The ELI evaluates iPads and English language education

20 02 2013

The ELI has been pioneering the use of iPads in its EFL classes since the release of the first unit in 2010. Several pilot research projects have gauged the potential of iPads in the learning environment here. Projects headed by members of the Basic English Proficiency Project (BEPP) and the CALL Research Groups have investigated the potential impact of these tablet computers on language education. For instance, one project looked at the impact on the existing  infrastructure. Another tested the media production capability of the iPad. Last month, one of the projects, “The Integration of iPads at a Japanese university,” was published in the December 2012 issue of The JALT CALL Journal. Marnie Brown, ELI lecturer and one of the authors of the study commented, “I think iPads in education is the way forward.” The following is a video of Brown talking about everything iPad. Based on this previous research, starting in April 2013, the ELI will significantly expand the use of iPads in its curriculum.

Video: The ELI Writing Centre

6 11 2012

ELI Lecturers Jennie and Jason explain the ELI Writing Centre. The ELI Writing Centre has been a very popular service for students. Students can receive feedback from any writing assignment, both online and in person.

Video: The SALC at 10 years

7 11 2011

The Self-Access Learning Centre (SALC) at Kanda University of International Studies celebrates its 10th year of facilitating autonomous language learning in 2011. Watch interviews with SALC founder Lucy Cooker and current director Dr. Jo Mynard. More at:

Peace Education in Japan

22 12 2010

ELI lecturer Jennifer Yphantides discusses teaching Peace Education in Japan. In this video, listen to how she has applied her 5 years of Peace Education experience in the Middle East to the Japanese university environment. Her students reflect on the class and share topics they are interested in. This is a great video not only to learn about Peace Education and its learning opportunities, but also useful for any teacher interested in invigorating class discussions.

The ELI at JALT 2010

1 12 2010

The 36th Annual JALT (Japan Association of Language Teaching) Conference was held November 20-22nd at WINC Aichi in Nagoya, Japan. The ELI had a strong presence at the conference with 31 of 63 ELI lecturers delivering 20 presentations and poster sessions. Here is a video report of the ELI at JALT 2010.

Research to Practice: Students Transcribing Tasks

15 10 2010

This month’s issue of the Oxford University Press ELT Journal features Students Transcribing Tasks, an article by former and current ELI lecturers Christopher Stillwell, Brad Curraba, Kamsin Alexander, Andrew Kidd, Euna Kim, Paul Stone, and Christopher Wyle. In this video former ELI lecturer Christopher Stillwell talks about the origins of the experimental project, while Paul Stone and Dirk MacKenzie discuss how the project continues as an established classroom activity.

Teachers, students, and administrators who use audio recording devices such as (MP3 recorders or podcasts) for language learning activities should find this video and podcast useful.

Student Transcribing Tasks Abstract:

Student self-transcription can greatly enhance the power of tasks to promote language learning, for it allows students to re-examine their experience freed from the pressure of performing the task itself, so they can notice and reflect on the language used and encountered. This is a powerful step in language development because it allows for increased awareness and informed goal setting. Students can thus become researchers into their own language use, with their transcriptions offering teachers an efficient means of tracking their performances. This article shares findings gleaned from the implementation of a self-transcription activity that followed a poster presentation task, in which post-task reflection had the students assess their transcribed language according to simplified measures of fluency, accuracy, and complexity. In the closing, alternative means of adapting such work to suit a range of classroom conditions and purposes will be discussed.

Best Practice: Creating Video Projects with Japanese University Students

16 07 2010

Rob Hirschel, ELI Lecturer, discusses a recent student video project in this episode of Best Practice. The project asks students to visually demonstrate a deep understanding of a vocabulary word while introducing them to basic video editing.

Hirschel describes the language aims of the project in detail.  He directs his freshmen to explore a vocabulary word’s different meanings in context, collocations, and appropriate usage.

While teachers of foreign languages might find this video project as a useful exercise for developing deep knowledge of vocabulary, any teacher interested in trying video editing for the first time might find Rob’s reflections useful. This was his first time using basic Canon point and shoot digital cameras (not dedicated camcorders) along with Apple’s iMovie editing software. Along the way, he gives advice to teachers interested in creating their own video project: student benefits, project timeframes, and preparation tips.

Feel free to share any tips, questions, or thoughts on video projects with your students!

