ARELE: Annual Review of English Language Education in Japan
Online ISSN : 2432-0412
Print ISSN : 1344-8560
ISSN-L : 1344-8560
Current issue
Displaying 1-12 of 12 articles from this issue
Research Articles
  • Yuko HIJIKATA
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 1-16
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      One of the factors that influences anaphora resolution is implicit causality (IC) information from a verb. Although this verb bias has been extensively examined in first language (L1) sentence processing, it has received little attention in second language (L2) studies. Therefore, this study investigated the time course of IC information on anaphora resolution by Japanese learners of English through a self-paced reading experiment. Every sentence included a main clause and a because clause (e.g., Minami surprised Kaori because she suddenly quit the company), and the experimental sentences included a subject-biasing verb (an NP1-biasing verb) or an object-biasing verb (an NP2-biasing verb). The major findings are that (a) the causality congruency effect was found for sentence reading times regardless of types of anaphora (nouns or pronouns), and (b) the question response accuracy was affected by verb bias, indicating the importance of measuring the effects of IC information from both response times and accuracy on L2 anaphora resolution.

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  • Masaya HOSODA
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 17-32
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      Making predictions by means of verbs’ implicit causality (IC) bias is an essential skill for efficient discourse comprehension. Although English as a foreign language (EFL) learners are shown to reactively use IC bias for pronoun interpretation, whether they can proactively use IC bias for making predictions remains unknown. This study aimed to reveal whether and to what extent Japanese EFL learners predict the next-mentioned entity with IC bias. Forty Japanese university students produced continuations of sentence fragments including an IC verb in L1 (Japanese) and L2 (English). The IC verbs are assumed to bias sentence continuations to refer to the first noun phrase (NP1; e.g., “Mary annoyed Lisa because ”) or the second noun phrase (NP2; e.g., “Mary respected Lisa because ”) in the fragment. The results confirmed that the participants used IC bias for predicting the next-mentioned entity, as reflected by more NP1 continuations in the NP1- than in NP2-biasing context. However, they used NP1 bias less accurately in the L2 than in the L1 condition. This reduced accuracy with English-NP1 bias was found to lie in learners’ underspecified lexical quality of English-NP1-biasing verbs, rather than in L1–L2 morphemic difference of verbs. These findings are discussed with reference to the theoretical model of L2 comprehension and translated into educational practice to support learners’ predictive processing.

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  • Hiroki MAEDA
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 33-48
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      Speaking ability is widely recognized as a key element of learning a foreign language. Since the emergence of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), many studies have explicated the relationship between second language learners’ speaking performance and CEFR levels. To provide this issue with strong evidence, large-scale language test data may considerably impact the field of language teaching and assessment. Thus, the present study investigated the statistical differences of five aspects of speaking performance (i.e., complexity, accuracy, fluency, interactional effectiveness, and the amount of talk) between four CEFR levels (Below A2, A2, B1, and B2) based on the performance of the tasks in the speaking section of the Test of English for Academic Purposes (TEAP). The data analyzed were of the speaking performance of 153 high school students in Japan. The results suggest that the variables of the amount of talk (i.e., the number of words in a long turn, the number of words in all parts, and the number of AS units) and fluency (i.e., words per minute, syllables per second, and the ratio of pause time to speaking time in a one-minute speech task) differed between the four CEFR levels. The other measures also represent the differences in speaking performance at different adjacent levels. Based on the findings of this study, implications for L2 teaching and assessment of L2 performance are discussed.

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  • Hideaki OKA
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 49-64
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      Prior research has proposed a new index for assessing written accuracy known as weighted clause ratio (WCR). However, the descriptors used to determine WCR scores are vague and open to multiple interpretations. Additionally, prior research has not investigated the impact that various factors (e.g., rater) might have on the WCR score variances and reliability. Optimal measurement designs have not also been investigated. Thus, this study revised the rating scale descriptors used to determine WCR scores and examined the index’s reliability using generalizability theory. The impact of factors that affect the score variances and optimal measurement designs were also investigated. English essays written by 100 Japanese English language learners from the International Corpus Network of Asian Learners of English were evaluated for this purpose. The results indicated that the reliability of the evaluation was high (G coefficient = 0.91), although only some factors affected the variances of WCR scores. Consequently, optimal measurement conditions were found under which written accuracy can be reliably measured using WCR. Results indicate that the revised rating scale of WCR can be applied to essays written by Japanese EFL learners. The study results can also serve as a guideline for assessing accuracy using WCR.

