The purpose of this research is to analyze the structure of academic writing ability of first-year and second-year university students—students who are at the stage of general education. Practitioners and scholars have analyzed students’ writing ability; however, analyses on university students have been limited to those conducted under subjective criteria based on practices in a particular classroom or a certain course. Studies using objective methods have typically been limited to the level of junior-high and high-school students. Thus, the present study analyzed a larger sample of students’ papers at the university level using an objective methodology—factor analysis. 384 assignment papers from various courses written by first-year and second-year university students were evaluated using thirty-five criteria. The criteria were all based on the skills of academic writing without regard to specific fields. Factor analysis indicated five factors relevant to students’ academic writing ability: words and sentences, content, paragraphs, overall organization, and references. This five-factor structure of students’ academic writing ability can be applied in designing an academic writing course as well as in developing a rubric for assessing students’ academic writing at the stage of general education.
In order to promote Active Learning in a remedial English class, the author developed materials in accordance with Content Based Instruction (CBI). Materials included a script in which American students are studying global warming in an environment class, and visual materials cited from websites of scientific institutions in the U.S. They enabled her students to do three kinds of Active Learning: a group activity of interpreting a scientific graph, a presentation or a performance of reading the script aloud in groups, and judging the performances of other groups. Authentic visual materials succeeded in motivating students. The author’ s results indicate that Active Learning, combined with materials based on CBI, is effective in a remedial English class.
Chemistry is the fundamental subject for studying pharmacy. However, some students had not attained a reasonable level of proficiency in this subject in their high school days, even though they had a strong desire to be a pharmacist. In order to support these students, we provided a ‘learning activity class’, in which students participated voluntarily, with no credit requirement. Students were given the same chemistry problems and were required to solve them at their own pace. Teachers were ready to support them individually when they had difficulties. After the last class, we compared the students’ chemistry grades in the final term test with their class attendance. There was no clearly significant effect of attendance. However, there was a slight tendency for frequent attendees to get higher grades. Furthermore, through a questionnaire, the importance of individual support from teachers was revealed to be very helpful in motivating the students.
This study concerns developing English teaching materials for improving the writing skills of beginner-level students studying at a junior college. As part of regular classes, photo images of children and adults doing daily activities, such as riding a bike and making pancakes, were used to elicit written responses from students in a series of four lessons. Based on research that Americans and Japanese engage in different perceptual processes when they describe an event, the students were instructed to use a context-independent, analytical perceptual style when they described photos. The assumption was that this would make their writing match the perceptual style which Americans employ, and as a result, would make their photo descriptions more easily understood by native speakers of English. Statistical results showed the effectiveness of the four lessons in which the students were encouraged to use this perceptual style. Students’ writing showed improvement even though their overall English skills remained limited.