November Okayama JALT meeting
Presenter: Kenji Chida
Title: Okayama City Secondary School Japanese English teachers' Attitudes Toward Curriculum Change
This study was carried out in order to identify and analyse the attitudes of Japanese secondary school English teachers in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Thirty-four teachers from public and private schools in Okayama were interviewed in a private setting for half an hour to an hour and asked questions relating to their experience and practice of the English teaching profession. The researcher’s intent was to compare the Japanese Ministry of Education’s (MEXT) proposal for curriculum change in English language education of 2002 with the reality of teacher attitudes and behaviour. Their responses were recorded and later analysed after having been grouped into themes.
The study uncovers that the reasons behind an absence of communicative lessons in Japanese secondary schools are related to teacher ability to use English and teach it interactively. There are also issues connected to the school environment, teacher beliefs and the quality of training.
Through this study it has been determined that MEXT’s goal of implementing a communicative approach across the four skills has not been achieved. An analysis of the interview data through the lens of the above factors details reasons behind the failure of the Ministry to reach its goals for curriculum reform in English language education at the secondary level.
Presenter: Eiko Nakamura
Title: What do learners do during their task performance?
Abstract: What do learners do during their task performance? Since task was introduced into the classroom, English classrooms became active and fruitful. However, are students really learning? Even so, what and how are they learning?
In previous studies, learners’ attention to fluency, complexity, and accuracy has been measured by investigating language outcomes (e.g., Foster & Skehan, 1996, 1999, 2013). Despite numerous studies on this topic, researchers still do not know what learners actually focus on during the task.
Through workshop, this presentation explores learners’ attention to language in peer interaction and how it changes across the five task repetitions. Although a group of the students together showed a similar change in their fluency and complexity, this presentation reveals learners’ individually different attention, affected by interlocutor familiarity, social and cultural factors.