This paper reports on a computer-assisted reading program for EFL (English as a foreign language) college learners, which is integrated directly into the curriculum. The program was designed to offer learners reading opportunities by providing more information about and background to the coursebook through the reading of related texts as self-study. This paper begins with how the reading packages were created and distributed through the internet. It then goes on to explain how the amount of articles read was counted and displayed through the internet in order to encourage the learners to keep up with each other Section 3 describes how the program was organized throughout a semester using the reading packages. To investigate the effects of the reading packages, section 4 examines which material (texts related to the coursebook or random texts) is more effective in promoting reading amount. The result confirms that related texts promote maximum reading more than do random texts. The five-scale questionnaire also indicates that the learners who read the related texts had a more positive attitude toward the materials than did the learners who read the random texts. This paper indicates what kind of reading texts teachers should choose and in what way.
This study investigated the effects of CALL-based vocabulary learning, focusing on proficiency dfferences. A total of 30 Japanese learners of English in upper and lower levels, 15 each, were selected out of 54 students who participated in a 20 week self-study with a CALL program, Power Words developed by ALC. They were investigated in terms of vocabulary gains, the amount of practice, learners' perceptions of Power Words, and their learning strategies/motivations. The results showed that the learners in the lower level signcantly increased their vocabulary size by the end of the second semester in the 1,000-, 2,000-, and 4,000-word levels. The learners in the upper level failed to show any improvement. However, the learners in both groups showed favorable perceptions about the self-study with this program, and there were no signfl cant dfferences between these two groups except in the target goals of the vocabulary levels. For the most part their perceptions were maintained throughout the two semesters, but there was a tendency for the upper level learners to lose interest in the second semester, indicating a possible limitation of self-study utilizing CALL. Both groups showed that the overall evaluation of this program significantly correlated with communicative strategies, linguistic strategies, and integrative motivation. The test scores of the upper level students also correlated with meta-cognitive strategies. These findings imply that CALL-based vocabulary learning will be more effective for lower proficiency learners but that any learners who are communication-oriented, linguistically-conscious and culturally-motivated are highly likely to benejIt from self-study with CALL.
This study examined how Japanese junior high school students learn English as a foreign language (EFL) inside and outside the classroom. The participants were 347 junior high school students of EFL and twenty-three English teachers at junior high schools. Open-ended and multiple-choice questionnaires were administered to examine students 'strategy use as well as teachers' perceptions of their students' strategy use. In the open-ended questionnaire, the students described their strategies and the teachers described the strategies which they thought their students had used in terms of each skill area, e.g., vocabulary, listening, and speaking. The multiple-choice questionnaire examined students 'metacognitive strategy use. An analysis of the descriptions in the open-ended questionnaire was carried out using the KJ method. The results showed that: 1) the students seemed to rely primarily on cognitive strategies, though not in an orchestrated way, 2) the number af vocabulary-learning strategies used was the highest of all the sldll-spec,f Ic strategies; 3) different patterns of skill-specific strategy use were identfied in relation to the different settings, i.e., inside or outside the classroom; and 4) the teachers' perceptions of their learners' strategy use were somewhat different from the students' self-reports in terms of the types and the patterns of strategy use. Finally, some implications of developing a standardized multiple-choice strategy questionnaire to investigate strategy use by Japanese junior high school students are discussed.
This study investigates how various factors regarding anxiety in learning English in the classroom are related to each other and how they relate to the learners' English communicative competence, interests, and experiences. The research questions are (1) Does a relationship exist between the anxiety of communicating in English and English communicative competence?; (2) Does a relationship exist between the anxiety of communicating in English and the learners' major?; (3) Is there a relationship between the anxiety of communicating in English and the learners' interest in studying abroad?; (4) Is there a relationship between the anxiety of communicating in English and the learners' experience of studying English privately?; (5) Is there a relationship between the anxiety of communicating in English and the learners' experience of going abroad? Using the Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), 352 Japanese students were surveyed. The survey also included questions about the students' academic interests, prior experiences related to overseas travel and study abroad, private study lessons, and TOEIC scores. The results revealed four anxiety factors which relatively correlated with learners' TOEIC scores as well as their interests and experiences. The results of the study give rise to four recommendations for reducing English learners' anxiety.
Over the years, in Japan, we have witnessed a number of second language (L2) motivation studies embodying a variety of topics and methods that were undertaken in the hope of finding the ultimate answer to the question: "How does one motivate L2 learners?" Nevertheless, we have had little fruitful, let alone comprehensive, discussion of the practical aspects of motivation so far and thereby a number of questions raised by practitioners remains unanswered. This present paper therefore attempts to examine the bulk of those L2 motivation studies and also to explore a number of possible future directions for practitioner-rewarding motivation studies. My argument is that we need to take three perspectives (domain of inquiry, research methods, and research purpose) into account in determining whether or not a motivation study constitutes so-called "eigo gakushuu iyoku kenkyuu" (practitioner-rewarding motivation research), that, I believe, can be characterized by the three elements of classroom context, learning behavior, and attitudes toward learning. To this end, in the first part of the paper, I draw on the terminologies relating to L2 motivation used in the field of SLA, and explicate the mechanism of L2 motivation (domain of inquiry). Then, I summarize some types of L2 motivation research (research methods & research purpose). Following that, I examine some reflective voices of the practitioners who have previously done L2 motivation research. Finally, I recapitulate some criteria in determining "eigo gakushu iyoku kenkyuu."
