Many Japanese students enter university having had little to no interaction with native or foreign speakers of English outside of their classroom. In a university with international students there lies an opportunity for students to come into contact with people around their age from all over the world, creating the chance for intercultural exchange. However, outside of sharing a class together, it can be difficult for these two groups to interact. One way of changing this is through a weekly assignment called the Speaking Log. This assignment has students interacting with their international counterparts on a weekly basis in a loosely structured environment, discussing topics covered in class or of their own interest, and documenting and reflecting on the experience.This presentation will explain the assignment, discuss difficulties in implementation (as well as how to overcome them), but mainly show, through log entries of first year students, how students change and grow by gaining broader perspectives on topics both academic and personal, developing background knowledge and cultural awareness, and learning current slang and colloquial expressions-many of which are not taught in class, all through an authentic means of communication. Also, it will show that by reflecting on the experience, students become more confident and aware of their speaking and listening skills, more motivated to study abroad, and more encouraged to interact with international/foreign students.
Timothy Ellsworth, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan
Stream: Cross-Cultural Communication
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