Research in L2 reading has shown the effects of various types of text structure on reading comprehension. To date, however, not enough is known about the quality of those effects. The purpose of this research is to investigate the qualitative effects of text organization difference on L2 reading comprehension and also examine interactions between a textual manipulation effect and language factors. In this study, the effects of two types of text organization patterns (problem-' solution and solution-' problem) on written recall were compared in both Japanese and English. The 329 high-intermediate proficiency Japanese college students who participated in this study produced written recall about a target passage in the two text organization conditions after reading the passage either in Japanese or English. Whole idea units and idea units which reflect main ideas of the text were analyzed on two types of scores: total score and paragraph-based score. Results showed that there was no significant difference between the two text organization patterns in the quantity of information, namely total scores of recalled idea units, while there were differences in the quality of information in terms of paragraph-based difference, In addition, the study pointed out the possibility of linguistic factors overriding the textual manipulation effect. Finally, this research shows that written recall analysis can provide rich qualitative information which allows the research to explore the depth of the L2 reading processes.
This article reports on four empirical studies concerning the use of language learning strategies conducted in the Japanese EFL environment. The purposes of the first two studies were; 1) to categorize strategies used by intermediate Japanese college learners of EFL; and 2) to ascertain which strategy group was the most often used and which was generally NOT often used. In the third study, the authors determined which strategy group was regarded as "not important" for learning by Japanese college instructors of EFL and their students. Based on the results, a hypothesis was discussed that the teacher's beliefs on the use of strategies have influence on the students' beliefs, and consequently on their actual use of strategies. In the last study, the possible effects, both short- and long-term, of training on the use of strategies were investigated. The limitations of the four studies and possible research and pedagogical implications are discussed briefly.
Previous studies on the results of doze tests reported a veiy high correlation between the exact word scoring method (EXACT) and the semantically acceptable scoring method (SEMAC), ranging in the .90s (e.g., Brown, 1980; Ilyin, Spurling, & Seymout 1987; Owen, Rees, & Wisener, 1997). The present study tailored a doze test that would raise the potential for subjects (158 Japanese high-novice and low-intermediate EFL learners) to produce more acceptable altemative answers (AAAs) than usual to examine if such an intentionally biased doze still yields correlations in the same range as above. In this study the results of the two scoring methods were slightly less correlated than those of previous studies, but they were nevertheless sufficiently high (e.g., the calculated Spearman' rank-order correlation coefficient was .84). SEMAC was superior to EXACT in achieving score dispersion and differentiating the subjects and proficiency levels, whereas EXACT made the test too difficult in terms of Item Facility (IF). The reliability coefficients for SEMAC had higher values than those for EXACT. Assessments were made to decide which scoring method should be employed in the light of pedagogical uses for the test, such as measuring language proficiency accurately and ESL/EFL placement testing.
The purpose of this study is to explore the general effect of peer feedback on L2 writing. The participants were 19 sophomore college students who were enrolled in training course for junior-high-school teaching of English. Separating into two groups according to their own preference to peer revision or self revision, they revised their first drafts in narrative genre. Three native speakers of English evaluated the second drafts of all the participants using a five point scale with three global criteria (content, organization, mechanics) for holistic scoring based on each rater's impression. Although precise analysis of data was scarcely possible due to the small student sample and short time for the survey, 90% of peer revision participants supported peer revision suggesting that it give them new perspectives on the writing process. However, their attention was overtly directed to corrections on mechanics. Further research will signify the connotative mechanism of peer feedback.
It is said today, especially in modern technological societies, that reading English has more important than ever, as can be seen in the following quotation: 'English is the medium for 80% of the information stored in the world's computers...' (Graddol 1997, 50) Extensive reading programs for students to read written English as much as possible have recently been put into practice and the effects have been reported in some studies. Many researchers agree that extensive reading is effective in improving language skills. This paper reports the effects of the extensive reading program of Japanese EFL learners, analyzes changes in their attitudes and feelings to learning English and explores the possibility of Japanese EFL learners becoming autonomous readers through it, examining the results of doze tests, proficiency tests, questionnaires and interviews to the participants.
Prosody refers to the stress, timing, and intonation of an utterance, the acoustic correlates of which are pitch, amplitude, and duration (Nagel et al., 1996). Speech production of a foreign language is subject to the influence of its speaker's mother tongue. Especially, prosodic factors are more liable to be interfered with by the mother tongue. For example, Sugito (1996) suggests that not only in Japanese but also in English, the most crucial factor concerning prosody is the dynamic change in pitch rather than the change in intensity. This study tries to examine prosodic characteristics between good and poor readers using an oral reading task. Among various prosodic variables, this study focuses on fundamental frequency, reading speed, and pause consistency. The data obtained in this study show some differences as to the prosodic variables between good and poor readers. Based upon the results, pronunciation teaching which focuses on prosody in Japanese EFL classrooms is reconsidered.
The time has come to change the approach to education in universities in the face of a decrease in the number of 1 8-year-old students. One of the more effective ways to supplement their study besides lectures could be by using the LAN system on the Internet in our college. For this purpose, we have developed the online learning "Basic English 3250 Words" system using which it has been proved possible to read 89% of general English written materials. As the CGI script program can be used to check the answers of tests automatically, students are enable to calculate their score and averages on their own. The system has an English-Japanese and Japanese-English dictionary using which answers can be checked by students themselves, and there is space to send comments and queries to us for interactive communication. This system provides motivation for students to study, and at the same time teachers can easily analyze the results of tests on personal computers. After analyzing scores for each word, the word lists can be rearranged to suit individual students needs still more effectively.
This paper is a report on the effectiveness of the classroom teaching procedure of an English writing course with the aid of three worksheets produced by the writer. The procedure consists of five steps of activities, which accord with the principles of Second Language Acquisition; 1) Input Hypothesis (Comprehensible Input, the 1+1 Hypothesis), 2) Output Hypothesis (Comprehensible Output, the Pushed Output Hypothesis, Let the Students Write and Speak Out). Subjects are twenty-four freshmen of a junior college affiliated to Science and Technology Department of Nihon University. Adopting this teaching procedure the writer tries to urge the students to write a set of correct English sentences as many times as possible using about forty-five minutes in one class hour (90 minutes), thus letting their hands physically get used to the writing system of the English language. Activities that are related to other three skills of the language are also included in this procedure, but the focus is on the productive ones; writing and speaking. The effectiveness of the teaching procedure can be seen in the results of the pretest and of the post test, and in the answers of the questionnaire given to the students on the last day of the course.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the indispensable factors related to multimedia software that would aid in effectively developing EFL learners' communicative ability. Three procedures were involved in conducting this study. First, a survey of psychology of learning, cognitive psychology, educational technology and English teaching education was conducted on motivation, presentation, cognitive tasks, and multimedia information. Secondly, ten checkpoints were devised from the findings of the survey to observe the content of the CD-ROMs. Thirdly, fifty commercial CD-ROMs were examined based on these checkpoints. It was found that most of the CD-ROMs were interesting enough to highly motivate the learners, however, too much emphasis seemed to be put on how to make full use of new technology. We came to the conclusion that we should develop CD-ROMs putting more emphasis on human cognition rather than on the functions of multimedia computers. In short, the proficiency level of the students should agree with the difficulty level of the materials. Problem-solving type of tasks, rather than drill-type of tasks, would be more appropriate for developing comprehension. In addition, in solving problems in tasks, multimedia information should be systematically combined and given to the learners, paying special attention to their proficiency levels. Finally but importantly, vocabulary building is an indispensable part of the development of English proficiency.