Thursday, March 23, 2006
Congratulations Hope, Bonsai, and YuS
Today Hope, Bonsai and YuS graduated from Iwate University. Although I am very happy for them I am also sad to see them go. Hope, Bonsai and YuS had been furiously working on their graduate theses after November and had little time to update their blogs. I also worked with each of them on an individual level and I think they they should be proud of their papers. Below, I will briefly summarize their papers:
YuS (Top Right) Wrote about "Why do students fail in English and how can we help them?". He gave a questionnaire to students at a nursing school and asked them to answer questions about their experience in their junior and senior high school English classes. Among his manydiscoveries were that students evaluated their classes lower and lower as they advanced in grades and many students found their classes montonous. This did not mean, though, that students did not want to learn English; many students did. Citing Nakajima (1997) he recommended that teachers create activities that emphasize the pleasure of learning English, teachers should meet and try to strive for similar goals in their classes (e.g. students can become frustrated when one teacher one year emphasizes speaking and another teacher the second year emphasizes grammar) and teachers should encourage cooperative learning among their students.
Bonsai (Bottom right) wrote about "What are the roles of ALTs and HRTs in effective English teaching. Bonsai read a lot of books and made a list of what the roles of ALTs and HRTs should be according to the literature. Below I have cited the roles Bonsai listed from her blog
(The roles of ALTs)
①To teach the pleasure of English
③To improve students' communication skills
④Motivation for understanding other cultures and Japanese culture
⑤To praise and give confidence
(The roles of HRTs)
③Model as a learner for students
④To remove the students anxiety and relieve
⑥To connect the knowledge and skills to other subjects
Afterwards, Bonsai gave a detailed questionnaire to 8 ALTs designed to see how concious they were of the above roles. She found that for the most part they were but she added that for team teaching to be effective the ALTs and JTEs should meet before class and confirm their roles and pland the class together. Unfortunately, she discovered, this was rare.
Hope (bottom left) wrote about "The future of English education in Japan - What is the best cooperation between elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools." She read a lot of literature on the topic and concluded that it was highly likely that English would become a subject in Japanese elementary schools in the future. Because of this, she argued, a cohesive English curriculum from Elementary to High School would be necessary. Thus, in the future the three levels of school will need to cooperate more to strive for common goals. To determine how schools can do this Hope conducted a few case studies and showed how junior high schools and elementary schools can cooperate by inviting junior high school students to elementary schools as guest teachers.
(The barbarian-like creature on the top left is yours truly!)