SPEAKERS 2011

The Pedagogical Advantages of Drama and Theatre Texts in Improving the English Communication Skills of Japanese University Students

The Pedagogical Advantages of Drama and Theatre Texts in Improving the English Communication Skills of Japanese University Students

Tetsuko Nakamura, Associate Professor, Nippon Medical School

For the last twenty years, increased emphasis on aural/oral communication skills has been the mainstay of Japanese governmental policy in English education, a trend symbolized by the introduction, in 1994, of ‘Aural/Oral Communication A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ into the senior high school curriculum. Continue Reading

Reading a 19th Century American Short Novel in a Classroom of the 21st Century

Reading a 19th Century American Short Novel in a Classroom of the 21st Century

Junko Kanazawa, Part-Time Lecturer, Waseda University, Hitotsubashi University, Meiji University

What is the use of American classical literature to Japanese students living in this century? And how can we inspire them so that they can experience pleasure (emotionally and intellectually) from reading this literature? Continue Reading

An Attempt to Heighten Students’ Critical Thinking through the Movie Dead Poets Society

An Attempt to Heighten Students’ Critical Thinking through the Movie Dead Poets Society

Koji Morinaga, Part-Time Lecturer, Doshisha University, Ritsumeikan University

Dead Poets Society is a moving and inspiring movie, in which English professor John Keating encourages his students to ‘seize the day’ (carpe diem) and live life to the fullest by introducing poems and essays to them. Continue Reading

From Text to Context: How Pedagogical Stylistics Works in Literature and Language Education in Japan

From Text to Context: How Pedagogical Stylistics Works in Literature and Language Education in Japan

Masayuki Teranishi, Associate Professor, University of Hyogo

Regrettably, many English teachers in Japan take a negative attitude towards using a literary text in their classroom and one of the depressing consequences is ‘dumbing down’ of (English) education. Continue Reading

Pop Song Lyrics in the University EFL Class

Pop Song Lyrics in the University EFL Class

Kyoko Kuze, The University of Tokyo

Since the role of literature or ‘literary’ texts in language teaching was reevaluated in the 1980s mainly in the U.K. and the U.S.A, the range of literary texts used in classrooms, the proficiency level of the students, and the way of using those materials have all expanded. Continue Reading

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Speakers 2011

The Pedagogical Advantages of Drama and Theatre Texts in Improving the English Communication Skills of Japanese University Students

The Pedagogical Advantages of Drama and Theatre Texts in Improving the English Communication Skills of Japanese University Students

Tetsuko Nakamura, Associate Professor, Nippon Medical School

Abstract

Tetsuko Nakamura

For the last twenty years, increased emphasis on aural/oral communication skills has been the mainstay of Japanese governmental policy in English education, a trend symbolized by the introduction, in 1994, of ‘Aural/Oral Communication A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ into the senior high school curriculum. Reflecting the changes in pedagogical emphasis, university English classrooms have incorporated more training in communication skills through listening comprehension exercises, shadowing and conversational exchanges. The teaching of communication skills here does not mean encouraging students to engage in random conversation or memorize set phrases for use in particular situations. Rather, ‘true’ communication with others means reading minds and sensing others’ thoughts and emotions.

Providing various contexts in which human relationships are established and developed, drama and theatre texts are valuable resources.  Their use demands that students read between the lines and judge the characters and their relationships, paying attention to how they express themselves. To give students a deeper understanding of the conversational communication strategies and contexts used in drama, systematic instruction in the speech act itself and in the use of conversational implicature to convey speakers’ intentions is necessary.

Drama and theatre texts can be easily integrated into communication training courses through such activities as role-play, listening comprehension, and even written reporting of scenarios. This talk will explore the value of drama and theatre texts in communication skills acquisition and specify what texts we should use and how we should teach them.

Biographical data

Tetsuko Nakamura is an Associate Professor at Nippon Medical School, where she teaches English language and cultures. She has been exploring the effective use of literary texts in the Japanese university classroom, producing articles on teaching English through fiction, drama and autobiographies, and also on the acquisition of reading and writing skills in academic contexts. She co-edited English through Literature (2009) and Big Dipper Writing Course (2007). Her interests include Irish prose and fiction in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Her recent publications concern the role of women characters in the works of Jonathan Swift, Maria Edgeworth and Charles Lever, and also in big house novels.

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