This study aims to examine whether the TOEIC Bridge Test measures the declarative and/or procedural knowledge of L2 learners. Elder and Ellis (2009) investigated the relationships between two standardized proficiency tests (TOEFL and IELTS) and the implicit and explicit knowledge of L2 learners. Their results suggest that different L2 proficiency tests may encourage the use of different types of knowledge. However, no previous research has investigated the relationship between the TOEIC Bridge test and declarative/procedural knowledge, which this study undertakes. The results indicate that although the TOEIC Bridge test assesses both declarative and procedural knowledge, the relationship between procedural knowledge and the TOEIC Bridge test was relatively stronger than that between declarative knowledge and the TOEIC Bridge test. In addition, the results suggest that the reading section of the test might be more related to declarative knowledge than the listening section. Thus, these results support Elder and Ellis’s argument that different standardized L2 proficiency tests may measure different types of grammatical knowledge.
In this study, we examined the impact of an English-speaking program on speaking anxiety, and whether the impact differs if the exercises are unscripted and improvised. We used video conversation-based English learning materials, and requested the cooperation of thirty four Japanese high school students who were divided in two groups: an improvisation group that did not prepare a script and a preparation group that prepared a script. We compared and verified the effects before and after implementing the instructions, and examined the impact of different methods on speaking anxiety. Data were collected using an eight-item questionnaire before and after each session; twenty video conversation sessions were conducted. We also changed the methods between the two groups, and seventeen more video conversation sessions were conducted to compare the effects. The results indicated that anxiety about speaking in English was high before conducting the video conversations. Additionally, it was observed that repeated practice using video conversations was statistically significant in reducing speaking anxiety. However, we observed no difference in anxiety reduction between the improvisation group and the preparation group, and found that the experience of practicing speaking in English through video conversations could be useful for reducing speaking anxiety in both groups.
Writing is a complex process where learners are required to demonstrate linguistic skills and knowledge by constructing clear, relevant, and logical arguments. To write an essay in a foreign language (English) is not easy for Japanese college students who have insufficient experience in academic writing, sometimes even in their native language. To help those students, a collaborative writing support system has been developed, which allows learners to read English text to analyze information and to write a well-organized academic essay. In a previous study, the effects of the system were observed in the writing performance of EFL Japanese university students; however, a problem―a large amount of time allotted for discussion―was found (Kano, 2018). Therefore, the necessity of discussion was examined utilizing the same system in this study. In order to investigate its effects, a small group discussion session was held for the students in the with-discussion group. Their writing performance was later compared to that of the without-discussion group. The results showed no significant differences between the two groups regarding word choice, grammatical correctness, logical development, and organization of their writing performance. The results suggest that providing time for discussion is not necessary when the system is implemented.
This research examines the effects of the explicit instruction of English loanwords in vocabulary learning on 74 junior college students who were divided into two groups (a treatment group and a contrast group) according to their English proficiency. Explicit instruction of loanwords along with regular vocabulary instruction was provided to learners in the experimental group in the L1 (Japanese) while the control group was provided with only regular vocabulary instruction. This study investigates whether explicit instruction in the L1 enhances the learners’ lexical understanding of loanwords as well as their receptive vocabulary. Two explicit instruction sessions were given during regular class periods. The results of a vocabulary post-test given one week later and a delayed test eight weeks later indicated that the treatment group outperformed the control group on the post-test but showed a decline in mean score on the delayed post-test and that both English learners of higher and lower proficiency levels in the treatment group produced great learning gains on the post-test but showed no statistically significant difference detected eight weeks after learning. The initial conclusions of this study suggest that explicit instruction in the L1 of English loanwords suggests a positive correlation in the retention of lexical knowledge with relatively short period of time despite learners’ English proficiency.