We report on a study on the effects of a two-week remedial English language intervention on the proficiency of 12 undergraduate students. On the basis of their performances in our previous 7-week English-as-a-Global-Language (EGL) intervention, the participants consisted of those judged to need to revisit and recap earlier language materials in order to solidify their basic knowledge of English. The intervention consisted of two one-week courses: a textbook-based course followed by an e-learning course. Both the courses were designed to cover materials whose difficulty was set at a secondary level. The results showed that the group, overall, scored significantly higher on the post-test than they did on the pre-test. When the data were analysed individually, however, the result was less clear-cut. Ten participants improved their scores, whereas the remaining two scored lower on the post-test. We interpret and discuss these findings in terms of the importance of repeated practice and making revision notes. In doing so, we also highlight the important role of teacher-student face-to-face communication and rapport in sustainable and autonomous EGL learning.
This paper examines an effective way to teach and learn English syntax. This study focused on the use of the learners' mother tongue, Japanese. The learners consisted of 31 college students taking an English class as part of general education. For entry-level learners, English has been incredibly difficult and has resulted in low confidence in their ability to learn a new language. To remedy this situation and open a gate to the joys of understanding English, I used word order exercises. Students are provided with English words, as well as a Japanese sentence added as a hint. Learners are firstly directed to look for a verb in the Japanese sentence; then they have to find a Japanese subject. In the Japanese language, word order is very flexible and subjects may sometimes be omitted. Through these practices, the students gradually get used to both Japanese and English syntax. Since English syntax is counterintuitive to Japanese learners of English, nothing starts before learners realize the importance of word order. Making use of Japanese competency can help learners learn English better. This way of teaching can transform learners into full-fledged and highly-motivated students. The term-end test conducted after a period of three months showed that more than half of the students got a higher mark than in the first exam. According to the questionnaires given to them at the end of the first semester, learners solved word order questions with confidence. The conclusion is that this method is recommendable for its effect on learning syntax.
Students with a wide range of academic achievement levels have been admitted to Hokkaido Institute of Technology (H.I.T.) since it started administering various types of entrance exams to applicants in addition to achievement tests. Some applicants are able to enter H.I.T. without taking any achievement tests. Therefore it is very important to investigate the actual academic achievement levels of such students and to provide them with an appropriate first-year education based on the results of the investigation. This paper reports on an investigation of freshmen's academic achievement levels and the contents of the first-year education at H.I.T. It also refers to an analysis of the relationship between academic achievement levels at the beginning and at the end of the freshmen year.