It is generally recognized in Japan today that having high level English skills is certainly a big advantage for college students to open up their future career. Japanese colleges are facing increasing societal demand for a better English curriculum which fosters both communicative and academic English skills. The project-based English course, which is practiced at the College of Sport and Health Science of Ritsumeikan University, focuses on development of academic communication skills. In this course students practice communicative academic skills of English such as, 1: how to deliver a presentation including a debate and panel discussion, 2: how to write an academic paper, 3: how to research their own topic. Our English program asks students to enhance their English skills which they learnt in both junior high school and high school through the program. However, it is found that there is a problem of English proficiency gaps among students, which seems to be caused by several reasons, including the difference in total amount of time they spent studying English before they entered college. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether or not students' initial English proficiency affects to any significant degree their attitude toward and self-confidence in accomplishment of the project-based course. The study, based on questionnaire research (in progress: the result will be shown at the conference), also sheds light on how the project-based course can be managed with support for the students whose English level is relatively lower than other students’.
Yoshihiko Yamamoto, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
Syuhei Kimura, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
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