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Friday, August 14 • 9:00am - 9:50am
Strengthening English Listening Skills: The Development of a Self-study Shadowing System for Tablets and Mobile Phones

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The listening ability of English learners in Japan overall is low in comparison to reading ability. While the development of listening ability is inextricably linked to gains in speaking, significant improvements in listening will not materialize if learners only attend one weekly listening- or TOEIC-focused class at university. Therefore, the creation of a system where students train their ears while also practicing speaking anytime and anywhere without the use of a university computers can facilitate skill development. This presentation will detail the development and implementation of such a system in a general education program at a prestigious university in western Japan and consider the impacts on the listening ability of 900 first-year university students through a longitudinal study. Simply utilizing smart phones or tablets and their university ID logins to access this hybrid listening/shadowing system, students practiced listening to reading comprehension, TOEIC/TOEFL, and other authentic materials while “shadowing” a technique recognized as effective for language acquisition by academic societies and used by interpreters engaged in simultaneous interpretation training (Kadota, 2014). Students repeated, i.e. “shadowed,” after a model recording immediately after hearing it in one of four ways- mumbling, synchronized reading, prosody shadowing, and content shadowing. Student vocal recording are registered in the system and a pitch/intonation line graph generated on their devices. Utilizing these graphs and recordings, students could check their achievement levels while pinpointing areas to improve. Since instructors could view submitted recordings, evaluations could be made holistically based on overall study time and progress rather than only with exams. Increases in learner motivation also resulted from students being able to measure their progress on their own. Preliminary results indicate that the system has proven effective in enhancing student engagement and motivation in language learning. Gains are also hypothesized to have been made in listening ability.


Kayoko Ito

Kyoto University

Jennifer Teeter

Kyoto University

Friday August 14, 2015 9:00am - 9:50am EDT
Lamont Forum Room - 3rd Floor 11 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA