About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3427-3438
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

INCREASING LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ OPPORTUNITIES OF HAVING “AUTHENTIC” TARGET LANGUAGE INTERACTIONS THROUGH TASK-BASED LEARNING AND ITS OUTCOMES: RESULTS FROM THE MEISEI SUMMER SCHOOL PROJECT

Y. Fukada

Meisei University (JAPAN)
For many years, researchers have pointed out the effect of learners’ target language (TL) interactions on improving their TL abilities (e.g., Halliday, 1975, 1985; Ochs & Schieffelin, 1982). With increasing recognition of this effect, many language instructors started adopting the educational approach called Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in their classes and encouraging students to have as many TL interactions as possible through communicative activities such as group conversations, role play and games. It was expected that students would nurture communicative competence (Canale & Swain, 1980) through the TL interactions. Poole (2002), however, argues that TL interactions promoted by such CLT-based class activities are quite distinct from the ones naturally-occurring outside of classrooms in terms of their structures.
For seven years now, The Meisei Summer School Project (MSSP), a task-based English educational project, has been providing Japanese university students chances to engage in “authentic” interactions in their TL, English. Students in MSSP are given a task of teaching English to elementary/junior high school students for one week during the summer vacation. Since MSSP started accepting international volunteers in 2005 from both English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries, the participants’ opportunities of having English interactions has increased dramatically. They make teams with one or two international volunteers and work collaboratively in English on various sub-tasks such as developing a class schedule, creating teaching materials, rehearsing lessons and exchanging feedback, and holding meetings after their actual lessons to revise/adjust their following lessons. These English interactions occur naturally, mostly without the instructors’ initiation.
Fieldwork data has been gathered in MSSP for three years focusing on (1) problems the Japanese student participants face during the English interactions, (2) strategies they utilize to overcome those problems, and (3) the positive results of their participation in the interactions. Related data was collected by utilizing four different research techniques: questionnaires, observation, interviews, and content analyses of students’ reports.
In this presentation, the results of the fieldwork will be described. Its main finding is that MSSP itself functions as a “community of practice” (Wenger, 1998). The data indicate that ‘getting support from experienced students (old timers)’ was a strategy the students with limited English abilities utilized the most to manage interaction with the international volunteers. Experienced students were gradually leading new-comers into full participation in the English interactions via Japanese translations and English paraphrases. In addition, students tended to participate in the English interactions with more confidence when they were with their teammates. Furthermore, the author found that students were able to realize meta-cognitive awareness such as ‘appropriate attitude during English interactions’, ‘their current English level in terms of what they can do’, ‘unnecessariness of speaking perfect English all the time in conversations’, ‘existence of World Englishes’, and ‘pleasure of communicating in foreign languages’ through the English interactions.

@InProceedings{FUKADA2009INC,
author = {Fukada, Y.},
title = {INCREASING LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ OPPORTUNITIES OF HAVING “AUTHENTIC” TARGET LANGUAGE INTERACTIONS THROUGH TASK-BASED LEARNING AND ITS OUTCOMES: RESULTS FROM THE MEISEI SUMMER SCHOOL PROJECT},
series = {1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN09 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-9801-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona ,Spain},
month = {6-8 July, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {3427-3438}}
TY - CONF
AU - Y. Fukada
TI - INCREASING LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ OPPORTUNITIES OF HAVING “AUTHENTIC” TARGET LANGUAGE INTERACTIONS THROUGH TASK-BASED LEARNING AND ITS OUTCOMES: RESULTS FROM THE MEISEI SUMMER SCHOOL PROJECT
SN - 978-84-612-9801-3/2340-1117
PY - 2009
Y1 - 6-8 July, 2009
CI - Barcelona ,Spain
JO - 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN09 Proceedings
SP - 3427
EP - 3438
ER -
Y. Fukada (2009) INCREASING LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ OPPORTUNITIES OF HAVING “AUTHENTIC” TARGET LANGUAGE INTERACTIONS THROUGH TASK-BASED LEARNING AND ITS OUTCOMES: RESULTS FROM THE MEISEI SUMMER SCHOOL PROJECT, EDULEARN09 Proceedings, pp. 3427-3438.
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