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of dictation and shadowing practice on the listening comprehension skill. The subjects were 78 Japanese high school students, who participated in eighteen sets of dictation and shadowing training, Each time the participants had a dictation assignment. After correcting mistakes they practiced shadowing both at home and at school. They were also asked to self-evaluate on their activity. Before and after the six-month training, listening comprehension tests (GTEC for students, listening part) were conducted to measure the students' improvement. The subjects were categorized into three groups according to their levels: the higher group, the middle group and the lower group. The analyzed data showed that the dictation and shadowing practice produced an effect on improving the listening comprehension skill, and that significant score gains were shown in both the middle and the lower groups, while no significant progress was observed in the higher group. These results lead to the conclusion that dictation and shadowing practice is an effective training method for the learners who have not yet internalized the phonological rules, such as reductions and elisions.
This study investigates whether or not it is possible to motivate English learners by introducing an instructional intervention based on the theoretical perspective of Self-Determination Theory (henceforth, SDT). SDT postulates three psychological needs that enhance human motivation, namely, the need for autonomy, the need for competence, and the need for relatedness. We designed a task-based activity called Group Presentation Activity (henceforth, GP Activity) that has the potential to stimulate the three needs simultaneously, and we gave it to 113 second-year university students (81 males and 32 females) for five weeks. Prior to the beginning of the intervention, students were given questionnaires about intrinsic motivation toward English learning and the three psychological needs. The same questionnaires were administered at the end of the intervention. Changes in scores, i.e., the difference between pre-test and post-test scores, served as the measures of development in students' intrinsic motivation. In addition, to investigate in detail the manner in which the three psychological needs act in terms of enhancing motivation among students, a questionnaire using a free description formula was also administered after the intervention. The results showed that: (1) GP Activity did enhance students' intrinsic motivation; and (2) the need for autonomy and competence played the most significant role in students' motivational development. Finally, some educational implications and suggestions forfuture research are provided.
It is widely acknowledged that pronunciation is a subcomponent of communicative competence (Bachman, 1990; Canale, 1983). Although a body of research documented that the marked foreign accents of L2 (second language) speakers occasionally lead to miscommunication, the effects ofpronunciation learning on L2 speakers have not been fully explored. This study, then, investigates the effects of pronunciation learning of English on Japanese EFL (English as aforeign language) learners. The 76 readings recorded by 38 college students were analyzed in this study. The students tape-recorded a dialog which is designed to diagnose English pronunciation before and after a one-year Phonetics course. Five phonetics instructors rated the readings using a holistic scale and an analytic scale. The analytic scale consisted of 15 items that represent the features of the sound system of General American English (vowels, diphthongs, consonants consonant clusters, aspiration, word stress, sentence stress, rhythm, intonation, weak forms, loudness, ratthempo, smoothness, energy, clarity; from Yoshida, 2005). The results show that after one-year ofpronunciation learning, (1) the pronunciation scores of the learners sign ylcantly increased in both holistic and analytic scoring and (2) the item difficulty changed as learners' pronunciation improved.
This meta-study performed a comprehensive review of literature concerning oral reading in English language teaching (ELT) in Japan, based on an oral reading model for Japanese EFL learners (Miyasako, 2005a). The motives for conducting this review were: (a) to re veal problems in oral reading research; and (b) to gain an insight into the utilization of oral reading pra ctice for improving learner English proficiency. Past reviews had failed to address these issues. The objectives were: (a) to classify oral reading issues in ELT in Japan; (b) to investigate into their assertions and theoretical and empirical grounds; and (c) to explain the assertions with the oral reading model. The results were: (a) we could classify oral reading issues into three categories, consisting of 13 topics, i.e., positions on oral reading, purposes of oral reading, and processing of oral reading; (b) many assertions concerning oral reading had few rigid theoretical and empirical grounds; and (c) the oral reading model theoretically approved many of the assertions and disapproved several of them. ft was also shown that the oral reading model could lay a theoretical foundation for oral reading research.
This paper reports on the brief overview of the survey and discusses issues toward the collaboration between foreign language instruction and school library media program. Although the functions of school libraries are fundamental to the fulfillment of the goals and objectives of each subject area curriculum, such recognition has been rarely acceptable to foreign language teachers. Therefore, we carried out a pilot study aimed at identifring the attitudes of foreign language teachers toward the utilization of school libraries and performed CS (Customer Satisfaction) analysis with the results of the questionnaire. Major findings suggest that there are several positive comments to support the idea that fo reign language teachers need to learn more about the roles and functions of the school libraries. Although results from this study will not be able to be generalized universally, the findings provide a reasonable starting point for further investigation to fully understand the possibilities and limitations of integrating school library media program as an integral part offoreign language instruction.