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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)


Cultivating international intellectuals capable of action

English education at Waseda University

Contemporary and future society requires professionals who use English as a tool for performance.
Universities have the important role of cultivating professionals who can perform in society.
Waseda University conducts a variety of English language education.
This report introduces the importance of English language education in society and actions taken at Waseda University.

Part.2 Introduction of English language education

The Waseda method of cultivating international professionals

This section introduces the various types of English language education conducted by our university.

[1] Three-phase program for instilling students with strong practical English language ability

As opposed to the form of study until high school, the Open Education Center holds the Waseda-Style Academic Literary Series for 10,000 Students in order to heighten fundamental academic skills required to open the door to academic disciplines in university. One of these fundamental academic skills is English language ability that enables communication in global society. To acquire such ability, we offer a three-phase program to match the English skills of students.

STEP 1 Study English

Acquire fundamental English skills in Tutorial English

Tutorial English is a small group lesson consisting of one tutor and four students. The lesson is intended to equip students with the ability of listen to and speak English. Classes are carefully divided by level based on the results of WeTEC, a unique web-based test for English communication devised by our university. Students can participate in lessons without hesitation. The position of tutor is fulfilled by native speakers or by Japanese with rich amounts of international experience. Material taught in class is followed up using the dedicated website Tutorial Site. After class, the website is used by tutors to provide each student with a "can-do" evaluation, advice and themes for review. Students use these suggestions from tutors in order to review the lesson. This type of detailed support leads to increased fundamental English language ability.

The quality of tutors is key

In Tutorial English, 125 tutors provide instruction for approximately 8,100 students every year. In order to ensure student satisfaction in every class, 8 veteran instructors known as "senior tutors" manage the quality of tutors through hiring, training and observation.

During the hiring process, 7 interviewers assess the applicants experience, knowledge and character through an interview and demonstration lesson. After hiring, new tutors undergo two days of training and then have their lesson observed. The lesson is videotaped and evaluated by a senior tutor. The new tutor enacts reforms by comparing that evaluation with their own lesson experience. Even after two years of experience, tutors are subjected to observation once every term. Tutors constantly seek to improve the quality and structure of their lessons.

Senior Tutor
Scott Cavanaugh

Tutor's Voice

I have worked in the Tutorial English program since 2004. I think it is one of the best programs to improve English communication. Doing homework or communicating in class, prepares students to use English. Students get to know each other and share experiences in class. They improve their English and make new friends. I see former students and they say they are still friends with classmates even after Tutorial English. I think that is an extra benefit of the program.

STEP 2 Use English

Become familiar with English and different cultures through Cross-Cultural Distance Learning (CCDL)

Cross-Cultural Distance Learning is a program targeting students who are studying at intermediate or higher levels of Tutorial English. The goal of CCDL is to further expand the English language ability acquired in Tutorial English while also using English to hold discussions and obtain a deeper understanding of cultural differences. Waseda students and students from overseas partner universities hold discussion using network environments such as PC chat or television conference systems. CCDL is divided into three theme-based courses.

In these practical classes, students use English to communicate with students from Taiwan, Korea and China who are not native English speakers. Students accurately exchange personal ideas and try to understand their partner's opinion while speaking in English. In addition to English language ability, such practice deepens understanding and adaptability towards different cultures.

Lesson preparation and review is performed using Course N@vi (a unique online class support system of Waseda University).

STEP 3 Study a specialized field in English

More practical use of English through Global Courses

The final phase of the 3-step program is to study a specialized field using the English language ability and communication skills acquired in Tutorial English and Cross-Cultural Distance Learning. Global Courses broaden the field of study to overseas. For example, some classes use PC chat and television conference systems so that Waseda students can conduct presentations and debate with students from overseas partner universities. There are also specialized courses taught in English, short-term and long-term study abroad programs, and overseas field work courses.

Student voices

This section introduces comments from students who have taken classes such as Tutorial English.

