Accents Asia Journal of the Teachers College Columbia University Japan Alumni Association
Accents AsiaJournal of the Teachers College Columbia University Japan Alumni Association

Previous Issues

Volume 8 Issue 2, April 2016

What Teachers Can Do in the Pedagogical Trinity: Pragmatics, Grammar, and Communicative Language Teaching

Sanae Oda-Sheehan, Ochanomizu University, Tokyo

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Abstract:
While prag
matic awareness plays a vital role in developing communicative competence, it is less likely to be addressed in the Japanese EFL classroom partly due to lower pragmatic awareness among teachers. In fact, many cases of pragmatic failure are related to deficiencies of adequate teaching, which need to be urgently addressed in order to prevent learners from making unintentional mistakes. Towards that end, this study explores possible paths to promote pragmatic pedagogy and proposes one feasible approach, fully utilizing what is already available in the classroom – the integration of pragmatics and grammar pedagogy. Although grammar-oriented approaches are often cited as one of the causes for ineffective EFL learning, this integration can benefit the classroom where teachers need to satisfy various demands such as implementation of communicative language teaching (CLT) and preparation for college entrance exams. This approach will have great significance for teachers who struggle to balance those needs, especially for Japanese teachers of English (JTEs), many of whom believe that their strength is more likely to lie in their grammatical competence. The implications of this study may lead to more holistic approaches to L2 pragmatics with new teaching perceptions in the demanding EFL classroom.

Issues in the Effectiveness of Early Exposure to Learning English in an EFL Environment

Emiko Matsui, Sophia University and University of the Sacred Heart

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Since the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020, there has been a growing interest not only in incorporating English in schools’ curricula but also in exposure to learning English from a younger age. In this paper, the author will discuss issues regarding early exposure to learning English from a Second Language Acquisition (SLA) point of view. This paper attempts to show the necessary ideas that need to be understood when making good decisions about English education in an EFL environment.

The Effect of Popular American Films on Taiwanese University EFL Students' Perceptions of L2 Culture
Morgan William Dooley, Ming Chuan University

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Film has been used for many university-level courses in Taiwan. Extant research, though, is limited regarding how this specific form of visual media may affect EFL students’ understanding of foreign or L2 culture. Hence, the purpose of this research is to discover if using this authentic material has significant impact on students’ L2 cultural learning. The 52 student participants were enrolled in a junior-level course at a northern Taiwan university. They first completed a quantitative attitudinal pre-test with Likert-type questions at the very beginning of the semester. After two months of instruction, the posttest identical to the pre-test was administered. Next, SPSS software was used to obtain the bivariate statistical data with t-tests for comparative analysis. Final results proved overall that popular American films affect participants’ L2 culture learning. These results provide EFL educators with an effective option for teaching this subject. In addition to providing the effective aspects of this approach, there are suggestions regarding how to manage some ineffective ones.

Behind Japanese Students’ Silence in English Classrooms
Sachie Banks, Bunkyo University, Japan

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Abstract:
This ethnographic study investigated what challenges Japanese university students faced in communicating in English with their teachers. The study focused on the functions of student-teacher interaction in English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts in Japan. Participant observations were conducted during two English classes and further data was collected from four students through semi-structured interviews. The study revealed three factors that could have interrupted student-teacher interaction: a collective communication system created by students, respect for their teacher and peers, and students’ higher expectations of what they should say. Academic support for teaching cultural differences in educational settings and encouraging students to speak up individually should contribute to communicative strengths in the classroom and wider intercultural situations.

Integrating Research Approaches Toward Fluent EFL Literacy
Anna Husson Isozaki, Juntendo University

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Evidence has been accumulating regarding the specific challenges for reaching fluency in reading L2 English, particularly in EFL settings. Some interventions are showing potential value, according to recent cognitive and classroom research. Among these are incorporating multimedia, especially audio to make use of evidence of phonology’s facilitative role in building L2 reading, and also incorporating collaborative reading work in the classroom. This paper briefly reviews relevant research and develops an integrated skills approach to a proposed pedagogical intervention for university learners. Designed to collect qualitative and empirical data, this proposed action research is intended to explore and help clarify if integrating support for phonological awareness in collaborative classroom settings can improve EFL literacy experiences and acquisition for learners.

Team Teaching in the English Classroom in Japan: A Call for Intercultural Communicative Competence Development
Jonathan David Brown, Yamanashi Gakuin University

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This study looks at the problems of team teaching in Japan through a review of earlier studies and a brief survey of elementary school Japanese and native-English teachers that was conducted by the author. The results of the survey corroborate earlier studies and suggest team teachers need Intercultural Communicative Competence (ICC) development to make team teaching more effective. Accordingly, this paper encourages those who are in a position to incorporate ICC development into teacher training programs to do so.

An Argument for Stepping Back: A Comparative Analysis of L2 Interaction in Student-Student and Teacher-Student Dyads
Daniel Hooper, Kanda University of International Studies

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Many scholars claim that interaction is an essential element in developing L2 competence. ELT professionals are therefore often concerned with creating scenarios where L2 interaction is being fostered. The purpose of this study was to investigate how differences in interlocutor can influence the amount and nature of interaction occurring within a communicative task. Utilizing a conversational analysis (CA) methodology, this study analyses conversation strings from two (student-student and teacher-student) dyads recorded during a picture dictation task. Transcriptions of the recorded data highlighted differences between the two dyads in the patterns of interaction that occurred. Interaction in the student-student data featured a higher amount of repair initiation sequences and conversation strategies than was found in the teacher-student group. Furthermore, whereas next turn repair initiation (NTRI) was frequent in the student-student dyad, repair initiation was significantly delayed in the teacher-student data. Potentially problematic examples of teacher talk were also identified from the teacher-student transcription. The results suggested that an expert-novice orientation in the teacher-student dyad may have created psychological constraints limiting the amount and type of interaction that occurred. This study provides further evidence of both the importance of peer interaction and the necessity for reflective inquiry in teachers’ professional development.

