A Study Based on a Constructivist View to Teaching Writing in JFL/JSL Classroom
Influences of Rater Variables on College Japanese L2 Writing Assessment
Japanese Loanword Usage Amongst Second Language Students in Australia
Print ISSN: 1481-5168 Online ISSN: 1929-3135
A Phonological Study of Learners’ Errors on Vowel Length and its Pedagogical Application
In Japanese. the length of vowels matters to word meanings. For example, a word containing a short vowel /i/, ojisan “uncle”, carries a different meaning from a word containing a long vowel li:/, ojiisan “grandfather”. On the other hand, English does not have this contrast: no matter how long or how short one pronounces a vowel, it does not change the meaning of the word. Because second language learning is interfered by the first language, recognizing and differentiating vowel length in Japanese are not easy tasks for learners. ln fact, learners whose native language is English frequently make errors on vowel length. An experiment, which investigates learners’ phonological knowledge, reveals that they tend to make errors on vowel length in certain environment. Syllables that contain /o/ or /o:/ such as /o/ in /tosyokaN/ “library” and /o:/ in/baNgo:/ “number” are likely to cause more errors than those with other vowels. Syllables that contain a palatalized segment (i.e., yoo-on) such as /ryo/ in /ryoko:/ “trip” will also result in more errors than those without it. A pedagogical proposition, based on these results, will follow.
In this paper, I will examine the role of constructivism in educational practice, and how this approach will work for students. Deep understanding is the goal of the constructivist view. Teachers should provide educational settings with student-centered learning, where students learn by thinking through what they are learning about. Such descriptions of constructivist teaching will provide a useful framework within which teachers can experiment with this new approach. I will present a lesson plan based on a constructivist philosophy which integrates technology to address the needs of Japanese as a foreign language (JFL) and Japanese as a second language (JSL) learners. In this unit plan, I will apply creative approaches to teaching writing at a high school and a college in Japan. Students would learn what tools a writer should use, and intense process steps that will allow students to write well.
Although the Japanese L2 writing assessment is critical in evaluating student’s Japanese language skills, there has been little research into the effect of raters’ background on Japanese L2 writing assessment. The present study examines the effects of four variables of the rater’s background; academic specialty, teaching experience, attitudes toward composition in general, and attitudes toward the composition he/she is scoring as part of the College students’ Japanese L2 writing assessment. Twenty-one college Japanese instructors assessed 15 compositions on both holistic and analytic scales. On the basis of their academic specialty, they were divided into 3 groups: Linguistics, Literature/Asian Studies and Education. The results show that academic specialty, teaching experience and attitudes toward composition in general are not the major factors affecting the rators’ leniency, but their personal preferences for a writing they are scoring are one of the major factors that decrease inter-rater reliability of writing assessment. The study re-confirms the importance of multiple ratings to maintain fairness and accuracy in the writing assessment.
ls Unification of Communicative Teaching and Grammar Instruction Possible?: Basic Grammar Applied in “lnteractive Output” and “Narrative Output”
This paper shows a new discipline of teaching Japanese as a second/foreign language, through which the author tries to unify communicative teaching and instruction of basic grammar. The author claims that the conflicts between grammar-oriented instruction and communication-oriented teaching should be dissolved and grammar instruction and teaching of communicative or interactive expressions should be unified. This unification would be possible if you take the pedagogical framework introducing “interactive output” and “narrative output.” “Interactive output” is those expressions through which you conduct interactive verbal actions such as requesting and asking for permission. “Narrative output” is, on the other hand, those expressions through which you portrait yourself by describing your personal ideas and way of living and make others understand who you really are. All the grammatical items introduced in basic Japanese could be used either in “interactive output” or “narrative output” or in both of them. Applying grammar to this typology of expression also requires that the explanation and practice of grammar should be “contextualized” and “personalized” so that learning and applying grammar would really be meaningful to every single learner as a tool of communication.
