Many non-English majors encounter extreme difficulty when it comes to writing in English. Most learners are perplexed when asked to produce sentences that are comprehensible and cohesive enough to form a paragraph. Items such as a topic sentence, connecting clauses and phases may be unknown or long forgotten from their earlier schooling. Japanese junior high school texts offer a simple and easily understandable method of constructing rudimentary sentences and paragraphs. This in turn can guide students toward fashioning longer passages and eventually a modest paper consisting of a topic and conclusion. Subject matter included in the junior high school texts offer such themes as writing about historical places, world leaders, current pop stars and opinionated pieces that require student input on a personal level. Random selection of writing topics by Instructors can be detrimental to the overall process since some students are likely to only copy and paste from the Internet in order to complete their required assignments. Careful planning and visualization on the part of the teacher as to how learners might actually approach their writing tasks is necessary. Simultaneously, having sizable classes (over 100 students) also presents unique challenges concerning assignment collection, and review and grading. Additionally learner abilities may be so dissimilar that the class will have to be split into smaller groups based on student competence. Without these adjustments lack of student motivation can result in repeated class absences and ultimately failure of the course. The use of junior high English texts can help eliminate some of these issues. Throughout a 15 week course students can apprehend their own progress as tasks and assignments become larger and more specified. Students can progress on from the course confident that they have acquired Basic English writing skills that may become useful later on in the working world.
Harry Carley, Matsuyama University, Japan
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