Studying Abroad Or at Home
Is studying abroad the best way to learn a second language? We have heard many success stories where some Japanese people learn to speak English fluently without even leaving the country. Then what is so good about spending a lot of money going abroad? How is it different from learning English in Japan? I discuss these issues based on the evidence I found when I chaperoned 43 high school students on a 17-day homestay program in Seattle. Since homestaying is not the option for everyone in this poor economy, we will also discuss how we can duplicate a study-abroad experience in the classroom.
Jun Harada received his MA TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. His teaching career started off at a public school in the Bronx, where he was challenged by an environment that was not always conducive to learning. After returning to Japan, he has taught at many different schools. Now he teaches full time at Dokkyo Junior & Senior High School and part time at Rikkyo University.
Teaching Compliments and Responding to Compliments in High School
Pragmatics studies how people are conveying or interpreting messages appropriately in socially and culturally accepted manners. Research has demonstrated that pragmatic failure can be more serious than grammatical errors because it could be interpreted as the language user’s rudeness despite his/her non-proficiency of the language (Thomas, 1983; Nelson et al., 2002). Therefore, L2 pragmatic instruction is necessary. Nevertheless, pragmatics is still not commonly taught in L2 classrooms, specifically at the high-school or lower level. In pragmatics, speech acts (e.g. compliments, requests, or apologies) have been the most well-researched. This presentation will report lessons in compliments and responding to compliments in a second-year high school English conversation course. The presentation will include demonstration of some activities she actually used in her classes and discussions on effective pragmatic instruction to raise Japanese students’ pragmatic awareness in this still racially and culturally homogeneous nation.
Kimiko Koseki received her BA in English literature at University of Sacred Heart and will receive her MA in TESOL from Teachers College Columbia University in February 2012. She has been teaching at Denenchofu Futaba elementary and junior & senior high school since 1998 and is a member of JALT, LET and IRLT. Her major interests are the instruction of speech acts, polite/impolite uses of language, and teaching listening and speaking.