Cross-Cultural Training for Japanese Language Teachers: Applying Adult Learning Theory to Practice
Yuka SUZUKI, Kikue CHIBA
Various adult learners nowadays arc taking Japanese language teacher training. These learners are not the same as the “students” in the conventional sense because of their diverse background and working experiences. KCP Cross-Cultural Training Program, which started from September 2002, has been consisted of teachers, student teachers, company employees, foreign student advisors, and undergraduate students as participants. In order to meet the needs of this diverse population. cross-cultural training program (fi1’e times in 2002) workshop styles, which emphasized leaner-centered activities, interaction among class participants, and group activities, was offered. This paper presents what cross-cultural training for Japanese adult learners is, based on a questionnaire survey and interviews for our program evaluation. Analyses of the questionnaire survey and interviews were done by an educator and an administrator because we believe that this multi-perspective approach helps better understand adult learners and their learning. Our findings indicate that the workshop style that is often called Western style teaching is also effective for Japanese adult learners under a certain condition. Based on these findings and adult learning theories, Suzuki tentatively developed “Learning Process Model for Adult Learners” in this paper.
Practice of Effective Instruction of Japanese Conversation to a Small Group: Japanese for Specific Purposes
This paper discusses an effective way of teaching Japanese conversation to small groups of learners. The leaners in this study, all young Burmese living in Tokyo, need to learn, usually in a very limited period of time, how to find jobs and to make themselves understood by their supervisors, coworkers, and customers in their daily work settings. The author conducted basic Japanese classes on a volunteer basis, and taught as many as 115 Burmese leaners. The instruction consists of role plays in twelve communication settings such as job interview, taking orders from customers, and so on, which the leaners would possibly encounter. One unique technique of this instruction is showing a videotape of an appropriate verbal and non-verbal way of communication in each setting. This makes learners aware of the cultural differences between the Japanese and the Burmese societies as well as the differences in their verbal expressions. This can be said to be a good model of eclectic teaching of Japanese. Learners can ask questions, and are given explanation on grammar and cultural differences in their native language. Role plays are conducted in Japanese, and the Japanese volunteers respond just as ordinary Japanese do when the learners fail to make themselves understood.
A Comparative Analysis of Learners’ Self-Correction Ability Between Spoken and Written Discourse
The purpose of this paper is to examine the self-correction ability of learners of Japanese in which they notice mistakes and correct them in their conversation and in written discourse. The term self-correction ability can be defined as the ability of learners of Japanese to notice and correct their mistakes by themselves during conversation exchanges and while reading transcripts. Then, the self-correction ability is to consider in what degree it operates, and in which categories with respect to the two different data, and the different levels of language ability. ln order to investigate the second language learners’ ability to self-correct themselves. the researcher recorded conversations between himself and six native speakers of English who were studying Japanese at the intermediate (lM), and the pre-advanced (PA) level. After the interviews, the conversations were transcribed. Then, the participants’ mistakes and self-corrections during the conversations exchanges as well as when they were reading the transcriptions. The following results were obtained: (1) for the conversations, the self-correction ability did not seem to operate well regardless of the level of language ability, and the conversations were continued without mistakes being noticed. Once noticed mistakes, however, the participants could correct them appropriately. (2) in written discourse, the PA showed the higher percentage of ability to operate the self-correction than the IM did. (3) in terms of the categories that the self-correction ability operated correctly, particles showed the higher percentage in written discourse for both levels. On the contrary, there were some categories that even the PA, who presumably have higher level of Japanese language ability than the IM, could not notice, nor correct appropriately in written discourse.
L2 learners who have studied a language in a classroom setting often have a different pattern of usage from native speakers, and this is still the case amongst reasonably advanced learners who are able to communicate in the target language alone. This tendency is especially notable in an overseas setting, where L2 learners do not have much input outside the classroom. This study investigates the use of Japanese loanwords by L2 learners in an overseas setting, where the language norm is different from Japan. This study found that even in an overseas setting, L2 learners would prefer to use the authentic Japanese spoken in Japan as a model, although various overseas factors tend to encourage them to utilize more English words. Japanese native speakers’ evaluation of the use of such words was neutral overall, but there are various factors L2 learners should keep in mind when using Japanese loanwords. This study also confirms that the norm in an overseas contact situation is different from an authentic contact situation which is the pattern found in contact situations occurring in the home country.