AboutPaul Wadden is a professor in the Faculty of International Liberal Arts at Juntendo University, Tokyo.
Vocabulary (Re)imagining language learning: A new approach to academic vocabulary more
Sun, Jul 10, 12:20-12:45 Asia/Tokyo
The 95% vocabulary comprehension level for academic texts and lectures is the crucial threshold for university study. To help learners attain this level, the presenters combined the headwords from the 4 major academic vocabulary lists to date: AWL (570 words), NAWL (963 words), UWL (836 words), and EAP (874 words). The resulting Global Academic Lexicon (GAV) presents the headwords from all four lists in 23 lessons. These lesson, comprising 1,850 words, progress from most frequently appearing to the least frequent. The pedagogical premise is efficacy: to lower the “learning burden” and learn the most commonly appearing words first (Nation, 2006). These lessons are now open-source and available to university teachers and students in Japan and around the world. Using free online Quizlet cards, they (1) provide the primary meaning of headwords in simple English and in Japanese, (2) demonstrate their “use in context” in sample sentences, and (3) offer a rich variety of flashcards, writing-listening-spelling practice, and competitive games for individual or group use. Presenters will demonstrate how lessons can be accessed and used autonomously, in online instruction, or in the physical classroom to motivate students, assess their learning, and give feedback on their progress.
College and University Educators (Re)imagining Language Learning: Liberal Arts and TOEFL in Japanese Higher Education more
Sat, Jul 9, 15:50-16:15 Asia/Tokyo
For 20 years Japan has recorded among the lowest TOEFL scores in Asia. In 2019, only Laos and Tajikistan had lower average iBT scores (ETS, 2020). This presentation, based upon a joint research project by professors at four major liberal arts universities, posits that one principal reason is that Japanese high school and university curricula focus on language skills and fail to coherently build basic knowledge and vocabulary in the traditional areas of the liberal arts. As the executive director of TOEFL observes, “Most items… on a TOEFL test tend to be drawn directly from university-level textbooks, from the courses that students would typically encounter in a first- or second-year liberal arts class” (S. Gopal qtd in Moody, 2020). The presentation then describes a Content-and-Language-Integrated (CLIL) curriculum that could be adopted across universities in Japan to improve students’ content knowledge and language skills. The presenters argue that this content-and-language-integrated approach will increase students’ readiness for university study as universities implement MEXT-supported EMI courses and expansion of English curricula for foreign students (Underwood and Glasgow, 2019). This in turn can impact TOEFL and IELTS scores, providing a foundation to improve Japan’s overall standing in international measures of language proficiency.