SAE MATSUDA (SETSUNAN UNIVERSITY)
MAKOTO IMURA (Osaka Institute of Technology)
NORIKO NAKANISHI (Kobe Gakuin University)
MICHAEL HERKE (Setsunan University)

RESULTS OF AN EXPLORATORY INTERVENTION USING CHILDREN€™S READERS TO HELP SCIENCE STUDENTS IMPROVE SPOKEN ENGLISH : LANGUAGE LEARNING

How can universities help non-English majors to improve their spoken English in an era of large classes and shrinking budgets? This exploratory intervention had science students (N=17) read and listen to self-selected books from Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) followed by various read-aloud activities. Four pre and posttests (three commercial computer-based, one original) and surveys were conducted. The results from the computer-based tests were mixed but phonological and lexical analysis of the original tests revealed improvements in some aspects of oral proficiency. The survey responses helped explain why participants improved and what they found difficult. A post hoc analysis of the recommended target vocabulary for Japanese university students shows it covers only 80% of the ORT corpus. The implications of this gap and possible effect on the participants will be discussed. Overall, we found children’s picture books appropriate and effective support materials for helping serious science majors improve their spoken English.

MATSUDA Sae is a professor of English at the Faculty of Foreign Studies, Setsunan University in Osaka, Japan. Her research interests include extensive reading, learners' individual differences, curriculum design, and diary study. She is also interested in employing literature and films in the classroom.

IMURA Makoto is a professor of English at the Faculty of Intellectual Property, Osaka Institute of Technology. His research interests include extensive reading, ESP (Science and Technology, Law, Intellectual Property, and Tourism), and CLIL. He is also interested in performing arts theories and techniques and their application to teaching.

Noriko Nakanishi is a professor at Faculty of Global Communication, Kobe Gakuin University. Her main research areas are Phonetics and Socio-linguistics. Noriko has authored and co-authored various books on shadowing, phonetics, hospitality and global communication, TOEIC(R), jazz music, and an English-Japanese dictionary.

Michael Herke is a lecturer at Setsunan University where he teaches academic writing, presentation and communication. He is interested in the intersections between language acquisition, rhetoric and technology. Michael has been teaching in Canada and Japan for 20 years. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, photography, and playing guitar poorly.