This paper aims to demonstrate, as a case study using qualitative analysis, the effectiveness of evaluative, as opposed to fact-finding, questions for deepening learners' reading comprehension and developing their critical thinking skills in the instruction of reading. A short narrative was used as the text for 68 low-proficiency EFL college students. They were posed a series of evaluative questions as they read it, such as those that required them to predict the next turn of the plot, detect incongruities in the text, draw elaborative inferences about implicit causality, retell the story from a different view point, and reflect on and evaluate the main characters and the theme of the story. Analyses of learners' responses to these questions reveal degrees of their deepened understanding of the text and use of critical thinking skills.
The effectiveness of "dictogloss," a language teaching procedure where learners are encouraged to reconstruct sentences cooperatively after listening to a passage (Wajnryb, 1990) is investigated in this paper. Dictogloss activities through collaborative dialogue were conducted in one class with lower level students and another class with advanced level students. Both groups were able to promote their metalinguistic awareness through collaborative dialogue during the dictogloss activity. Considering the rationale and theoretical background of dictogloss, it is hypothesized that students will learn language features more successfully when they notice the gap between their interlanguage and the target-like use. Focus on Form, a deliberate focus on language form within the meaning-focused context, may be considered especially effective for lower level students. Some suggestions are also proposed to enable students to focus more on language form in the dictogloss activity.
This study investigates how weak forms of function words can be effectively retained by Japanese EFL learners through shadowing. The phonological differences between Japanese and English make the retention of weak forms of function words difficult. Prior studies suggest that the creation of connections between visualized words in prior knowledge and auditory input can enhance the retention of weak forms of function words. The current study used a visual shadowing procedure, wherein learners were asked to shadow the sentences presented on a computer screen; then, shadowing performance in the following three different conditions was compared. The experimental group was asked to shadow in two different conditions-auditory shadowing and visual shadowing. The visual group performed only visual shadowing, and the control group was asked to perform only auditory shadowing. A pre- and posttest analysis revealed that the experimental group outperformed the other two groups. The results suggest that creating a connection between visualized words and auditory input by performing auditory shadowing and visual shadowing alternatively is effective in improving the retention of weak forms of function words for Japanese EFL learners.
This study investigated the shadowing technique from a non-traditional perspective. While the mechanism of shadowing and its effectiveness on listening skills have been the subjects of researchers' interest, this study explored learners' psychological factors. Research on both motivation and demotivation emphasizes the importance of self-confidence. To familiarize more learners with shadowing, especially those whose main interest is not English, psychological effects of shadowing need to be examined. In order to explore these aspects, three research questions were set: (1) Will shadowing practice improve learners' listening self-efficacy (LSE)? (2) Is there a correlation between improvement in listening comprehension skills, improvements of LSE, and perceptions of the learning costs of shadowing as a learning method? (3) How do learners perceive shadowing? Training with 32 university students showed that shadowing is effective in improving learners' listening self-efficacy, and there is a negative correlation between improvement of LSE and perceptions of the costs. The perception toward shadowing was also revealed.
In this study, we analyzed the linguistic changes between the pre- and post-tests for 11 academic writing classes in seven higher education institutions where two teachers taught using the same syllabus. We compared these tests and examined the imbalances in writing style; for example, mix of formal and informal, or remain informal. We observed that about 10% of students used certain specific expressions taught by teachers in the class for formal writing. Thus, our study demonstrates the importance of teaching specific expressions in academic writing. In contrast, the other 10% of students used these expressions in the pre-test, but not in the post-test. Accordingly, we indicate students needs not only writing report but drills for acquiring academic writng.
This paper examines the efficacy of writing activities for students who need remedial education in university. As practical activities, two writing tasks were introduced: Yaminabe English composition (message in the bottle) (Hino, 2003) and Twitter English composition. Students' reactions were investigated through classroom observation and a questionnaire which was distributed at the end of the semester. According to the research, these unique writing activities seem to motivate learners' attitude toward writing something in English. Research, literature and activities concerning input are often seen in the field of remedial education. However, research concerning output skills, such as speaking or writing, is rarely recoguized in this field. Therefore this thesis offers a new way to consider English remedial education in Japanese universities.