Sayonara to the Monolingual EFL Classroom?
Jackie M. Talken, Temple University, Japan
The long-running debate over the acceptance of the learner’s L1 (first language) in the L2 (second language) classroom is particularly relevant in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) settings such as Japan (Weschler, 1997). The field of Second Language Acquisition has also seen a recent resurgence of interest in this topic (Bartlett, 2018; Kita, 2018); these studies among others will be discussed below. This paper will consider the views of learners and instructors as well as empirical, classroom-based research into relevant methods and strategies, including translation, code-switching and translanguaging. Factors such as the educational and cultural background of the instructor will also be discussed in relation to the pedagogical strategies employed by instructors. Research looking at a range of educational contexts, learner ages, and languages studied will be explored, in order to present as thorough a picture as possible of the most recent work being done in this area. The bulk of the research presented here points to the need for recognition that language learners are enhancing a single linguistic repertoire rather than attempting to emulate monolingual speakers of a language, and thus the importance of integrating the whole of a learner’s linguistic resources into instructional contexts.
A Comparative Study of L2 Interactional Competence at a Japanese University
David Shimamoto, Akita International University, Japan
Interactional competence (IC) is not only predicated on grammar and vocabulary knowledge, but also necessitates a pragmatic understanding of when and why such resources should be employed. Norms for turn-taking, negotiation, repair, and speech acts, such as agreeing and disagreeing are prevalent in any interaction. What differentiates classroom talk from other types of discourse is the power teachers possess to control verbal exchange. This study investigates the talk-in-interaction of a Japanese EFL university classroom in an attempt to demonstrate (1) how students navigate within the institutionalized parameters of teacher-fronted talk and (2) how the sequential organization of interaction changes during student-student group discussions. Conversation analysis was used to examine the interactional practices performed in these two common classroom settings. The results indicate that while the IC displayed during teacher-fronted discussion revolved around the ubiquitous initiation-response-feedback (IRF) sequence, learners demonstrated dissimilar IC while engaged in group discussion. Participation rights and discourse identities are discussed to elucidate the differences found between the two interactional environments. The findings presented in this paper evidence the need for teachers to consider how the underlying conditions of interactional contexts can ultimately lead to the development of equally important but inherently different interactional skills.
Students' Behaviors and Perceptions Using an LMS
Yuka Eto, Chuo University, Japan
In order to gain an insight on the students' learning behaviors and perceptions towards using a Learning Management System (LMS), this study was conducted in a Japanese university where the usage of LMS is not common. The students' homework results and survey responses were analyzed to understand the impact of implementing a curriculum with homework submission on an LMS. The author argues that technology can be effectively used in the curriculum to increase learning engagement of students at home and improve the relationship between the students and instructor. In addition, the researcher found students to feel generally positive about using an LMS in class even when they are not familiar with such systems. Issues discussed in the study can provide some ideas for educators to improve their teaching through the usage of an LMS, especially where there is currently no usage of technology.