MARIA CONCEPCION CERVANTES -

MIE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING: TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF IN LANGUAGE LEARNING WITH IDIOMS. : LANGUAGE LEARNING

Mie University Graduate School of Engineering: Turning Over A New Leaf in English Language Learning With Idioms, and Why It Should be At One’s Fingertips From Junior High School. Should the study of idiomatic expressions be taken as a fundamental constituent in language learning beginning from junior high school (JHS)? This all-encompassing question of introducing idioms particularly at said level is the core of this investigation. Understanding and use of idioms altogether is known to increase the ability of a second language learner’s speaking skills akin to those of the native speakers. Sounding natural by being able to communicate and understand the way they do, ensures a successful communication. However, this is tough for learners at the engineering graduate school, even tougher, because the setting is foreign to its use and it has not been presented as a course content in their junior high school. A decisive reform to include idioms in the JHS English curriculum is imperative to be introduced by the city’s education board. The research students undertake presentations in international conferences held in and out of the country. 99% of these students are Japanese and all have attended junior and senior high school in the country, while 1% are exchange students from China. Forty idioms were selected for learning purposes. Students were divided into groups of three where every group was assigned a list of ten corresponding idioms to report on covering all forty idioms. Prior to the start of the task, ten questions with a yes/no response was handed out. During the course of reporting, supplemental explanations further illustrating situations were had. After four meetings on the topic, students were given a three-set evaluation test, each set of a different type with the others. Thereafter, a post idiom questionnaire bearing an almost similar type of interview was circulated. Comparison of the pre and post idioms questionnaire generated, among others, an astounding desire for the students to include idioms as a content of English program. The study will proceed to now investigate JHS English teachers, while idioms will continue to be taught at the engineering graduate school.

Maria C Alarkon Cervantes, teaches English at Mie National University Graduate School of Engineering, Tsu City and before that was a member of the Board of Education of the same city. She finished BA English, Juris Doctor, and pursues continuing education in TESOL. She is a freelance writer.