Effects of a debate task on changes of communication variables
賀 城大学 佐藤臨 郎 良教育大学
In recent years, junior high and high school teachers have been confronted with various difficulties, such as developing learners’ communicative skills and conducting classes completely in English. Many of us would admit that it is very difficult to enhance learners’ communication abilities in an all-English-classroom context because of their limited linguistic resources. Consequently, in some classrooms traditional grammar instruction may be dominated, and in other classrooms English instruction may be scarcely employed. However, some studies showed negative effects of traditional language classroom on learners’ motivation and basic human needs and also suggested positive effects of all English instruction and communicative language classroom on learners’ communication variables. Although these studies gave us insights into motivation research in classroom, the number of studies and research contexts are still restricted. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate how communication variables (i.e., willingness to communicate (WTC), communication apprehension (CA), and perceived communication competence (PCC)) of Japanese university learners would vary in seven-week debate activities. This study is unique in that even though WTC is considered to have both trait (relatively fixed) and state (relatively dynamic) aspects, few studies have been conducted to examine the development of communication variables in a short-span communicative task. Seventy learners participated in the study and were asked to complete a questionnaire before and after the debate task. As a result of a paired sample t-test, it was revealed that WTC and CA did not significantly change, but PCC showed a dramatic increase with a moderate effect size. It is inferred from these results that (a) if learners gained their experiences of actually speaking and using English, they were able to foster the level of PCC, (b) the increase in PCC did not lead to the development of WTC probably because of a limited period, and (c) the difficulties of the debate activity and the debate topic must be taken into account. Two presenters, each of whom has a different view toward task activities, will have heated discussion on the results, followed by much more heated discussion with the audience.
A practical guide. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
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2. The debate topic will be chosen by 九州地区高等学校英語教育研究会 , The Kyushu Regional Federation of English Education Research.
3. All schools will compete in the preliminary round, after which the top four schools will advance to the final tournament. The remaining four teams will compete against one another for first, second, third, and fourth place, respectively.