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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2013 Spring Issue]>Let’s study English! Cultivating students who are active in the world—Program for Improving English Language Proficiency

Hakumon CHUOIndex

Let’s study English!

Cultivating students who are active in the world
—Program for Improving English Language Proficiency

From left: Yamashita, Nagasawa

There is a famous anecdote about the career of professional baseball player Shigeo Nagashima. It is said that he made the following comment when in Florida to participate in his first spring training camp in America. “Wow, even small children here can speak English. America is so great!” This anecdote is from long ago. Today, corporations are making English their official company language. As part of initiatives for cultivating global personnel, Chuo University is implementing a program for improving English language proficiency. Under the theme of English and me, we spoke with 2 students who enrolled in intensive TOEIC course.

Wataru Yamashita
4th-year student in the Faculty of Economics (graduated in March; currently employed by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force). Graduate of Chiba Nihon University Daiichi Senior High School.
*Academic year at time of TOEIC course; same for information below.

“Instead of flying in an aircraft, I will work on the ground gathering information.”

For matters such as the meteorite fall in Russia and the increasing tension surrounding the Senkaku Islands, the information strategy known as intelligence can decide the fate of a nation. Yamashita will work at the forefront of intelligence. “I’m sure that English will be important in the workplace, so I decided to enroll in the intensive TOEIC course,” he says.

Introduction of intensive course

As part of special measures for improving English language proficiency, the Chuo University International Center held intensive TOEIC/TOEFL courses during spring vacation (February 11th to March 22nd). “The rich content of the courses is equivalent to a TOEIC preparatory school,” says Professor Natsuki Nomura, who supervises program development and other aspects of the courses.

In no time at all did the number of students who enrolled in the courses exceed 500 (including students taking multiple courses).

Yamashita started from his 2nd year

“I started studying TOEIC during my 2nd year and have continued to study independently ever since,” says Yamashita. “My highest score is 735. Classes are a little more than 2 hours long and are packed with information. I’m always exhausted when they are finished. However, I want to work hard and take advantage of this outstanding chance to improve my English skills.”

Classrooms filled with serious faces

“The atmosphere in classrooms is different; everyone takes the initiative to study and has a serious expression,” says instructor Chiho Nakagawa in expressing her surprise.

Toyoki Nagasawa
2nd-year student in the Faculty of Commerce. Graduate of Aomori Prefectural High School.

“I scored 210 during autumn of my 1st year. I was shocked and disappointed. In August of my 2nd year, I went to Cebu Island in the Philippines for a one-month TOEIC study abroad program. I found the program via the internet—it was really cheap! In the program, I studied for 10 hours every day. Instruction was one-on-one with a male teacher. Of course, both classes and daily conversation were in English. Even when touring the area on Saturday and Sunday, I had to make all reservation in English, so I spoke English all day.”

From 210 to 735

Nagasawa’s hard work paid off. Upon returning to Japan, his score increased dramatically to 710. He scored his target score of 735 in January. “I’m aiming for 800 now,” he says.

Thanks to his improved understanding of spoken English, Nagasawa gets even more enjoyment out of watching his favorite MLB broadcasts. He watches games broadcast live from America and no longer needs Japanese commentary.

Special measures for improving English will continue in the future

The center plans to offer intensive courses during summer vacation. Courses will be taught by an expert instructor who is highly experienced in both the TOEIC and TOEFL tests.