The Global Academic Vocabulary Lexicon: A New ELT Resource
Paul Wadden, International Christian University; Dan Ferreira, International Christian University; Edward Rush, Trinity College, University of Melbourne

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This article describes the Global Academic Vocabulary (GAV) lexicon, lessons, and platform that was initially implemented at International Christian University in Tokyo and is now under significant further development at the University of Melbourne and NYU-Tokyo. Research by Na and Nation has shown that understanding of about 95% of the words in an academic text is required for learners to confidently comprehend its meaning. But exactly what words do university learners need to know to achieve such a level of coverage? The GAV provides one important answer to this question by combining the headwords from the three most significant long-standing corpus-based vocabulary studies to date: the University Word List (UWL), the Academic Word List (AWL), and the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) word lists, with a fourth, the New Academic Word List (NAWL), now being added. This article provides the rationale behind the creation of the GAV.

Metalanguage as a Component of the Communicative Classroom
Michael Jonathan Ellis, International Christian University High School

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In this paper, the author reviews research on the use of metalanguage in language education to suggest that metalanguage has productive uses in communicative language teaching (CLT). First, there is an exploration of definitions which begins by borrowing Berry’s (2005) notion of metalanguage as an imprecise concept, indistinct from the target language. Then, the relevant aspects of SLA theory including metalinguistic knowledge, meaning-focus and focus on form, implicit and explicit knowledge, and languaging are explored to frame the potential utility of metalanguage. Finally, a summary of research on metalanguage is provided, followed by a discussion of conclusions. The findings indicate that metalanguage can be used productively in CLT if proper consideration is taken for students’ varied metalinguistic backgrounds and target language proficiency. Furthermore, written tasks with a goal of passive metalinguistic knowledge seemed to be better suited for metalinguistic instruction. In addition to its use during class time, metalanguage may be considered a learning strategy which leads to increased learner autonomy.

Volume 8 Issue 1, August 2015

Proceedings from the Yokohama JALT Technology My Share, Saturday May 30th, 2015, Tamagawa University, Japan

 

An Introduction to Flipped Learning

Selinda England, Showa Women’s University

Abstract:

Flipped Learning is a new, profound teaching philosophy, encouraging teachers to approach their classes in a modern way. Instead of the traditional, lecture-style format, educators use technology to become the “guide on the side”, tutoring students with hands-on activities. Classrooms which utilize Flipped Learning give students the power to learn independently, at home, while encouraging dynamic group discussions in class. (Sharples et al., 2014). In addition to an overview of the Flipped Classroom Method, this article will showcase several key technology tools to aid in instruction, for example, a) Movenote, b) Screencast-o-matic and c) QR codes.

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Scannable, Evernote, and Goodnotes – Building a Digital Writing Habit
Matthew Keighley, Nihon Daigaku

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In this paper, the author discusses the benefits of digitising handwritten work, such as student essays, for both student and teacher. In particular, laying out one method teachers might employ themselves as well as detailing a back up option for those working with less computer savvy students.

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Using Smartphones in the Language Classroom: Making the Most of Core Smartphone Apps

Brett Milliner, Tamagawa University

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Smartphones, tablets, and touch screen laptops, are powerful tools capable of accommodating hundreds of specialized, complex operations and applications to anyone, seemingly anywhere in the world. As close to all tertiary students own and/or have access to one of these devices, it is natural for language teachers to be interested in how these devices can be used to leverage the language learning process. This short paper considers some of the built-in, core applications or “apps” which come with smartphones when they are unboxed. The potential uses for voice recorders, video cameras, timers and digital cameras in the language classroom will all be presented in an effort to stress the importance and value of these language-learning tools.

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Learning through Watching: How to Use Movieclips.com as an Effective Learning Tool

Michelangelo Magasic, Tamagawa Universtiy

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This paper describes ways in which streaming video may be used as an effective learning tool. After outlining the utility of streaming video as a technology for L2 language learning, this paper provides two separate techniques through which streaming video might be employed in the classroom. The first way is a general viewing strategy through which students may familiarise themselves with new vocabulary and build confidence in foreign language media while the second method involves using the search function inherent to streaming video to find topical clips to help teach specific vocabulary or grammar points.

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Creating Reusable Pronunciation Pairs on Keynote
Mary Nobuoka, Waseda University, Ochanomizu Women’s University, Gakushuin University

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One of the best language-focused learning activities to improve students’ pronunciation is drilling using pronunciation pairs. In this paper, participates will learn how to create a template slide using Mac Keynote, including pictures to help students understand the meaning of the words in the drill. Participants will be able to use these short drills in any class to help students become aware of and master the more challenging sounds in English.

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Using a Tablet Computer for Positive Self-review
David Ockert, Toyo Universtiy

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This paper reports the results of a small, exploratory, and longitudinal study which tested for the influence of video recording of students successfully speaking in the classroom and self-viewing with an iPad at a later date. The iPad video intervention, which allowed some of the students to view their successful use of English while speaking in front of their peers, is arguably a form of Positive Self Review (PSR; Dowrick, 1977). The results show that the students who received the iPad intervention had a non-statistically significant higher level of amotivation; statistically significant higher levels for the two most extrinsic motives (p < .05), including a higher level of the identified regulation items (Ideal L2 Selves; p < .10); and a statistically significant (p < .01) higher level for all three of the intrinsic motives: for knowledge, for stimulation, and for feelings of accomplishment. These results support Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self-System theory (2005, 2009). Finally, these results indicate that PSR may support student motivation for successful long term acquisition of EFL.

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Automatic Monitoring of Quick-Types: A Tool to Visualise Progress and Detect Cheating

Malc Prentice, Soka University, World Languages Centre

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Quick-writes are a useful activity for increasing students' writing fluency. For those who need to take typed exams such as the TOEFL iBT, or use computers in the future for other tasks, a useful variation on this is the quick-type. However, when students are producing hundreds of pieces of writing on a variety of topics each week, it becomes difficult to monitor progress and detect cheating. This paper describes an open-source, cross-platform tool (created initially in response to student self-plagiarism) which analyses quick-types submitted by students via a Google Form and produces two reports: an easily interpreted visual overview of progress for students, and a summary report for teachers which flags possible problems for attention.

