Course Blogs for Overseas Study Preparation: A Survey of Student Opinions
Philip Beech, (MA Asian History, Dip. TEFLA)
John C. Westby, (Bachelor of Arts, Doctor of Jurisprudence)
In answer to the question "Using varied methods - computers,
videos, CDs, speaking activities makes learning more fun"
the figures show a large majority of students' responses in
In answer to the question "Using computers in kaigaikenshu
improved my general computer skills" the figures show a small
In answer to the question "Using computers makes me more
independent as a learner" the figures show that 46% of students
replied negatively and did not feel using CALL helped them
to develop as autonomous learners. Only 19% of students replied
Overall the results show that English language instructors
in the average, mid-ranking Japanese university environment
have some work to do in addressing the problem of creating
self-motivated, autonomous learners who are able to make the
best use of the new media and technology now available to
instructors and students.
Similar to the results of Suwanthep & Seepho with Thai
university students, Japanese secondary education from middle
school on inculcates a passive response to learning with students
only called on to respond when directly requested by the instructor.
"Lecture classes in middle schools mean that student
participation is limited to teachers stopping to briefly probe
students for answers, opinions, or reiterations." (LeTendre).
English classes are largely "teacher-centred, text-orientated"
and tailored to meet the demands of high-school and university
Research by Thompson, Ishii, and Klopf (1990) revealed Japanese
students showed "less assertiveness and more apprehension
and reticence about interacting orally with others than Americans
did." (Nippoda, 2002). Instructors using CALL in a Japanese
educational environment must be aware that the media offers
both possibilities for group interaction and for students
to work individually with the new media without the need for
group or pair work.
Student attitudes in the survey showed a decidedly mixed
response to using CALL regularly as the major focus in the
Some of the data collected also appears contradictory. For
example, if we ignore those students who chose the answer
3 (which we have equated to mean neither positive or negative,
holding no strong opinion either way) 37% of the students
surveyed replied that they would prefer not to use computers
for studying English, whereas in the very next question "Computers
are a useful tool for learning English", 40% of students
gave a quantifiably positive response as opposed to 27% who
Books & Journals
Levy, Mike & Stockwell, Glenn. Call Dimensions: Options
and Issues in Computer Assisted Language Learning (2006)
McVeigh, Brian J. Japanese Higher Education As Myth (2002)
Rohlen, Thomas & LeTendre, Gerald. Teaching and Learning in Japan (1995)
Son, Jeong-Bae (Editor). Computer-Assisted Language Learning:
Concepts, Contexts and Practices (2004)
Suwanthep Jitpanat & Seepho Sirinthorn. Exploration of
Students' Attitudes toward Learning English through CALL (KOTESOL
Zaphiris, Panayiotis (Editor), Giorgos Zacharia (Editor).
User-Centered Computer Aided Language Learning (2006)
Zhong , Y. X. & Shen H. Z. (2002). Where is the technology-induced
pedagogy? British Journal of Education Technology, 33(1),
Blood, Rebecca. Weblogs: A History and Perspective, Rebecca's
Pocket. 25 October 2006.
Campbell, AP. Flickr for “Low Level” EFL Students
Nippoda, Y. (2002). Japanese students' experiences of adaptation
and acculturation of the United Kingdom. In W. J. Lonner,
D. L. Dinnel, S. A. Hayes, & D. N. Sattler (Eds.), Online
Readings in Psychology and Culture (Unit 8, Chapter 5)
Observations on the use of Web 2.0 tools for English Language
Using YouTube For Vocabularly Development.
Weblog Applications for EFL/ESL Classroom Blogging: A Comparative
Wen-shuenn Wu. Using blogs in an EFL writing class. Department
of Foreign Languages & Literature, Chung Hua University, 30