is because the students are far more animated because they are involved, incrementally as the class goes along, in finding out what happens without predicting patterns or being conscious that they are being graded as they sit there.