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Text and Corpora: Collocations, Constraints, and the Classroom

Roy Randy Y. Briones, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

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This paper attempts to demonstrate collocation from a disaster-report article and how certain constraints in word-combinations influence collocability. These constraints are identified using corpus data followed by an enumeration of practical means of demonstrating these constraints vis-a-vis the teaching of vocabulary in the classroom. To achieve these, a 491-word online disaster-report on Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan was selected. From this article, 13 nodes (words) and their corresponding collocates were identified to form a Semantic Field or node-collocate combination. Two fixed expressions were also identified from the said article. In order to identify the constraints that influence how words collocate or combine with other words, the following verbs from the above-mentioned Semantic Field were identified, “lash”, “struck”, “knocked out”, “ripped”, as well as the fixed expressions: “in the wake of” and “faced with a scenario”. Using Carter’s (1998) constraints on word-combinations in English, the relevant constraints on word-combinations of the above verbs and fixed expressions were identified using corpus data from the following corpora: ICE – Philippines, ICE – New Zealand, and the Brown Corpus. Lastly, upon identification of the constraints vis-à-vis the use of corpus data, ways on how teachers can demonstrate these word combination constraints in the classroom were presented.

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Volume 7 Issue 2, April 2015

The Preference of Learning With Various Authentic Materials on an E-Platform: A Survey on Advanced-Level Students

Min Lun Yeh, Ming Chi University of Technology, Taiwan
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Numerous academic findings have shown that authenticity engages students in learning languages. Also, language learners have relied on authentic materials as evidenced in much research. The purpose of this paper is to determine the viability of applying authentic materials to an e-learning platform by collecting quantitative information from a questionnaire surveying 77 freshmen students at a technology university in Taiwan. These students were placed at an advanced level. They were exposed to various kinds of authentic materials in the one-year Freshmen English class. By the end of the school year, they were asked to fill out a Likert-scale questionnaire concerning their attitude toward the authenticity presented in the class. The findings are intended to illuminate the effectiveness of authentic materials in an e-learning platform.

NNESTs on the Rise: Learning and Teaching of L2 Pragmatics
Akiko Chiba, The Open University of Hong Kong
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It has been a widely accepted perception that only the native-language teachers can teach the authentic language form, whereas nonnative-language teachers are considered as second class professionals (Mahboob, 2004; Brain, 2010; Kumaravadivelu, 2012); the so called “native speaker fallacy” (Phillipson, 1992). With such preference to native teachers still being prominent on one hand, the population of nonnative English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) today outnumbers its counterpart on the other (Kahmi-Stein, 2004). Although the benefit of the local NNESTs are somewhat recognized (Medgyes, 1999; Mahboob, 2004), the favoritism toward native teachers seems to be deep-rooted (Mahboob, 2004; Braine, 2010). This phenomenon brings about several disadvantages to nonnative-language teachers, such as limited employment opportunities and difficulties in teaching areas such as pronunciation and culture, which can lead to diminishing confidence as language-teaching professionals altogether. Despite this undesirable circumstance, research on instructional pragmatics, which specifically targets the needs of nonnative English-speaking teachers, is rather scarce. Thus, this paper examines how NNESTs can be empowered to teach the target community pragmatics, by investigating NNESTs’ challenges in learning and teaching the target community pragmatics, and secondly, by exploring means to overcome some of the disadvantages that hinder NNESTs as English language professionals.

The Effects of Journaling on Taiwanese EFL Students’ Extensive Reading Habits and Attitudes
Keith M. Graham
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This research study examines the effects of journaling on the extensive reading habits and attitudes of Taiwanese English as a foreign language (EFL) students. The study was conducted with eleven eighth grade students enrolled in a private junior high school in northern Taiwan. Students were asked to submit weekly journal letters online to their teacher about English novels read outside of class. The teacher responded with comments and questions. Data from the study show that using journaling as an activity increased the amount of extensive reading done in English as well as improved many students’ attitudes toward extensive reading.

Teachers’ and Students’ Perceptions of Team-Teaching Practices in Two Japanese Senior High Schools
Takaaki Hiratsuka, University of the Ryukyus
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In this study I explored the perceptions of local Japanese teachers of English (JTEs), foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) and their students of team-teaching practices in language classrooms in Japan. Data were collected from two pairs of team teachers and four of their students in two Japanese senior high schools through multiple qualitative methods, including interviews, pair discussions and focus group discussions. Findings suggest that the teachers and students considered team-teaching practices to be: unique, because of the participation of a native English speaker in the team, and also because of the particular nature of teamwork by both teachers; open-ended, due to vague definitions; and less important than other commitments at school. It is noteworthy that the participants had these perceptions with different degrees (from very strong to very weak) and with various, sometimes opposing, attitudes (from very positive to very negative). These participants’ complex perceptions derived from their personal experiences, contextual factors and research conditions.

Pedagogical Implications of Discourse Analysis: One-on-one Teacher-student Interaction in a Second Language Preschool Class
Anna Belobrovy, Bunkyo Gakuin University
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The study connects two areas of language research: discourse analysis and second language pedagogy. The overall goal of this study is to raise young learners’ language teachers’ awareness on how to improve the quality of classroom talk in order to make it more comprehensible to students. As professional development is a long process, in this study I will only introduce three techniques language teachers of young children can explore in order to achieve a more comprehensive and engaging language classroom without having to give up natural speech. The language activity chosen for analysis is based on the content-based theory, which allows connecting drawing with language learning in the international preschool context. In the activity described in this research, students were engaged in one-on-one conversations with teachers and answered their questions to show comprehension. Two teachers’ interaction patterns were tested in terms of repetitiveness, turn-distribution and reference to the information provided by students. Based on my findings, I recommend three tools language teachers can utilize to modify their interaction style and enhance students’ comprehension: systematically repeat key words provided by students, create opportunities for students to initiate conversation and use reiteration to emphasize grammatical patterns. With this study, I hope to open new doors in the field of preschool language acquisition in Japan and encourage more researchers to support second language educators of that age group.

