What is PEP?
PEP stands for Project-based English Program. PEP is a compalsory English course carried out by four colleges of Ritsumeikan University: College of Life Sciences, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Sport and Health Science, and College of Comprehensive Psychology.
PEP consists of two kinds of class: a “project” and “skill workshops”.
What is a “project”?
Students in this program conduct their own research project on an issue which they have a strong interest in. Through their projects, they are expected to explore the issue in search for an answer to an inquiry they have made, and present the results of their project in English.
Students in the freshman and sophomore years choose the topics of their projects from their everyday lives; for example, club activities or classes in the university. The junior students conduct an academic project on the topics which are closely related to their areas of study. The senior students are required to write an abstract in English for their graduation thesis written in Japanese, and give a presentation about their study.
In this program, classes are not streamed based on students’proficiency since we believe that those with a lower proficiency of English do not necessarily lack presentation skills or communication ability. Instead, those who are not good at English have chances to get involved in the class work, making use of their strengths or expertise.
- Project 1 (P1)
- Students in the freshman year / The first semester
- With a topic chosen from their everyday lives, students conduct a project and aim to make an attractive presentation about themselves. They will become able to gather information and describe it in English. Also, they will be able to improve their English in preparation for job interviews conducted in English in the future.
- Project 2 (P2)
- Students in the freshman year / The second semester
- About a topic they are interested in, students read academic papers written in English, summarize them, and conduct a research project using questionnaire surveys or interviews. Finally, students give a presentation based on the results of their research, and answer questions from their peers. This course aims to improve students’presentation ability in English to the level where they will be able to invite foreign visitors or customers, introduce the guests to their research laboratory or workplace, and explain products to them in their future places pf work.
- Project 3 (P3)
- Students in the sophomore year / The first semester
- Students conduct research in a group of 4-5 members. They have a debate and a panel discussion in English where they will be able to learn and practice English expressions and phrases used in academic fields. Through this course, students will gain the ability to conduct a group project, make a presentation and discussion, and negotiate this interaction in English.
- Project 4 (P4)
- Students in the sophomore year / The second semester
- Students learn methods in academic writing and apply them to their projects. They summarize the results of their projects in a term paper of around 2,000 words, and give presentations based on them. They will be able to acquire English skills required to writing and presenting academic papers.
What is “Skill Workshops”?
“Skill Workshops”are aimed at improving four integrated-skills of English, which are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Similar to“project classes,”students are strongly encouraged to communicate in English with their English-speaking teachers and other students in class.
Classes are streamed based on students’English proficiency, and they are expected to develop the four skills of English through interactive tasks where they make best use of their knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and phrases learned in junior and high school. These skills will be utilized in Project classes for exchanging information, expressing opinions, giving presentation and writing academic papers.
- Skill Workshop 1 (S1)
- In the classes where the focus is on improving listening skills, students will get used to the sound patterns of English discourse. Through interactive tasks which integrate four skills of speaking, reading and writing classes, the goal is to strengthen listening abilities of the students.
- Skill Workshop 2 (S2)
- This class aims to improve speaking skills in English through the interactive tasks called “Leadership Method.” (definition of leadership method) Students discuss information gained from listening and reading activities, and summarize it in writing.
- Skill Workshop 3 (S3)
- This class aims to improve reading skills in English. Students read more than two news articles both in and out of the class, including a homework assignment, every week. The tasks also include speaking, listening and writing on the reading articles.
- Skill Workshop 4 (S4)
- This class aims to improve writing skills in English. Students write extensively both in and out of the classroom. Their writing skills improve since they have their texts corrected by their teachers. Similar to the previous classes, the four skills of English are integrated into the tasks in which students write about what they have read and listened to, and they talk about them in class.