The newly revised Course of Study for high school English education in Japan (MEXT, 2018) demonstrates the importance of fostering students’ productive skills. Students will be expected to “interact” and “produce” in English by engaging in a variety of oral communication activities such as speech, presentation, debate and discussion. However, as great emphasis has long been placed on receptive skills in Japanese English education, the majority of high school EFL teachers lack experience in employing such oral communication activities (Benesse Educational Research and Development Institute, 2016). This qualitative study, therefore, aimed to investigate the teaching strategies utilized and explored by Japanese EFL teachers who have experience in teaching EFL courses focusing on such activities (e.g. presentation, discussion). In particular, it attempted to examine the difficulties they encountered and the strategies they used and explored in encouraging their students to “interact” and “produce” in English through such activities. In order to collect data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five Japanese EFL teachers. Findings indicated that several serious obstacles tend to exist when implementing such activities in Japanese EFL context, including students’ silence, speech anxiety, low motivation to speak English, unequal participation, and poor achievement. In order to overcome such obstacles and support students’ learning, it was suggested that building rapport with students, praising students’ efforts to communicate through English, designing activities flexibly, and providing clear learning goals and instructions are considered particularly crucial as they help promote students’ engagement with oral communication.
Maki Ikoma, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Stream: Teaching Experiences
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