OPTIMIZING A BLENDED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS IN JAPAN
Doshisha University (JAPAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:While educators can take advantage of various existing English listening and speaking activities, what do you do when you cannot find material suitable for or catered to your students' level or specific content of study? This often deters the educator from using the activity for fear of confusing and, therefore, discouraging their students in their learning efforts. This author overcame this problem by developing her own activities using a language learning method she created to assist her English language learners in their listening and speaking practice. The method is used online, in and out of the classroom, to reinforce what students learn in class and for individual accuracy practice. The method, called Continuous Listening and Speaking Practice (CLaSP), how it can be optimally used in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) blended learning, and its evaluation by learners are detailed. Narratives of the challenges encountered throughout the development process and of the improved learning environment are also given in order to help educators to successfully adapt the method for teaching languages in a blended learning environment. Methodology: The CLaSP method was evaluated by a sample of 433 Japanese students in 18 English language classes in 4 universities in Japan over a full semester. Two sets of questionnaires with the same statements but with 2 different scoring scales were used as an evaluation tool: a 5-point Likert-type scale and a Visual Analogue Scale. Open-ended questions were included for extracting qualitative information on the method. Results: The CLaSP method scored positively in the following domains: learning motivation, perceived language improvement, perceived effectiveness of the method, and perceived changes in confidence in students’ language knowledge and use. Classroom observations indicate improved learner and educator interaction and an increase in students’ interest in English language learning. Conclusion: The CLaSP method is assessed to be an effective EFL learning tool in blended learning environment. While the development process and the implementation requires effort, the benefits greatly exceed these efforts, both from the students’ and educator’s perspectives. The author encourages language educators to use this method to create their own listening and speaking activities in order to cater to their students' learning needs and include it in their blended teaching.
Keywords: blended learning, call, efl, japan.