Volume 7 Issue 1, April 2014

A Study on the Relationship of English Listening Comprehension to Linguistic, Cognitive and Affective Variables among Taiwanese Elementary School Students

Wei-Chen Chen and Wen-Ying Lin, University of Taipei, Taiwan
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The present study intended to take a close look at the relationship of Taiwanese young learners’ English listening comprehension to three clusters of variables —linguistic (general English proficiency and English vocabulary knowledge), cognitive, (Chinese listening ability and metacognitive awareness), and affective (English listening anxiety and language learning motivation). The participants of the present study were 141 sixth graders from two schools in Taipei City and New Taipei City. The instruments used in this study were: (1) an English listening comprehension test, (2) an English proficiency test, (3) a Chinese listening comprehension test, (4) an English vocabulary test, (5) a metacognitive awareness questionnaire, (6) an FL listening anxiety scale, and (7) a motivation questionnaire. The collected data were analyzed mainly through multiple regression analysis procedures. The major findings were summarized as follows. First, the three clusters of variables together significantly contributed to English listening comprehension (R2 = .39, F(6, 134) = 14.15, p < .001). Second, the cognitive variables significantly provided a unique (9%) explained variance (R2change = .09, Fchange(2,136) = 7.76, < .01) in English listening performance after the affective variables had been accounted for. Finally, the linguistic variables also significantly provided an additional (18%) explained variance (R2change = .18, Fchange(2,134) = 19.44, < .001) in English listening performance over and beyond the prediction afforded by the affective and cognitive variables. Based on the findings of the present study, some implications and recommendations for future research were provided.

Using CA for Effective Communicative Language Teaching
Emiko Matsui, Rikkyo Jogakuin Junior College
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In this brief, reflective analysis, the author conducts an exploratory conversation analysis action-research project to better understand the dynamics of her own classroom. She attempts to answer the simple question of how effective she is in promoting a communicative learning environment in her Japanese university classroom. Her findings include increased understanding of her own limitations in encouraging student output, as well as surprise at how readily students engaged in repair practices.

Volume 6 Issue 2, February 2014

The Impact of Globalization on Language Education Policies in Japan and South Korea

Allen Lindskoog, Chuo University, Tokyo

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The impact of Globalization on English language education policies has been felt throughout East Asia. The impact effects language learning, policy decisions, curriculum development, and teaching (Nunan, 2003). The common theme from nearly all East Asian countries’ educational ministries and governmental institutions is the discourse of globalization – with linguistic capital a country can be competitive in the global economy. This paper examines the discourse surrounding globalization and English language by comparing South Korea and Japan and how the impact of globalization has impacted English language policies and practices on these two countries.

Reconsidering the Noticing Hypothesis
Taeko Doi, Globist English School

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In acquiring second language speaking skills, the Noticing Hypothesis claims that the learners need to notice the gap between what learners can say in their inter-language and what they want to say in the target language. This paper deals with three questions which arose from my teaching practice about the hypothesis: At what point during the time of articulation does noticing occur? What conditions allow the learners to notice the gap? Are there any unnoticeable formal elements? The review of the literature shows that learners can notice the gap only when they have sufficient grammar knowledge, enough time to monitor their production, and the intention to review their own production. Second, while phonological and morphological errors are easily noticed, major structures of the utterance are unable to be noticed and are not restructured. Third, content words are more easily attended to than function words. Finally, exactly when the noticing can occur in one articulation is left unmentioned in the Noticing Hypothesis, namely at the onset or in the middle of or after the articulation. Based on these findings it can be concluded that noticing can occur only under certain conditions.

Japanese EFL Learners’ Perceptions of English as an International Language: The Gap between the Societal Demands and the Classroom Realities
Chie Nishimura, Koka-gakuen Junior and Senior High School, Tokyo

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Although EFL learners are now being exposed to various types of English that are used in actual international communication, students of EFL in Japan have not yet been widely exposed to concepts such as EIL (English as an International Language), World Englishes, and Globish. This is due to the fact that in English Language Teaching in Japan, there seems to remain a preference for English spoken by native-speakers, and a lack of awareness amongst students as well as teachers of how diverse the English language really is. Currently, EFL learning contexts in Japan do not necessarily expose learners to the type of English that is recognized at the societal level as a tool for international communication. In this article, I explore Japanese EFL learners' perceptions of English, and address several problems in Japanese classrooms with respect to reconciling the gap between English as a tool for international communication and English as an academic subject. I conclude with suggestions on how to close the gap between societal demands and the realities that exist in Japanese schools.

Language Learners’ Belief Change 
Sakae Suzuki, Shonan Institute of Technology 

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This longitudinal study is designed to provide an orderly account of how beliefs about English language learning change among seven high school students in Japan. Beginning when the students were first-year high school students (10th graders), the investigation takes a qualitative multiple-case-study approach that includes in-depth interviews, responses to open-ended questions, and written reports. Data gathering ended when each student, in the third year of high school, chose a university. Conclusions include: (1) factors that influence changes in learners’ beliefs and (2) implications for teachers and educators.

Considering the Interaction Hypothesis: Clarification, Elaboration and Paraphrasing
Jonathan David Brown, Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan

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In this paper, the Interaction Hypothesis is considered in an analysis of a short script between a native English speaker and three Japanese ESL learners (non-native English speakers). Through this analysis, the roles clarification, elaboration, and paraphrasing play in creating and improving comprehensible input and output are identified and discussed, thus providing support for the Interaction Hypothesis.

Volume 6 Issue 1, April 2013

The Effect of an Unequal Power Relationship on Interaction in a Children's EFL Classroom

Abigail Odakura, International Christian University High School, Tokyo

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Although children are often thought to have an advantage when it comes to second language acquisition, in EFL contexts, adults tend to learn more quickly due to experience and socialization (Ortega, 2009). In order to facilitate communication in a children’s EFL classroom, it is important for teachers to recognize the strategies that children use to when they want to indicate difficulties in interaction. This paper uses Conversation Analysis to examine the strategy use of three children and the power relations between the children and the adult teacher in a children’s conversation class in Tokyo.