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  • Yuji USHIRO, Tomoko OGISO, Masaya HOSODA, Shingo NAHATAME, Ryuya KOMUR ...
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 65-80
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      Researchers have not properly investigated readers’ construction of global coherence along multiple dimensions despite its importance in narrative reading. The present study has aimed to reveal whether and how readers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in Japan maintain local and global coherence of multiple situational dimensions. In the experiment, the eye movements of 39 Japanese university students were recorded as they read 24 narrative texts. The experimental texts contained target sentences that were either inconsistent or consistent with the preceding context sentences regarding the situational dimensions (i.e., protagonist, intentionality, causality). Through manipulation of the distance between context and target sentences, two coherence levels were set (i.e., local and global coherence). Statistical analysis of readers’ eye movements revealed that (a) EFL readers monitor the global and local coherence of intentionality and local coherence of protagonist but not the causality and (b) EFL readers maintain coherence through late reading processing (i.e., lookbacks), not through initial processing (first-pass). These results suggest differences in multiple dimensionality and its coherence level whereby EFL readers monitor coherence during reading. On the basis of the results, implications for reading instruction and future research direction regarding coherence monitoring in EFL reading are discussed.

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  • Mitsuhiro MORITA, Satoru UCHIDA, Yuka TAKAHASHI
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 81-95
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      It is important for language learners to use morphological knowledge to improve their vocabulary. This study analyzes Japanese senior high school English textbooks as a major source for learning English vocabulary at senior high schools and examines how much exposure to affixes and affixed words the textbooks provide for learners. A corpus consisting of English Communication textbooks for senior high school was analyzed to extract affixes and affixed words. Compared to junior high school textbooks, the senior high school textbooks introduced a wider variety of prefixes and suffixes, with much higher frequency. However, while students may learn a small number of high-frequency affixes with various word types through simply reading the textbooks, the textbooks alone may not be sufficient to learn the majority of prefixes and suffixes. Therefore, explicit teacher instruction is required to improve learners’ morphological knowledge. Senior high school English teachers may utilize the frequency information provided in this study in order to determine when and how each affix should be taught.

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  • Ryuya KOMURO
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 97-112
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      No unanimous conclusions have been reached on the effect of the amount of contextual informativeness on incidental vocabulary learning. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of gloss type and contextual specificity on vocabulary learning. Target words were glossed in one of three contexts: (a) misdirective, (b) nondirective, and (c) directive. They were given either single glosses, which provide one meaning, or multiple-choice glosses, wherein readers infer the meaning from several options. The results show that regardless of contextual specificity, lexical form-meaning connections were established when deeply involved in the targets in the decontextualized test, and that contextual specificity affected partial lexical development. The effects of contextual specificity and glosses on vocabulary learning are discussed in terms of the learner’s attention resources. The study findings suggest that vocabulary instruction with a teacher’s episodic talk is effective to the extent that it does not deplete the students’ cognitive resources.

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  • Yusuke HASEGAWA
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 113-127
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      Hasegawa (2012b) has found that when Japanese learners of English read sentences with pseudowords, they were able to recall the content of the sentences when cued by the pseudowords. This suggests that in some cases, paying attention to the sentence meaning may enhance the recall rate of the target word meaning, although researchers may believe that the scores of a post-learning word-meaning test is always maximized by a learning method focusing on the word meanings. In the present study, 43 Japanese learners of English as a foreign language learned a list of 10 English words with Japanese translations and example sentences within seven minutes. After that, the participants were asked to write down the meanings of half the learned words in Japanese (i.e., translation instruction). For the other half, the participants were asked to write down the content of the example sentences (i.e., context-retrieval instruction). Six weeks later, an unannounced test asked the participants to recall the meanings of all target words. As a result, the higher proficiency (Intermediate) group’s score was higher for the context-retrieval instruction condition than the translation instruction condition, whereas the lower proficiency (Elementary) group showed no significant difference across the conditions. The results are discussed based on the word-context association theory and Barcroft’s (2002, 2003) model.

