Is My Speech Improving? The Use of Voice Board in Japanese Language Learning

By Kayo Nakazawa, Helen Muir and Christine Dudley.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For learners of Japanese as a foreign language, raising awareness of their individual speech patterns and building confidence in speaking skills is of critical importance for the continued improvement of their ability to communicate in Japanese. However, in the university context, there are limited opportunities for learners to experience and participate in authentic Japanese communication. The literature shows that learners need consistent and conscious guidance by language instructors if they are to improve their oral skills, yet limited face to face class time and limited access to the instructor in that class time available make it difficult for learners to have real opportunities to express themselves in Japanese.
In this case study, the use of Voice Board integrated into a course website is investigated for its potential to improve the oral skills of learners with limited class time who are at the late beginner and early intermediate levels of Japanese.
Each group of students completed two or three units of work per semester. Each unit was broken into a sequence of steps. The preliminary steps involved students preparing their thoughts in Japanese and working with feedback from instructors to improve their Japanese expression. The critical steps involved students recording their thoughts and receiving feedback from peers on what they had said. At the same time students were able to receive individual feedback on their oral skills. This knowledge and raised self-awareness was then utilised in their next oral task.
Based on instructors’ observations, learners’ feedback on their own motivation, and awareness and actual improvement noted in learner’s speech in this trial, the presentation discusses the potential of the use of web-based Voice Board for improvements in the teaching of oral skills.

Keywords: Foreign Language Acquisition, Japanese Language Learning, Voice Board, Awareness Raising for Oral Expression

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.179-184. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.076KB).

Kayo Nakazawa

Associate Lecturer, Department of Asian Languages, Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

My major research interests are second language acquisition, computer assisted language learning, Japanese as foreign language acquisition, autonomous learning, task based teaching and kanji acquisition. I have been involved as a co-authour development and implementation of Kantaro (CD-Rom for Kanji learning), Gengoro (CD-Rom for beginner level Japanese language), and WebCT content. I did investigation and study mainly in five areas; mechanism in second language learning, task study in second language learning, kanji acquisition in Japanese, use of technology to facilitate kanji learning, use of technology to improve distance education. In 2005 and 2006, I was involved in the project,“Whole Curriculum Approach to ICT Supported Teaching and Learning” trial conducted in Japanese Studies at Macquarie University.

Helen Muir

Associate Lecturer, Department of Asian Languages, Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

My research interests involve work with ICT supported teaching and learning in languages and issues of teaching and learning in Japanese language. This research covers the areas of teaching of intercultural understanding and generic skills in the higher education context. I have co-authored CD-ROM initiates including the later volumes of the Kantaro kanji teaching series and the Gengoro CD ROM for the teaching of introductory level Japanese. My latest project was the “Whole Curriculum Approach to ICT Supported Teaching and Learning” trial conducted in Japanese Studies at Macquarie University in 2005 and 2006.

Christine Dudley

Lecturer, Dept. of Asian Languages, Division of Humanities, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

My research background is in Applied Linguistics, particularly second language acquisition, Japanese pedagogy, kanji acquisition and kanji learning methodology. I am also involved in research into application of ICT supported teaching and learning in both Japanese language teaching and learning and in cultural studies. My current interests include an oral history approach to research into the Contributions of Japanese to Australian society and Japan- Australia reconciliation initiatives. Academic qualifications: BA (Hons) Japanese, Sydney University; Dip.Ed. Japanese/ESL, Sydney University; Dip. Mod. Lang. Teach (Merit), Sydney University; MA (Hons) Japanese, Macquarie University.

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