This study aims to explore (a) how a demotivated and struggling English learner regained motivation to study and (b) how demotivating and remotivating factors influenced the student’s learning process. A semi-structured interview was conducted with one female college Engineering student who made significant motivational as well as academic improvements after two years of failing English classes. In order to analyze the data from a qualitative point of view, the Structural Construction Qualitative Research Method (SCQRM), developed by Saijo (2007, 2008), was used. Two possibilities can be derived from this interview. First, the student’s perception that her difficulty in understanding learning content is being acknowledged by others without judgment or criticism could influence motivating factors, such as help-seeking, effective study strategy acquisition, an attitude toward learning without fear of making mistakes, and self-efficacy. Second, while these factors might not independently affect the student’s learning attitude and behavior, they seem to be closely related.
This study attempts to examine the effect of using CAN-DO lists on (a) EFL (English as a foreign language) learners’ proficiency in English and (b) their motivation and their reaction to the use of a CAN-DO list. Two lists were used for the study: one focusing on communication and one on grammatical points. The research questions were 1) Which of the two CAN-DO lists contributes to the improvement in students’ English proficiency and motivation? 2) What do students think of using a CAN-DO list to judge their English ability? The participants, students enrolled in two classes at a high school in Japan, self-assessed their own English proficiency in May 2017 and July 2017, the two groups using the two kinds of lists mentioned above respectively. In May, their English proficiency was measured, and they answered a questionnaire about motivation. In July, the same sort of data was collected from the same students and, in addition, they answered a questionnaire about using a CAN-DO list. The instruction in English that they received was the same between the two points in time. The results showed that choice of a list is not likely to affect students’ proficiency in English. The marginal significance obtained hinted that further research could reveal a possibility that a communication-focus list and a grammar-focus list affect students’ external motivation and intrinsic motivation respectively.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of underlined and coded feedback (FB) on second language learners’ written accuracy. A total of 47 Japanese university students took part in this experiment. In week one, they were separated into three groups and each group was provided a different form of FB—underlined-FB (UFB), coded-FB (CFB), and no-FB (NFB)—after they wrote an essay. In week two, they rewrote their essays after correcting their errors, based on the FB received. In this study, the accuracy of essays was measured by using [errors per words]×10 and error-free clause/clause. The results showed that there was no difference in accuracy in draft revisions between the two kinds of FB. However, the group that received UFB outperformed the group receiving CFB when rewriting their essays. This finding suggests that UFB is more useful than CFB, and teachers can use this form of FB to help students improve their writing accuracy. This paper also discuss some of the pedagogical implications based on these findings.
This research aims to reveal whether Japanese EFL (English as a foreign language) learners correctly understand the meanings of the English basic discourse markers but and so. In Study 1, 407 Japanese university students were requested to judge whether each of the meanings of 31 Japanese discourse markers could be expressed with but/so. In Study 2, 302 Japanese university students were requested to read ten Japanese passages including a blank each and judge whether but/so is appropriate for each blank. Also, 11 English native speakers were requested to read ten English passages including a blank each and answer what words are appropriate for each blank. The results of the analyses of their judgements and answers showed that (a) Japanese EFL learners understand that but can express the adversative relationship, which is almost the same as English native speakers’, (b) Japanese EFL learners understand that so can express some relationships including the causal one, the range of which is wider than that for English native speakers. This research suggested that so is more difficult to acquire for Japanese EFL learners, and therefore they are required to have instruction in the meanings of so.
This paper argues that genre-based pedagogy, which has a long, established history in primary, secondary, tertiary, and professional education in Australia, should also be utilized and practiced in Japanese high school English teaching. The authors analyzed the two Courses of Study (the one notified in 2009 and the other in 2018), their Commentaries, and MEXT-approved English textbooks of two English subjects in order to investigate how the awareness of genre knowledge is manifested in these documents and what genres are present in the speaking and writing tasks in the textbooks. It has been found out that explicit reference to and instruction on genres and text types is scarce and insufficient and that a very narrow range of genres was required of students to produce. This article concludes that the importance of explicit generic instruction and learning should be more widely acknowledged in English education in Japan.
This study examined the relationships between the phonological component of working memory (PWM), the executive component of WM (EWM), and second language (L2) proficiency. Although a great deal of research has been conducted on the relationship between PWM, EWM, and L2 proficiency, the results have been inconsistent. Wen (2016) argues that the extent to which PWM and EWM are involved in L2 learning differs according to L2 proficiency, and he proposed the phonological/executive hypothesis (P/E) for low and (post-) intermediate L2 learners. According to the P/E hypothesis, while PWM is more relevant for low proficiency L2 learners, EWM is more important for intermediate or post-intermediate L2 learners. In this article, the author measured PWM and EWM in the participants’ first language (L1) and L2 proficiency using the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) Bridge test and explored the relationships between PWM, EWM, and L2 proficiency. The results showed that the effects of PWM and EWM on L2 proficiency differed according to L2 proficiency levels and thus supported the P/E hypothesis for low and (post-) intermediate L2 learners.
The present report looks at how teaching journals expose a teacher’s development over time from the perspectives of critical reflection, motivation and transformation. Data was collected and analyzed from a trainee teacher's teaching journal, a questionnaire and an interview. The findings may imply that a journal served as a powerful teacher-training tool because it revealed how these three factors functioned and encouraged transformation in their beliefs and teaching practices. There was also an implication of critical weaknesses in the journal writing process in this report that, for some teachers, it could be demanding or demotivating. Interventions such as collaborative journal writing are a potential way for this practice to be incorporated into teacher education programs to satisfy the need for relatedness. This report provides practical tools for teacher education research.