This study examined the relationship between Japanese high school students’ motivation to learn English using self-instructional radio (SIR) materials, and persistence in their learning. One problem related to second language (L2) selfinstruction, which is an important yet under-researched area, is the high learner drop-out rates and the issue of motivation. Thus, in order to examine self-instructed learners’ motivational bases, data collection consisted of a first set of interviews of 13 interviewees with experience learning English with SIR materials and a second set of interviews after six months of 5 of the 13 interviewees who had continued to learn with SIR materials at the time of the first interviews. The results indicated that intrinsic motivation and identified regulation(Deci & Ryan, 1985) were related to persistence, as well as a clear and elaborate ideal L2 self (Dörnyei, 2009). Only two interviewees persisted throughout the six-month period, and those two retained high levels of intrinsic motivation. Another intervening factor in persistence was their studies for university entrance examinations, which were both positively and negatively related to their studies using SIR materials, depending on the interviewees. The study concludes with some practical suggestions for both self-instructed L2 learners and materials designers of SIR materials.
Sociocultural trends are frequently expressed by vogue words which are usually not included in second language learning. Yet, learners obtain vogue words through various media. The present study investigated comprehension of Japanese vogue words by native Chinese speakers learning Japanese utilizing two tests of basic vocabulary and vogue words. Thirty vogue words were selected from nominations of the U-Can Vogue Word Award from 2007 to 2011. Based on the scores of the basic vocabulary test, 99 participants were divided into three groups to examine vogue word understanding. The results showed that basic vocabulary knowledge, especially Kango (Chinese-originated words) and Gairaigo (alphabetic loanwords), facilitated understanding of vogue words. Additionally, learners demonstrated higher understanding of vogue words related to Japanese ACG (animation, comics, and games) than that of Japanese sociocultural backgrounds. Consequently, young Chinese learners of Japanese need knowledge of vogue words especially related to sociocultural backgrounds in order to better communicate with native Japanese speakers.
Elementary School English Activities had been carried out since April, 2002 until March, 2010, and Elementary School Foreign Language Activities began in 2011. It is indispensable for junior high school teachers to make a smooth transition between these activities in elementary school and more formal English education in junior high school. The main purpose of this empirical study is to investigate whether Total Physical Response(henceforth, TPR), a method characterized by a large amount of meaningful input and a little output, is more effective for making a smooth transition to junior high school than Grammar Translation Method, which is characterized by a smaller amount of meaningful input and more mechanical repetition and is still used in Japan. Through this study, we confirmed that TPR is effective for the smooth transition in English education from elementary school to junior high school, and that it is also effective for developing junior high school students’ ability in English.
The aim of this study is to conduct metacognitive instruction in the OC class and to see how metacognition influences students’ actual behavior and affect. The participants were university students, sophomores. They were from two classes (N=49). Their motivation towards English language learning was low. In the class, they were guided to develop their metacognitive knowledge. They were also encouraged to engage in metacognitive activities to reinforce their skills and strategies they were taught.
In order to see how metacognition affects actual behavior, stimulated recall interviews were conducted by using pre and post OC videos. Three students were selected for the interviews. Moreover, students’ opinions towards metacognitive instruction were analyzed by a part of the KJ method. The results show that after the intervention, the participants’ metacognitive knowledge was developed. Their goals were visible before the post-OC tests and they were highly aware of their goals during the tests and used strategies taught effectively by using metacognitive strategies such as planning and monitoring. It seemed that this led to more active interaction. Furthermore, from the findings obtained from students’ opinions showed that goal-setting and reflection can increase their motivation and enhance their confidence.
This study explores the link between grammatical readiness, motivational and behavioral changes toward second language (L2) contact, and development of L2 oral proficiency during a one-semester study-abroad (SA) program. 24 Japanese college students studying English as a foreign language are sampled for this study. The participants’ grammatical readiness, and their pre- and post-SA L2 oral proficiency are measured using TOEFL® ITP and iBT. The amount of L2 contacts and changes in learning motivation are documented using the language contact profile and interviews. A pared sample t-test, cluster analysis, Mann-Whitney U test, interview analysis, descriptive statistics and regression analysis are applied to this study. The results of the analyses confirmed the positive link between grammatical readiness, L2 contact behavior and L2 oral development during their SA program: (1) sufficient initial readiness led 10 participants to positive learning experiences, stronger motivation and effective use of their learning resources throughout the SA program; and (2) in the case of six participants, lack of readiness resulted in repeated negative learning experience, a sense of powerlessness over unaided L2 activity and avoidance of L2 contact.
This paper aims to elucidate the nature of 6th grade elementary school pupils’ experience of anxiety and methods of anxiety-coping during Foreign (English) Language Activities (FLA). Data were collected during the 2008 and 2009 academic year in an elementary school in Osaka which had been classified as a model and research school concerning FLA. Data consisted of the results of semi-structured interviews with pupils, combined with researcher notes taken on the basis of observation of 5 different groups of pupils. Modified Grounded Theory Approach (M-GTA) (Kinoshita, 2003, 2007) was used for the analysis of the data in order to illuminate the specific process of anxiety-coping. This paper discusses the ways in which 6th graders’ anxieties during FLA manifested and how they took steps to cope with these anxieties. This includes a particular focus on the role of interaction with teachers and peers in finding ways to cope with their anxieties and achieve a personal sense of having coped. This paper also explores the educational implications of this study for homeroom teachers (HRTs) and assistant language teachers (ALTs).
