- 1 We give practical training in English education for a global era.
- 2 In PEP, we educate students to become able to take the lead at the forefront of globalizing academic fields.
- 3 The two pillars of the curriculum; “Projects” and “Workshops”
- 4 Achieving strong results from close cooperation among the faculties
We give practical training in English education for a global era.
In the departments of Life Sciences, Applied Chemistry, Pharmacy, Sport and Health Science, Psychology The Project-based English Program (PEP) is provided as a required course for students in each of the courses. In this program, students are expected to develop strong, productive English skills.
The course is comprised of strands which aim to develop students’ abilities to present the results in English (named ‘Projects’) and to enhance their four skills of English (named ‘Skill Workshops’). To evaluate changes in English ability, the TOEFL and TOEIC testes are used, and we are also developing a model of self-evaluation rubric for our program.
In PEP, we educate students to become able to take the lead at the forefront of globalizing academic fields.
All departments, including Life Sciences, are actively engaged in international collaborative research. Even at research conferences in Japan, it is common for English to be used in presentations. Joining each globalized academic discipline, in the Ritsumeikan departments of Life Sciences, Applied Chemistry, Pharmacy, Sport and Health Science, Psychology, students can train themselves in the essential skills of productive English (‘PEP’), which are offered as a common required curriculum.
It is also the aim of the PEP program to train students how to gather information from around the world, discuss it, and talk about it in global venues in English. In other words, the program is aimed at training the basics of communicative ability for global communication. Since the launch of each department in 2008, and the raising of the goal of each department to educate students who can act on the global stage, the English education program is required to match this ambition. However good the content is, if it cannot be expressed convincingly in English, students cannot fully take part in their fields. In short, productive English skills in the global era are indispensable.
In PEP lessons, students pursue issues they are personally interested in, and discuss them in English. Lessons are set up so that they can progressively acquire the skills to participate in global activities using English expertly.
The two pillars of the curriculum; “Projects” and “Workshops”
The PEP program consists of two components: students research their own themes and talk about them in English (“Projects”), and they also work on improving their basic English skills and use in proficiency-streamed classes (“Skill Workshops”). The “Projects” component lets students appreciate the necessity of improving their productive ability, while the “Skills Workshops” reinforces basic skills.
Nowadays, researchers present the contents of their own research papers through videos, and for this reason, we actively utilize ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in our programs. We encourage autonomous learning by creating “spaces” where students can dedicate themselves to pursuing their themes.
- Students decide their research themes by themselves, exploring and sharing their ideas.
- 1st and 2nd -year students do presentations, debates, panel-discussions and so on on familiar themes such as their daily life and classes. In the second term of the second year, students work on term papers of about 2,000 words in length.
- 3rd-year students work on themes related to their specialist fields in English and conduct poster presentations.
- 4th-year students (for those who wish to) write an English summary of their graduation thesis and give an oral presentation.
- Skill Workshops
- Classes with the goal of students acquiring the four skills of “listening”, “talking”, “reading” and “writing”, which are the basis of English.
- These are interactive classes focusing on the 4 skills each semester, and they are set up in a way so as to interface with Projects. These allow students to effectively polish their key skills and practical ability.
- First-year students take tests called TOEFL-ITP and e-TAC. Second-year students are streamed into proficiency levels based on the results of the TOEIC test conducted in the December of their first year.
Achieving strong results from close cooperation among the faculties
There are two reasons to improve students’ fours skills in this program. One is that through a unified curriculum, students can create essential motivation for researching and communicating about what they are interested in. Another is that for all undergraduate students taking lessons in this program, supported by the executive committee, which has final responsibility for English education, not only faculty, but all enrolled strengthen their English programs.
By introducing this program as a required program for all undergraduates, even those who feel negatively about English can develop motivation from one’s peers. Further, by closely collaborating with specialized teachers, we aim for English education that links in closely with specialist academic fields. Through the PEP program, now and in the future, we will develop constant improvements to our program to build the foundation of English ability and to train the ability of students to be able to refine their four skills by themselves after graduation.