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Understanding Japanese University Students

13 06 2010

ELI Lecturer Dwayne Cover discusses various aspects of Japanese student and university life that teachers should consider in their day to day practice. Mr. Cover is a fourth year lecturer,  co-coordinator of the International Communication Department’s Basic English Proficiency Project, and active member of the ELI’s Professional Development Committee. In April, he offered a workshop titled, “The Japanese University Context: A long way from home.” Cover says, “The most dangerous thing for people to do is to just come in and say…this is a university and this is how universities work.” Watch this video for practical advice to enhance your teaching approach in a Japanese University context. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on this topic.

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An abstract of Mr. Cover’s workshop follows:

The Japanese University Context: A long way from home
When new teachers arrive at KUIS, they are often entering the university teaching context for the first time. Naturally, they have assumptions and expectations for post-secondary institutions based upon their personal experiences; however, there are critical differences between Japanese universities and Western-based universities that present a significantly different teaching environment than what is often expected.

This workshop will offer an overview of the Japanese university context, e.g. Where do our students come from? What are their expectations when they arrive? What is daily university life like for Japanese students? What is expected of students when they graduate and join the workforce? The information presented in the workshop will be drawn from a number of sources: research projects conducted at KUIS, relevant literature, individual experiences, etc.

This workshop should be beneficial to instructors with differing levels of teaching experience in Japan: those who have taught in Japan will be invited to share their experiences with their colleagues; those who are new to this teaching context will have the opportunity to ask questions and gain a stronger understanding of the Japanese system, hopefully allowing them to acclimatize more easily.

ELI raises funds for Makuchari charity event

31 05 2010

The ELI raised over Y70,000 for the student-run Makuchari charity event at Kanda University of International Studies on May 16, 2010.  The “ELI Cakes and Cookies” food stall was a hit –  everything was sold and had, “…many people coming back for more and telling us how good they tasted,” according to lecturer Ashley Moore. Since 2005 Kanda students organize the yearly Makuhari Charity Flea Market, or Makuchari for short, to raise money for charity. This year Moore led the elevated ELI participation in Makuchari, with over 30 ELI members baking treats such as cookies, breads, and cakes for the stall. Please watch the video report for more!

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Research on lexis and grammar to be published in TESOL Quarterly

17 05 2010

ELI lecturers Erik Fritz and Rachael Ruegg, and former ELI lecturer Jenn Holland will have their article, “Rater Sensitivity to Qualities of Lexis in Writing” published in the distinguished journal, TESOL Quarterly. The following video explains the story behind the article, from the origins of the research, to writing, and finally to possible implications. Dennis Koyama, ELI lecturer and co-coordinator of the Kanda English Proficiency Test (KEPT), also shares his thoughts on the trio’s project.

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In addition, here is the abstract of their article:

Distinguishing lexis from grammar is a particularly thorny issue. Because the distinction is so difficult to make, many scholars suggest that we should not try to distinguish the two but rather should accept the inextricable interwovenness which exists. However, many assessment criteria involve assessment of lexis and grammar. Assessing both lexis and grammar presupposes that the two can be evaluated independently of each other. Therefore, if such criteria are to be used, it is necessary to investigate just how raters are to distinguish lexis from grammar. On the other hand, if we are to accept that the two are inextricably interwoven then the assessment criteria must reflect this by assessing lexicogrammar as a single criterion.

Various researchers have discussed lexis in relation to speaking but there has been very little research relating directly to the distinction of lexis and grammar in writing. Research by Batty in 2006 found no correlation between examinees’ vocabulary knowledge as measured by the Depth of Vocabulary Knowledge (DVK) Test and their vocabulary scores in speaking section of the Kanda English Proficiency Test (KEPT). It was concluded that it is too difficult to assess vocabulary knowledge in a group discussion format. As a result of Batty’s research the vocabulary scale and grammar scale were collapsed into a single lexicogrammar scale for the speaking section of the KEPT.

The present collaborative study was conducted in relation to the writing section of the KEPT. This study was carried out to ascertain what raters are sensitive to when rating writing using the ‘lexis’ scale, one of four analytic rating scales. The lexis scale is intended to evaluate lexical usage in terms of both accuracy and range. It has been considered by some of the administrators of the KEPT that the addition of low frequency words may be sufficient to artificially inflate an examinee’s score on the lexis scale even when, overall, the lexis is insufficient in terms of accuracy and range. The lexical content of 140 essays was analysed. Particular attention was paid to accuracy and range of lexical usage, average frequency of the words used and overall lexical sophistication. In addition, the correlation between scores on the lexis scale and those on the grammar scale was considered. The collaborative research project will be explained in detail, results and implications of the study, as well as directions for much-needed future research will be discussed.