Despite having the third largest economy in the world, Japan still lags behind countries like Malaysia and Korea in international tests of English proficiency, like TOEIC. Due to a number of factors, English language education in Japanese junior high and high schools continues to focus on the older, traditional literacy practices of reading and writing. This paper will explore the historical, cultural and structural reasons for the current state of the Japanese EFL classroom, and offer a simple, easily accessible technological solution to compensate for crucial areas of English language education that are often overlooked. Using DVDs has been shown to improve listening skills, as the multiple modes of input, including aural, visual, and written (through subtitles or captions), give students opportunities to improve both bottom-up processing and top-down processing skills, unlike the simple audio recordings that are still ubiquitous in Japanese EFL classrooms.Most students already engage with multimodal digital media, like YouTube or the messaging app Line, so they are comfortable with interactive options like manipulating playback, freeze-framing and clicking on captions. Introducing DVDs into the classroom allows the instructor to train the students in how to utilize these options to decode the spoken English in TV shows. This makes it possible to study two aspects of English seldom taught in Japanese EFL classrooms: The adjustments made in connected speech; and the pragmatic aspects of English, like distancing language. And crucially, it also encourages autonomous learning outside the classroom.
Timothy Wayne Pollock, Hagoromo University of International Studies, Japan
Stream: Instructional Technology
This paper is part of the IICTCHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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