The 5th International Symposium on Education, Psychology and Social Sciences
May 09-11, 2017 Koyto, Japan
201705 Kyoto Conference Program
2017 Keynote Speaker
Dr. Malcolm Sim
Faculty of International
Akita International University, Japan
"Innovation in English Language Education: Cultivating Cross-cultural Engagement"
Introduction of Dr. Malcolm Sim
Dr. Malcolm Sim is currently an Assistant Professor in the faculty of international liberal arts at Akita International University (AIU), Japan. Since arriving at AIU in early 2014 he has taught on a range of subjects in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program (Advanced Speaking & Listening/EAP106, Advanced Research Writing/ENG150, Global Issue Analysis & Discussion/ENG103, and Professional Digital Communication/ENG171) and is currently teaching Introduction to English Studies/ENG120 and Speech Communication-Social Pragmatics/ENG102 in the Basic Education program.
Dr. Sim has been involved in language education for over 18 years and has worked both in Australia (6 years) and Japan (12 years); the majority of this time employed at the university level. His interests lie in applied linguistics and psychology and how they interact in TESOL contexts. This includes second language acquisition (particularly the role of affective factors), pragmatics, learner autonomy, learner beliefs, EMI, teacher education and curriculum design. In the years ahead, besides maintaining his strong interest in TESOL, Dr. Sim plans to continue teaching and developing a selection of skills and content-based courses that will deliver applied instruction to a diverse range of students studying in an EMI environment here in Japan. He is inspired by research that holds the potential for the eventual development of refined methods and practices that may be utilized in the language classroom and beyond; efforts that may ultimately assist with practical theory, tools and exercises that teachers and students can employ to further their professional and personal goals. As someone involved in education, Dr. Sim believes helping others to achieve their full potential is truly the ultimate reward.
The pressure to internationalize across the higher education sector in Japan continues. A significant amount of energy has been directed at the expansion of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) departments and degree programs combined with related efforts aimed at increasing the attractiveness of Japanese universities for increasing numbers of international students. This is, of course, resulting in increasing levels of contact between local Japanese students and their international brethren. This complex setting will no doubt be the focus of much inquiry in the years ahead and one that has direct implications for English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs that seek to ready local Japanese students for these challenging environments. This presentation describes a pilot research project that involved the controlled introduction of volunteer international students into an EAP speaking and listening class in an overall attempt to (a) gauge the academic and communicative benefits for the Japanese students involved, (b) assess the experience from the perspective of the international students, and (c) investigate the potential for such an effort to be expanded program-wide.
The pilot study, held at a Japanese international liberal arts university with a single group of EAP students, took place within an existing speaking and listening program. The findings from the pilot suggest that the introduction of international students to a preparatory EAP program can provide a range of benefits to Japanese students seeking to enter EMI environments. Despite reporting levels of anxiety in the high to extreme ranges, none of the Japanese participants expressed a desire to leave the pilot program or end it prematurely. In fact, the opposite was observed with individuals universally expressing a desire to move forward. In addition, the volunteer international students also commented positively on their experience in the program. The study produced five key findings from the target group: a) raised intention to use English more outside the classroom, b) lessening of anxiety around pronunciation and mistake-making, c) strengthening of individual resolve to not allow their fears to dominate their progress, d) increased self-belief in their ability and heightened motivation to take further steps to work independently, and e) reduced negative sentiment towards international students. The results, although overwhelmingly positive from a research perspective, contain insights that may require sober reflection for those engaged in EAP programs in Japan; especially those that precede university curriculums featuring content classes with English instruction and potential interaction with international students.
Keywords: Japanese higher education, English for academic purposes (EAP), English-medium instruction (EMI), learner beliefs, anxiety, international
Conference Venue Information
Kyoto Research Park
Address: 134, Chudoji Minami-machi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8813, Japan