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  • Rie KOIZUMI, Akiyo WATANABE
    Article type: research-article
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 129-144
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      When teachers score classroom speaking tests, intensive rater training ahead of the test may not always be possible. The current study examines the extent to which rater reliability can be maintained using a simple rubric without detailed rater training. We analyzed four speaking tests for senior high school students (N = 116). The speaking tests involved an individual presentation, a paired role play, and two group discussions across seven months. Each test was evaluated using a simple rubric by two or more raters who did not receive intensive rater training. The data was analyzed using many-facet Rasch measurement and generalizability theory. The results suggest that in general, raters scored similarly and consistently. The number of raters required to maintain sufficient reliability (Φ = .70), at the overall test level, was one to four, with group discussion tests requiring more raters or intensive rater training. Pedagogical implications with regard to the allocation of limited resources of time and raters were discussed.

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Pedagogical Articles
  • Kunihiro KUSANAGI, Kazumichi ENOKIDA
    Article type: Pedagogical Articles
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 145-160
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      This paper describes an exploratory practice that is aimed at developing preferred online educational videos on grammar explanations and reading comprehension techniques for a university-level online English course. Under the conditions caused by COVID-19 in AY 2020, the authors and their team of colleagues have begun operating a large-scale, fully online English class, which had long been based on blended instruction. The new online course is designed to include multiple online tests, web-based training materials, and online videos, with the last occupying almost one third of the lesson time. However, designing and developing online videos, especially based on student preferences, were difficult because of the lack of active feedback. Thus, a rating experiment was conducted, and a conjoint analysis was performed to estimate partial utility and its inter-learner variance for each of the following attributes: (a) text display, (b) visual emphasis, (c) dialog or monologue style, (d) teacher's face display, (e) background music, (f) length of the video, and (g) speech rate. The data from students' rating data (N = 401) clearly showed that text display, visual emphasis, dialog style, and time span are the critical factors influencing preferences of videos. Hence, the online videos were to be developed based on the specifications derived from the analysis.

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  • Sho KOBAYASHI
    Article type: Pedagogical Articles
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 161-176
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      English has been recognized as a means of communication around the globe. However, students describing feelings of anxiety for speaking can be a common phenomenon owing to the lack of authentic situations to practice English. In this study, we examined the impact of an e-collaborative project using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) aimed at alleviating learners’ unwillingness to communicate in English. Two English-speaking programs were carried out using videoconferencing technology and an online video discussion platform that helps individual learner reflect and share the videoconferencing experience. A total of seventeen Japanese college students and thirteen Australian high school students participated in the study. Data were collected using a nine-item questionnaire before and after programs and free response item, and student reflections were analyzed using the co-occurrence network of words in the KH coder. Results showed that there was no statistically significant effect on reducing unwillingness to speak English, however, speaking anxiety statistically decreased. Additionally, it was observed that positive attitudes toward English changed after the intervention. These findings suggest that the e-collaborative project may have had an impact on decreasing speaking anxiety and enhancing motivation.

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  • Takuro FUJITA
    Article type: Pedagogical Articles
    2021 Volume 32 Pages 177-192
    Published: March 31, 2021
    Released on J-STAGE: April 01, 2022
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS

      This study reports on longitudinal practitioner research on technical English classes conducted at the National Institute of Technology. Targeting first-year students, this study examined the learners’ perceptions of blended learning—a combination of web-based training (WBT) and face-to-face classes—based on the framework of exploratory practice. Different types of lessons were conducted throughout the year. In the first semester, the learners took face-to-face classes. They then worked on WBT and reviewed what they had studied. In the second semester, the learners utilized the WBT and prepared for face-to-face classes in advance. Questionnaires and reaction papers were used as data. The results showed that the learners perceived the blended learning lessons as highly effective and flexible. It was also reported that different uses of WBT contributed differently to their learning; the learners felt that using the WBT as review materials enabled them to reduce their anxiety, whereas using the WBT for the preparation of face-to-face classes helped them form a habit of self-study and deepened their learning.

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