The effect of working memory capacity and L2 listening proficiency on recall errors on the L2 Listening Span Test was investigated with 210 Japanese EFL learners. With the addition of error analysis by type of recall errors made on the listening span test, the number for each type were compared between the higher-level and the lower-level listeners. The interaction between L2 proficiency and working memory capacity on the specific types of recall errors was also investigated. Recall errors were coded as either intrusion errors or omissions. Intrusion errors were defined into delayed intrusions, immediate intrusions, phonemic intrusions, categorical intrusions, and non-categorical intrusions. With regard to the error analysis, the higher-level listeners made less total recall errors and phonemic intrusion errors than the lower-level listeners, but both groups of listeners did not significantly differ in their omission errors and delayed intrusion errors. Moreover, there was a significant interaction between L2 proficiency and working memory capacity for immediate intrusion errors. The findings suggest that the recall errors of the lower-level listeners with lower working memory capacity could be caused by a deficit in decoding skills and the ability to inhibit irrelevant immediate information.
This study examined the impact of rhythmic context on the effects of stress typicality on spoken word recognition by Japanese EFL learners. In English, the majority of disyllabic nouns have trochaic stress, while most disyllabic verbs have iambic stress. The distributional bias is called “stress typicality,” and previous studies show that latencies for recognizing stimuli are smaller when the words are typically stressed. The primary focus of the present study is whether rhythmically controlled sentential contexts surrounding stimuli affect the degree of the effects of stress typicality on L2 spoken word recognition. The alternation of strong and weak syllables is preferable in English rhythmic structure, and this preference affects the stress assignment for pseudowords. Thus, it is highly probable that rhythmic context affects the degree of the effects of stress typicality. Specifically, it might be easier to recall trochaic words when the stimulus is preceded by a weak syllable due to the tendency to maintain the optimal rhythmic structure. However, the results indicated that syntactic contexts negated the effects of rhythmic contexts rather than produced synergistic effects. The role of phonological information might thus be supportive rather than crucial. This does not mean that the information does not have any impact, but it is possible that it has the supportive effects of facilitaing the recall of answer candidates.
The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of the introduction of chants and songs to English classes in an elementary school. More specifically, in this study, songs and chants were hypothesized to be very effective for developing a sense of counting syllables. Thus, they were introduced in second graders’ English activities classes. Students from three second-grade classes participated in this study, which took place over six periods. These periods included an orientation in how to count syllables, a pretest period, three periods of syllable-counting exercises, and a posttest period.
The results of a paired-comparison t-test indicated a significant difference between the pretest and posttest at less than a.001 level of significance. This revealed that the use of songs and chants is very effective in general in helping students learn how to count English syllables. Investigating individual test words, two features were found to typically affect the results. First, liquid sounds made it more difficult to count syllables. Second, consonant clusters made it difficult to count at first, but they eventually became easier to count over time. Investigating the causes of these phenomena, this paper discusses the results for liquid sounds and consonant clusters.
Yubune, Kanda & Tabuchi (2007; 2009) reported how a computer-assisted method of displaying chunked text helped EFL college learners improve their reading speed and comprehension. In response to the above results, we conducted two studies on chunk-based reading treatments given in CALL classes in the 2011 and 2012 academic years respectively. The first comparison was made between two types of groups reading a computer-displayed chunked text, ‘a group reading aloud in chorus right after prompted by a sound-text-sync display’ and ‘a group reading silently when prompted by a chunked-text display.’ The second comparison was made between different sound-word-sync chorus reading groups regarding the learners’ English abilities. Our main research question was how different the learning outcomes from the approaches would be in terms of reading comprehension, words per minute (WPM), reading efficiency (RE), and listening comprehension. To verify this, we conducted between-groups and within-groups analyses based on the pre-and post-test results. From the above, we discovered that (i) all the chunk-based reading approaches helped the learners improve their RE, and that (ii) the sound-word-sync chorus reading method particularly contributed to the growth of WPM.
The purpose of this study is to (a) compare performances on recall and recognition tasks in English spelling tests, and (b) consider difficulty levels of spelling tests for Japanese EFL learners using implicational scaling (Hatch & Lazaraton, 1991). As Nation (1990, 2001) described, vocabulary knowledge has three major aspects: form, meaning, and use. Furthermore, each aspect has three subdivisions and additional two subdivisions for knowledge types (i.e., receptive and productive knowledge). Combining Nation’s definition of vocabulary knowledge and the three language codes (i.e., sound, letter, and meaning), this research conducted 12 tests. The learners’ performances on the recall tests were inferior to the recognition tests, as was expected. Most had difficulty writing correct spellings or producing correct pronunciation. Added to this, the learners had difficulty recognizing (or choosing) the correct spellings. Producing or recognizing English spellings, more specifically alphabet letter strings, was a considerably more challenging task for the Japanese EFL learners, even though the tested words were already learned. EFL learners’ lack of spelling knowledge is considered a problem that requires a solution.
Speech training is an effective method to help low English proficiency students gain confidence. In addition, self-regulated learning is a useful method for the students to actively participate in class. This study verified the effectiveness of self-regulated learning in speech training for low English proficiency university students. The students underwent six speech training sessions to improve their English-speaking proficiency. In each session, after adequate practice, the students used cellphone video-cameras to film themselves while giving a short speech. They reflected on their first performance by watching the footage and considered a remedy. Then, after practicing for a few more minutes, they filmed their performances again. At the end of the session, the students compared the two footages to determine their improvement. The result of the training showed that the students’ performances improved significantly, and the students who wrote a reflection spoke better than those who did not. Moreover, their self-efficacy in speaking English improved. Therefore, it is suggested that self-regulated learning in speech training for low English proficiency university students is effective in gaining confidence and improving speech skills.