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Friday, August 14 • 10:25am - 10:50am
Deconstructing Traditional Language Teaching Methods in Japan with the Use of E-learning Systems

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In Japan, the higher education system is undergoing an important transformation at all levels, aimed at internationalization and the improvement of the quality of education. In this context, the English and Spanish Departments in Kyoto University have founded I-ARRC (International Academic Research and Resource Center for Language Education), opened in 2014 and focused on the promotion of independent language learning via e-learning systems. In line with this, the Department of Spanish has implemented a new project since April 2014 based on the use of Computer-Based Assessment and on-line tasks (Phase I). As language classes accommodate 40-45 students, monitoring student progress can proof very difficult, especially with 800 language students per semester and only two full-time staff members. Therefore, the objectives of this project are two fold: firstly, the use of these tools provides immediate numerical results that can be easily compared and analyzed which allows for standardization and better curriculum implementation; secondly, they serve as a learning complement to the classes students attend at University, promoting student reflection and improving student engagement. However, the implementation of this project has encountered some opposition among students and teachers. In Japan, the grammar-translation method has been traditionally used for the learning of foreign languages: a project of this kind requires a shift to a more communicative approach but, also, cultural change. In response to this challenge, we have designed a qualitative survey study (to be distributed in February and July 2015) to explore first-year students' perceptions regarding the impact of e-learning pedagogical tools in their language learning experience. The primary results of this study, the first one of this kind to be conducted by a Spanish Language Department in Japan, are presented in this paper. They will inform us on how to adequately expand the project to second year students in Phase II.

avatar for Elena Prats

Elena Prats

Lecturer and department coordinator, Kyoto University

Friday August 14, 2015 10:25am - 10:50am EDT
Holden Chapel Holden Chapel, Harvard Bus Tunnel, Cambridge, MA