Best Practices for Professional Development
Dan Ferreira, International Christian University, Japan
The shift from the industrial-age model of learning to one driven by the global knowledge economy has placed a burden on institutions of higher education to modernize teaching methodology. Although iterations of modern technology continue to mark their presence to varying degrees in learning environments globally, linking the instructional use of modern affordances with enhanced learning outcomes remains an issue. More than ever, research in effective integration points to professional development as the linchpin for success. This essay reviews the latest research and proposes ideas for adapting some of the best practices for professional development today at the individual and institutional levels.
Beyond a Transaction: Independent Vocabulary Study Approaches for English Conversation School Students in Japan
Daniel Hooper, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
Despite vocabulary size being widely recognized as a key predictor of L2 reading and listening proficiency, it could be argued that many students within English conversation schools in Japan (eikaiwa) are not given sufficient opportunities for theoretically principled vocabulary study. This paper analyzes existing research on independent study approaches as well as complementary classroom-based pedagogical practices that foster both incidental and deliberate vocabulary learning. Through the utilization of both mobile assisted language learning (MALL) and extensive reading (ER) programs, measured changes to a language course are suggested that could be feasibly implementable within the specific constraints of an eikaiwa setting. Furthermore, potential institutional, technical and affective obstacles that could hamper such a program's effectiveness are identified and discussed. This paper hopes to provide approaches to vocabulary instruction based on empirical data, while also remaining accessible to teachers in a context often overlooked in academic and pedagogical literature.
Promoting Effort Attributions to EFL Students
Yustinus Calvin Gai Mali, Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Indonesia
Attribution describes an explanation that learners provide for the progress of their second language learning and reasons they attribute to their success or failure in the process of learning a target language. This paper explicates three practical ways to promote effort attributions based in Dornyei’s (2001) motivational teaching framework to the learning process of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. The explications are elaborated with relevant literature and my reflective learning experiences as a language learner in Indonesia. This paper will be an interest of EFL teachers who are looking for practical ways in enhancing motivation and academic achievements of their students. In essence, this paper encourages constructive collaboration between parents and EFL teachers in taking an active role to promote the effort attributions to students.
The Impact of Empathy on Attitudes Towards English in Japanese University Classes
Paul B. Nadasdy, Tokyo Denki University, Japan
Data were collected from 192 Japanese university students relating to how they interpreted empathy and whether or not the presence of empathy was important in communicative English classes. Furthermore, to get a better understanding of students’ attitudes towards learning English, individuals were asked to give feedback about their studies at junior high school and high school. This was compared to how their attitudes towards English had changed after a year studying communicative English at university. The majority of students reported that it was important for empathy to be present in the learning environment and that their attitudes had changed positively over the course of a year. In addition, questionnaires were distributed relating to how teaching approaches, choice of tasks, and ways of interacting affected levels of empathy between classroom participants. The results from the data suggested that students enjoyed practicing communicating with strangers, enjoyed a range of tasks, and preferred it when teachers recognised them as individuals.
Interaction and SLA: The Role and Power of Rising Intonation
Jacob T. Reed, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
The interaction hypothesis states that second language acquisition (SLA) takes place best in an environment where meaning is negotiated between interlocutors using various feedback types. To add to the body of work in determining whether or not interaction plays a role in SLA, this study examines and analyses the quality of interaction in an information gap activity between two participants – one L1 and one L2 English speaker. Interesting findings in the data and pedagogical implications are discussed.
Does Size Matter?: Learners' Self-reported Perceptions in a Small-sized EFL Class
Min Lun Yeh, Ming Chi University of Technology, Taiwan
The study focuses on three aspects of EFL learning by identifying learners' self-reported perceptions of learning in a small-sized class compared with their previous experience from a larger class. A questionnaire was administered to 48 college freshman at a technical university in Taiwan. The results show that the participants generally have a positive attitude toward learning English in a small-sized class, finding it more conducive to learning, particularly appreciating the immediacy of error correction such a setting provides. Finally, the study explores the areas participants perceived to improve the most in a small class setting: oral communication ability, pronunciation, and listening, respectively.
Suprasegmental Errors, Pronunciation Instruction and Communication
Tien DANG (Tien Ngoc Dung DANG), Vietnam
This paper reports on findings from an investigation into the reason why 50 Vietnamese adult EFL learners have made so many pronunciation errors, particularly suprasegmental errors. The data of this qualitative research study provides evidence that pronunciation instruction was focused on individual sounds (segmentals) and tended to overlook suprasegmetals. Additionally, the study shows that lack of exposure to foreigners, both inside and outside the classroom, is one of the main factors in determining the participants’ pronunciation errors.