Information Technology in English Language Learning: Towards a Plan in Teacher Professional Development and Growth
Phillip A. Towndrow, Centre for Research and Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore

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The use of Information Technology (IT) in English language learning has grown over the past 50 years in response to learners’ needs and developments in theories relating to the nature of language and language learning. But technological advancement is not neutral. Educational practitioners require ways of determining what IT has to offer and justifying their decisions to utilise it. Using an original lesson outline and instructional aids produced for a primary level (age 9 and above) class in Singapore, this paper illustrates how IT has the potential to create learning opportunities, increase the quality of learning experiences and provide a basis for input variation. The article concludes with four ideas for starting and maintaining a programme of language teacher professional development and growth with IT. Considered individually, each of these items can bring small rewards. But when combined they have the potential to generate more ambitious and transformative action plans.

Language Learner Identities: Utilizing Conversation Analysis in the Classroom
Reiko Takeda, International Christian University, Tokyo

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Conversation Analysis (CA), a method which studies and analyzes interaction has been used to study organizational structures of utterances, such as turn-taking, sequencing and repair practices. However, an area which is attracting attention is CA studies in the English language classroom, in particular, identities of language learners. Through examples of CA studies of interactions involving English language learners, the article discusses how using CA to analyze interactions in English language classroom can help address pedagogical issues surrounding the emergence of asymmetrical learner identities. The article concludes with the need to make CA available for more English language teachers as a vehicle to understand their students and their potential.

Extending Learning Opportunities: Diverging from the IRF to Promote Collaborative Pedagogy
Mikiko Sudo, International Christian University, Tokyo

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The IRF/RE (initiation-response-feedback/initiation-response-evaluation) is a well-known pedagogical device to control participation structures in instructional settings; however, teachers interested in promoting students’ autonomy distance themselves from overusing this device. One of the main reasons is that students in the IRF oriented interactions are, in principle, “invited to participate …, but they are not authorized to question what they are accomplishing or why” (Kinginger, 2002, p. 255). In spite of such a serious drawback, many teachers still stay unconscious about how they heavily rely on the IRF in their classrooms. This paper reviews studies that have explored teachers' efforts to break the IRF sequence. By so doing the author illustrates how teachers’ conscious shift from authoritative discourse successfully promoted collaborative pedagogy and increased students’ learning opportunities.

Vocabulary Acquisition through Extensive Reading
Fumiko Sato, Tokyo Women's Christian University

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Vocabulary acquisition through extensive reading is significant and should be treated with substantial concern. Learning the usage and meaning of words incidentally in their contexts and developing inferencing skill to understand unknown words during extensive reading is a powerful contributor to vocabulary growth. Research showing that incidental vocabulary acquisition through extensive reading and intentional vocabulary instruction are not mutually exclusive, but are complementary. Various strategies for intentional vocabulary acquisition may compensate for the weaknesses and enhance the advantages of incidental vocabulary acquisition through extensive reading in EFL situations.

East Asian Students' Autonomy in EFL Classrooms
Sachiko Maruoka

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East Asian countries have shifted the pedagogical focus of English education from grammatical components to developing communicative skills in English and positive attitudes towards engaging in proactive communication as a responsible member of a community, both of which can be components in learner autonomy. However, such shifts can not necessarily be found in the reality of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms. This paper explores the extent to which East Asian students can be autonomous in EFL classes, and if the gap between the education policies and the reality of EFL education in East Asia can be closed by promoting learner autonomy through certain types of activities, specifically cooperative learning (CL). The paper concludes that reactive autonomy, which is proposed by Littlewood (1999), is congruent with East Asian students, and that CL has potential to promote the students’ autonomy and to accomplish Japanese education policies focusing on communicative proficiency in EFL classrooms.

Volume 5 Issue 2, October 2012

Looking for Common Ground: An Investigation of Motivation Strategies Valued by ALTs and JTEs

Jennie Roloff Rothman, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba
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Although the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme and its Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) have existed for more than a quarter century, many questions on how and to what extent ALTs ought to be utilized in the classroom still remain. Present research is largely concerned with discussions of cultural differences that impede successful team-teaching, or documentation of issues, such as ALT underutilization, rather than offering tangible solutions or program evaluation. Examining the teaching beliefs and attitudes toward student motivation of both ALTs and their Japanese counterparts (JTEs) is one possible step towards practical solutions to these issues. This paper outlines the results of a survey on the importance of motivational strategies given to ALTs and JTEs while providing concrete suggestions for how to better utilize ALTs in the way that draws from the common beliefs uncovered.

 

 

Applying the Findings of Attribution Theory-Related Research to the College Foreign Language Classroom
Guy Smith, Tokyo Women's Christian University
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In this paper, the author first discusses how attributions, in general, play a role in student motivation regarding effort when attempting tasks and in coming to decisions of whether to continue or discontinue those efforts. In particular, the focus is on the context of Japanese EFL learners and their low self-esteem as competent language learners and users. The importance of enabling such students to gain a clear point of reference regarding their own personal progress and improvement, and the implications this has for their self-perception as successful and competent second language learners is explored through an action research project.

Computer-Mediated Communicative Competence: How Email Facilitates Second-Language Learning
Matthew Klaus, Tamagawa Gakuen First-Division, Tokyo
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Abstract:
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is an important medium by which teachers and students interact both inside and outside of the classroom. Unfortunately, CMC has received little attention in terms of second-language (L2) acquisition. This paper reviews a variety of recent research on CMC’s role in language teaching to provide a basis for understanding how the medium can aid L2 teaching and learning. The review shows that CMC’s role in L2 teaching is effective when the process is blended with explicit instruction and autonomous practice. However, this paper also illustrates how L2 learners lack pragmatic competence when using CMC that results in misunderstandings when student-to-teacher or native-to-non-native interaction occurred. The review concludes with pedagogical considerations for L2 teaching and learning.

