The use of English as a lingua franca as a global means of communication challenges conventionally accepted ideas about the activity that goes under the name of TESOL. This talk de-constructs the acronym and examines the significance of each of its constituent parts and their relationship. What kind of E is it appropriate to teach in a digitalized and globalized world? How is the activity of teaching itself to be defined? What effect does the learners’ experience of other languages have on how English is actually learned, and what implications does this have for ways of teaching it? As with so many other assumptions based on the past, this talk argues that those that have informed English teaching also need to be critically reconsidered to suit the changed circumstances of contemporary life.
As repeatedly pointed out recently, with the acceleration of globalization English is increasingly used by people from different lingua cultural backgrounds as a lingua franca (ELF) often as the only option in that specific interaction (Seidlhofer, 2011; Widdowson, 2013). After briefly introducing what is happening in the use of English, or rather ELF, the world over, this paper specifically focuses on the use of English in the Japanese context from both academic and business perspectives by introducing some findings from the author and her colleagues’ on-going research. The paper then discusses a discrepancy still often observed between the realities of language use and pedagogy. Finally, implications of the findings for language pedagogy are discussed.
This paper describes a four-year longitudinal study, investigating how English teachers collaborate in their teaching before study abroad, how university students’ study overseas, and to what extent they develop both academic and general English skills. Twenty-seven female students out of ninety in a department of international studies participated. These students had to study overseas for about one year. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were used. Observations were adopted to examine collective teachers’ efficacy (Hattie, 2009).Students’ diaries were examined to see how they studied overseas. Preparation for the TOEFL iBT and TOEIC IP tests were employed respectively for academic and general English skills development throughout four years. Post study abroad interviews were carried out to examine students’ beliefs and attitudes about learning English. The results showed high collective teacher efficacy helped to develop students’ English skills. Students studied intensively not only before study abroad (BSA) but also during study abroad (DSA) and after study abroad (ASA). Standardized tests showed that there were significant differences in general reading and listening, but not in academic reading and listening before and after study abroad. The results suggest that the study abroad program helps learners develop their general English proficiency, but does not always help improve some parts of their academic English proficiency.
The occurrence of alignment at each linguistic level (sound, syntactic, semantic, etc.) plays an important role in achieving communication goals, and the same structure tends to be repetitively used between interlocutors in the dialogue (syntactic priming). Study on L2 learners has shown syntactic priming with written primes (Morishita, Satoi, & Yokokawa, 2010), but the occurrence of syntactic priming in speech communication and how it differs by learners’ proficiency levels have not been clarified. This study uses a picture description task with spoken primes to investigate whether proficiency level (upper or lower), and output modality (spoken or written) affect syntactic priming in Japanese EFL learners. The results show that the magnitude of priming for the upper-level learners was significantly higher than that for lower-level learners only with presentation of primes once (as opposed to more than one). This confirms that spoken primes might activate cognitive links between combinatorial nodes and lemmas, promoting production of the relevant structures, more effectively for upper-level learners, but also that presenting primes only once might not be enough to activate the links for lower-level learners with their developing syntactic representations.
In the age of globalization at home and abroad, it is important and meaningful to reconsider English education in Japanese universities so that students can advance as social citizens in a global society. In considering the local appropriateness of English education for native Japanese speaking students, this study provided university students with grammar learning opportunities for one semester and then investigated the effects of this training on the development of grammatical competence and the influence of their enhanced competence on criticality in writing. The results demonstrated that grammatical competence increased after grammatical training, despite varied results according to the specific measures, and the enhanced grammatical competence had positive effects on criticality in writing. The study thus concluded by arguing for a certain effect of grammar learning and suggested the importance of grammatical competence for practical writing, which has increased in demand due to accelerating electronic written communication in an increasingly globalized society.
This study explored EFL readers’ ability to produce a causal explanation of the text in light of their memory for causal information (CI), which is necessary for explaining the text. In L1 reading, memory for CI contributes to causal explanation, even in low-skill readers. In contrast, little is known about the relation between memory for CI and EFL readers’ actual ability to causally explain the text. In an experiment, ninety-eight university students with different L2 reading proficiency read an expository text. They took a recall test measuring memory for CI and a causal question eliciting a causal explanation of the text. The amount of the CI recalled was not significantly different between high- and low-proficiency readers. However, performance on the causal question was lower for the low-proficiency readers than for the high-proficiency readers, even when the analysis focused on the participants recalling all CI. The qualitative inspection revealed that the low-proficiency readers failed to understand the CI as a network, as a consequent of which they could not integrate the CI into one explanation. Together, the findings indicate that, in contrast to L1 readers, memory for CI is necessary but not sufficient for EFL readers to be able to produce a causal explanation.