Volume 5 Issue 1, April 2012

Emphasizing Content in the English Composition Classroom in Japan

Jonathan Brown, University of Yamanashi, Kofu
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Abstract:
This paper attempts to briefly explain why an overemphasis of grammar and vocabulary in the writing classroom is ineffective at building ESL students’ writing abilities beyond the basic level and how an emphasis on content can help to improve these writing abilities.  Several exercises taken from an actual English writing textbook used in Japanese high schools will be used to 1) demonstrate how grammar and vocabulary is the predominant focus in the English composition classroom in Japan, and 2) how easily an instructor might integrate content into the writing exercises without needing to make large changes or restructure the curriculum.

Searching for a New Approach to Listening
Matthew P. Wallace, Kanto International High School, Tokyo
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Abstract:
Listening is an essential skill for learners to develop as they acquire a new language. Unfortunately, it has received little attention in the language classroom and language learning literature. This article reviews the current literature on second language listening skill development. Evidence from the review indicates the current approach to pedagogical listening is inadequate in addressing the needs of second language learners. As a result, an eclectic approach, combining the current approach and the process approach is proposed. The review concludes with pedagogical implications for the language listening classroom.

An Evolving Philosophy of Teaching
Reiko S. Takeda, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
In this article, which was a writing assignment for the Integrated Skills Practicum, a course at Teachers College, Columbia University in Tokyo, the author reflects on how the course has helped shape her teaching philosophy since its start in January 2011. Here, she focuses on how she works with students, her observations of her classes as a language teacher, and her development as a teaching professional.

Issues in Second Language Listening Comprehension and the Pedagogical Implications
Tomoko Kurita, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
Listening is an important language skill to develop in terms of second language acquisition (SLA). In spite of its importance, second language (L2) learners often regard listening as the most difficult language skill to learn. This paper reviews a variety of recent research on listening comprehension to provide a basis for creating more effective listening instruction. It begins with a brief discussion of listening processes for comprehension and acquisition, followed by reviewing cognitive research, linguistic research and affective research on listening comprehension, and discusses implications of teaching L2 listening for comprehension and acquisition. The paper concludes that current research on listening comprehension has revealed the importance of metacognitive knowledge, lexical knowledge and prosodic cues including stress and intonation as well as reducing anxiety in the development listening comprehension.

EFL Journal Writing: An Exploratory Study in Self-expression as a Bridge for Creative Writing
Asako Takaesu, International Christian University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
This study examines how reflective journal writing affected college students in a creative writing course and explores key factors to ensure a successful journal writing process. The qualitative data analysis based on students’ journal entries and three surveys administered over the course of nine weeks indicate that the activity allowed students to deepen their self-awareness, served as a springboard for more elaborate creative pieces they later pursued, changed their attitude toward writing in English and enhanced their confidence, and increased their motivation for more challenging writing tasks. Trying to create an environment where students feel unthreatened by overly strict academic writing rules and having them keep a journal on a regular basis appear to play key roles in promoting a successful journal writing process. 

Applying SLA Research and Theory to Practice: Cooperative Output-focused Activities for an EFL Reading Classroom in Japan
Miyoko Okazaki, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
The intent of this article is to encourage English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers to experiment with the practical application from second language acquisition (SLA) research and theory by sharing ideas for classroom activities. The activities proposed are for classroom teachers to incorporate some aspects of SLA research and theory in a communicative classroom. The article begins by reviewing the important SLA research and theory related to noticing, output, and interaction, followed by the current trend of effective pedagogical approaches and how they relate to the research and theory. Then the article discusses key common challenges in teaching English in Japan. Finally, activities for an EFL reading classroom with applying the described research and theory are presented. The activities attempt to encourage cooperative output-focused activities for EFL reading classrooms in Japan.  

The Effectiveness of Shadowing on Students' Psychology in Language Learning
Kazuko Shiota, Sophia University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
Previous studies have shown the effectiveness of shadowing on English skills, but few have investigated its impact on learners' emotions. This study looks at how shadowing affects novice college students' psychology, which is typically low on intrinsic motivation in the Grammar-Translation Method and high on anxiety in the Communicative Approach. Data collected suggests that shadowing could be a useful technique to solve problems in students' attitudes towards second language learning. 

Refining Composition Skills: Academic Writing and Grammar (6th edition) by R. M. Smalley, M.K. Ruetten, and J.R. Kozyrev (2011), A Book Review
Makiko Asaba, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Volume 4 Issue 2, October 2011

Autonomy Enhancing Tools for Teacher Development

Jackie Suginaga, Komazawa Women’s University
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Abstract:    
Recent literature advocates that teacher education is most effective when it adopts a multi-perspective approach to teaching and learning through Reflective Practices, Action research, and Exploratory Practice. The meta-cognitive strategies developed through self-reflection can allow teachers to grow on professional as well as personal levels. In order for the teacher to foster autonomous learning, they must reflect on their own teaching and learning practices. This paper considers how teachers as learners can engage in this transformative process by infusing a blend of theoretical and practical dimensions of Reflective Practices which needs little time to implement yet brings a wealth of rewards to both teachers and their learners. 


Use of Corrective Feedback in the Classroom: A Reflective Analysis
Ethan Taomae, Teachers College Columbia University, Tokyo
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Abstract
Corrective feedback from teachers is an important part of the process of second language acquisition. Therefore teachers need to be aware of how they are providing feedback and how their students perceive it. In this study, the author used CA methodology to analyze how corrective feedback was provided in his class and found that recasts were the predominant form of correction. The analysis showed that recasts were effective when its purpose was salient to the student. However, recasts were often used as confirmation checks and this created an ambiguity which prevented the student from recognizing it as corrective feedback. An unexpected finding and one that showed the benefits of self-reflection was the realization of this author’s use of foreigner talk while providing corrective feedback.


Language Shift and Revitalization
Peter Cassidy, Mitsui Gardens International Preschool (American Embassy Housing Compound, Tokyo)
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Abstract:
The global spread of English has forced many cultures to adapt their language domain repertoires, and this language shift, in a worst-case scenario, can result in the death of a language, a change in cultural identity, and the loss of a cultural artifact. Organizations promoting the respect for local languages and the implementation of language revitalization strategies have many hindering factors to consider and the existence of linguistic feudalism and Darwinism lessens the effectiveness of certain programs hoping to revitalize local languages around the globe. Said attitudes about the relevance of a language, the language itself, the number of speakers, the medium for language acquisition and the availability of resources for promoting language acquisition all factor into the equation of language shift. Success stories are rare, but through planning and policy, formal education programs and community-based programs, local languages have a real chance of increasing certain domains of use.

The Role of Phonological Memory and Vocabulary in Second Language Acquisition
Arthur Nguyen, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Abstract:
Vocabulary has long been an under-utilized aspect in English L2 instruction.  However, numerous studies have argued that vocabulary is a critical part of second language acquisition. This paper will argue this point, as well as explore how the mind processes and retains vocabulary.  A handful of case studies will be explored to better understand this link and show how pedagogical strategies can be created to help aid students in successfully learning and retaining vocabulary.


Book Reviews
Write Paths 1 by Joanne Lee (2010), A Book Review
Tomoko Kurita, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Write Away Right Away: Second Edition by D.F. Martin (2010), A Book Review
Michael Mondejar, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo.
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Mastering Skills for the TOEFL iBT 2nd Edition Advanced Writing by M. Macgillivray, P. Yancey, and J. Zeter (2009), A Book Review
Eddie Sanchez, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo
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Volume 4 Issue 1, April 2011

Newspaper Subjectivity from Multimodal Perspectives

Makoto Sakai, University of Birmingham, U.K. 

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Abstract:
The author argues for the need to examine how the secondary mode (visuals) in newspaper reports functions and affects the overall nature of the medium, and what interpersonal relationship such text is trying to establish with readers. In this information age, a considerable amount of information people are exposed to has multi-modal structures, and as new technologies appear on the marketplace and quickly blend into people’s daily lives, literacy requirements change (Luke, 2000). Acquiring necessary “multi-modal literacy” (Unsworth, 2001) to take critical viewpoints toward the information not only in the linguistic mode but also in other modes is then very important.


Language Attrition of Japanese Returnee Students
Gota Hayashi, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan 

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Abstract:
The question posed for this paper is regarding Japanese returnee students, since according to Hansen, the documentation on Japanese returnees’ loss of ESL is still fragmentary (Hansen & Kurashige, 1999). This paper analyzes six primary articles that examine current attrition research of Japanese returnees in order to formulate pedagogical implications.


Aspects of Phonological Competence in Japanese EFL Learners 
Shawn Beasom 

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Abstract:
This study evaluates practical phonological competence in Japanese native speakers (JNS) at the first and second year college level in terms of production and recognition of second language (L2) phones. Methodology in the first part of the study involves 100 JNS listeners attempting to differentiate and identify L2 phones produced by an English native speaker (ENS) in 1 and 2 syllable words. In the second part of the study, the same words are produced on videotape by a group of 5 JNS readers for 2 ENS groups: 23 residents of Japan and 31 U.S. residents. Results from this learner group indicate a consistent pattern of significant deficiencies in the ability to produce and recognize L2 phones.


Oral Proficiency Interviews and Student Motivation 
Guy Smith, Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, Japan 

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Abstract:
This article looks at how teachers can improve student motivation through conducting one on one Oral Proficiency Interviews, particularly focusing on younger EFL learners in the Japan context. It provides some basic guidelines for teachers new to such interviews on how to conduct a successful interview.

Volume 3 Issue 2, October 2009

Student Use of Japanese in the EFL Classroom

Jennifer Yphantides, Kanda University of International Studies

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Abstract:
This paper attempts to address the issue of first language (L1) use in the English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom in the Japanese context. Although many may assume that Japan is rather homogeneous, the face of this country is gradually changing and the ramifications of this shift can be felt in the classroom. As a result, the author chose to carry out this action research project at a major high school in the center of Tokyo where not all students shared the same L1. The paper examines patterns of L1 use and the reasons for which students were reverting to their mother tongue.


Possible Strategies for Listening Comprehension: Applying the Concepts of Conversational Implicature and Adjacency Pairs to Understand Speaker Intention in the TOEFL Listening Section
Yaoko Matsuoka

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Abstract:
This study explores the feasibility and effectiveness of applying the concepts of conversational implicature and adjacency pairs to the teaching of listening. The intention was to help students understand short conversations in the Listening Section Part A of TOEFL ITP in the test preparatory class in a Japanese high school. Three lessons applying conversation analysis were designed and implemented to introduce the particular features of a basic unit of conversation and ways to find a speaker’s primary intention concealed under the literal or surface meaning. The results indicate that the strategy instruction served to give students basic insights into structure and meaning of English conversation and enhanced interests in studying listening comprehension.


Book Reviews

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Cohen, R.F., & Miller, J.L. (2003). Reason to Write: Strategies for Success in Academic Writing (Intermediate). London: Oxford University Press.
A Book Review by Jennie Roloff, Kanda University of International Studies

John Beaumont (2009). NorthStar 1: Reading and Writing. White Plains, NY: Longman
A Book Review by Robert Moreau, Teachers College Columbia University, Tokyo

John E. Joseph (2006). Language and Politics. In Alan Davies and Keith Mitchell (Eds.) Edinburgh Textbooks in Applied Linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
A Book Review by Gregory P. Glasgow, University of Queensland, Australia

Volume 3 Issue 1, April 2009

A Survey of Learner Expectations and Levels of Satisfaction with a University Intensive English Language Program

Stephen Russell

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Abstract: 
Differences between learner and teacher beliefs can often lead to a mismatch about what are considered useful classroom language learning activities. This exploratory classroom study stemmed from the author's desire to find out from the students themselves their preferred learning styles, reasons for joining the intensive English language program and, most importantly, to what extent the students felt their English had improved as a result of the course.


Extensive Pair Taping for College Students in Japan: Action Research in Confidence and Fluency Building
Michael Kubo

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Abstract:
How can English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructors effectively monitor and assess their students’ spoken second language (L2) production and progress?  By the same token, how can students track their own L2 speaking proficiencies as well as progress?  Pair Taping (PT) is one such method. The author takes a critical look at the literature relating to PT and EFL learner confidence, and applies them to his use of PT.  The author’s qualitative and quantitative research suggests that PT is an affective method in helping students bolster their spoken L2 (English) self-confidence and fluency, providing both student and teacher with valuable insights.

Volume 2 Issue 3, October 2008

An Innovative Approach to Developing Learner Potential and Autonomy: Moving from Narrow to Broad Perspectives

Atsuko Kikuchi

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Abstract: 
This paper’s objective is to introduce the strategies employed in the “Narrow to Broad Perspectives (NBP)” approach to second language learning designed by the author to develop autonomous language learning and learner potential. Several stages are incorporated into each lesson to illustrate the interrelatedness and gap between the narrow and broad perspectives. The teaching emphasizes that it is significant to view things from a broadened perspective since broadening our personal dimensions as well as those of others dynamically causes some change in ourselves and the world. The NBP approach may generate positive changes in attitude to learning English and learner potential.

Volume 2 Issue 2, April 2008

Language Awareness, Metapragmatics and the L2 Teacher

Gregory P. Glasgow
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Abstract: 
This essay argues for the centrality of metapragmatic awareness to language teaching. It examines literature on teacher language awareness and how it relates to pragmatics, thereby requiring a deeper analysis of the types of competencies necessary for one to be an effective second language teacher. It gives an overview of how teacher awareness of the basic tenets of pragmatics can assist in facilitating meaningful and practical classroom activities.

Volume 1 Issue 3, April 2007

Copernicus Effect or Strange Duet? An Experiment: Global Education in Grammar Classes in an Exam Oriented High School 

Yoko Munezane 
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Abstract:
When working within the confines of the Grammar Translation Method (GTM), it can seem an impossible task to introduce a global issues curriculum.  The author proposes that the goals of an institution (high scores on entrance exams) and the goals of the Global Issues educator need not be in conflict.  This ambitious experiment, conducted over the course of four months at an academic secondary school in Japan, illustrates the importance of preparing young people to be global citizens,  and the flexibility that can be found in a seemingly uncompromising academic environment.

Examining Self-Confidence Variables: An Action Research Inquiry Into Pair Taping (PT) Efficacy
Michael F. Kubo  

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Abstract:  
The author takes a critical look at the literature relating to pair taping (PT) and EFL learner confidence.  Using examples from his own practice, he suggests that it is imperative for EFL learners to engage the language outside the classroom, and by doing so, students can gain confidence and enhance their overall L2 competence.

How Do CALL Programs Affect the Literacy Skills of English Language Learners?


Kristen Carlson

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Abstract: 
This paper examines five recently published research studies that address the impact computer technology has on ESL/EFL students’ reading comprehension skills, strategy use, vocabulary retention, writing skills, and learning preferences. The analysis of these research studies includes a brief description of the methods used in each study, a discussion of the important findings, and an evaluation of the conclusions drawn by the authors followed by suggestions for future research.

Book Review
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The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Jonathan Kozol (2006). A Book Review by Gregory P. Glasgow, Teachers College, Columbia University, Tokyo

Volume 1 Issue 2, October 2006

Error Analysis of High School Student Essays

Asako Kato, Fudooka Seiwa High School 

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Abstract:
The teaching of effective writing skills has often been neglected in Japanese high school curriculums despite the fact that the Ministry of Education places an emphasis on writing  as an important productive skill. To what extent can high school students “write” essays in English? This paper focuses on prominent errors found in high school students’ essays submitted to an annual writing contest in Saitama Prefecture, eastern Japan.  The paper also explores ways to effectively teach and learn writing in Japan.


Attitudinal and Motivational Differences Among Japanese Junior High School Students Towards English Education in Japan
Michael K. Leung 

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Abstract:  
This study examines attitudes and motivation and its role in the study of English in the Japanese junior high school EFL setting. Using extensive qualitative and statistical quantitative data analysis, the author attempts to gauge attitudinal and motivational trends among junior high school students towards English education. The purpose of this study was to investigate the primary sources of motivation for students, and whether there would be changes in these attitudes and motivations towards English education as they progressed from their first-year to third-year of study.

Volume 1 Issue 1, April 2006

An Introduction to Accents Asia

Martha Clark Cummings, Teachers College, Columbia University
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Abstract:
In this introduction to the inaugural issue of Accents Asia, Martha Clark Cummings introduces the concept of this journal and the motivating factors behind its creation.  She encourages graduate students in TESOL programs to embrace the opportunity to share their research with the larger English education community in the hopes of demystifying the TESOL field, and creating a platform for the TESOL student to develop as a TESOL professional.


Introducing a Global Issues Curriculum at the High School Level
Martin Darling, Kamakura Jogakuin

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Abstrtact: 
This study’s objective was to assess high school students’ attitudes to studying global issues. Both qualitative and quantitative means were used to accumulate data and responses were tabulated, coded and analyzed.  Results show that the majority of students think learning about global issues is interesting and it makes them more enthusiastic to continue studying English. Although some students said the global issues content was very serious and difficult, many reported that their vision and understanding of the world had deepened. This study’s conclusions indicate that students believe they can simultaneously develop their English language skills while studying global issues.


Classroom Anxiety: How Does Student Attitude Change in English Oral Communication Class in a Japanese Senior High School?
Noriko Kurihara, Himeji Minami Senior High School

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Abstract:
In spite of the government’s emphasis on the acquisition of practical English communication skills in upper secondary education, students’ reluctance to speak English in the classroom remains problematic in Japanese senior high schools. This paper explores how student attitudes might change in the classroom. After examining student expectations and goals in an English oral communication class, experiments were made to find how students might react to the new instruction style, including group work and presentation. Student attitudes changed depending on the instruction styles as well as on the system of their own choice of materials. Peer relationships also affected student attitudes. The teacher’s attempt to provide a comfortable environment in the classroom was the key to changing student attitudes.

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Accents Asia = ISSN 1948-3503