English is a tool for absorbing many things in a broad world

Mizuki Yoshida, 3rd year student in the School of Education
Classes Taken: General Tutorial English (Intermediate) (2010 first term)
Discussion Tutorial English (Intermediate) (2010 second term)
WeTEC Score:648 (April 2010)→747 (January 2011)

The first step I took to realize my dream of studying abroad was to participate in language training in Los Angeles during spring vacation of my first year at university. However, did not prepare sufficiently and was unable to communicate well with foreign students from other countries. I strongly felt the desire to actively participate in conversation in English, and I enrolled in Tutorial English upon returning to Japan. The appeal of General Tutorial English is that the class is taught in small groups which enable students to actively participate instead of being passive. Discussion Tutorial English is a class in which group discussions are held regarding a variety of social issues. As I worked hard to express my own opinion in English, I gained confidence in speaking in English. I think that Waseda University offers an outstanding environment which fulfills student's desire to study English.

Personally, I view English as a tool used to experience a broader world and absorb more things. I would like to exchange opinions with people from a variety of countries and to travel to different countries for first-hand experiences. By studying English, I hope to view matters from a variety of perspectives and to broaden my way of living.

I want to become able to convey the appeal of Japan in English!

Nao Hirose, 2nd year student in School of Culture, Media and Society
Courses Taken: General Tutorial English (Advanced) (2010 first term)
Cross-Cultural Distance Learning (Social and Global Issues) (2010 second term)
Discussion Tutorial English (Advanced) (2010 second term)

I lived in America as a child and therefore have studied English a great deal. However, I enrolled in Cross-Cultural Distance Learning (CCDL) because I wanted to use English to have deep conversations with students from other countries. The appeal of CCDL is the opportunity to study with students who are highly motivated to learn English. I also felt that the course allows students to establish deep relationships with students from other countries instead of with Japanese who share a similar consciousness. I think that Waseda University offers an outstanding lineup of English education courses and programs. However, it is important for students to take the initiative to enroll in courses and study hard.

I would like to become able to explain about Japan in English. There are expressions which must be phrased differently in both Japanese and English, although such a problem is also incurred in languages other than English. I would like to be become comfortable using such expression and to give easy-to-understand explanations.

WeTEC-Testing the English communication ability of Waseda students

WeTEC (Web - based Test for English Communication) is an internet-based multiple choice test to evaluate English communication ability. The test was developed for Waseda University students. The test uses an adaptive system in which the composition of questions is changed according to the number of correct/incorrect answers. This system makes it possible to more accurately evaluate the English ability of students.

Students enrolled in General Tutorial English are required to take WeTEC twice. The first time is a preliminary evaluation used for class placement, and the second time is a post evaluation used to measure results.

[2] English as a tool for studying specialized fields

Our university uses a variety of methods to incorporate English into classes for students using English as a tool for studying specialized fields.
This section introduces three perspectives of how English is incorporated into classes.

School of International Liberal Studies

Promoting international understanding and cultivating professional capable of performing on a global stage

Taisaku Ikeshima (Professor, Faculty of International Liberal Studies)
Courses Taught: Intermediate Seminar, International Law, Seminar on International Relations

The School of International Liberal Studies cultivates professionals capable of performing in international institutions and global corporations. As such, almost all classes are taught in English. When teaching a class in English, I spend a lot of time preparing in advance so that contents will be easy for students to understand. I have spent a lot of time working on material that is distributed in class. Regardless of whether the students' native language is Japanese or not, classes are conducted totally in English and there are not exceptions. Of course, students realize that classes will be taught in English, so it appears that they are not particularly interested in having classes in Japanese. However, I always answer fully and carefully when asked a question in Japanese outside of the classroom.

When teaching a class in English, I am always conscious of speaking in English that is easy for anyone to understand. Furthermore, although classes are taught in English, we are studying in Japan. Therefore, I require that students have respect for Japanese culture, tradition and ways of thinking and follow Japanese etiquette and manners. For example, no eating or drinking is allowed during class and students must take off their hats. I emphasize that international understanding comes from recognizing the differences with foreign countries.

In order to cultivate professionals capable of performing internationally, I believe that it is important for students to be conscious of the locations and situations in which they will work in the future. Therefore, I try to interweave specific TPO into my classes.

School of Social Sciences

Create awareness towards the need for English as an international language by using English in daily life

Professor Mitsuru Yamada (Faculty of Social Sciences)
Courses Taught: Seminars I, II〜III (International Cooperation and the Construction of Peace)

The Project for Establishing Core Universities of Internationalization (Global 30) is implemented in the School of Social Sciences from this autumn. Furthermore, English was necessary considering the contents of the seminars. Therefore, we designated English as our daily language in 2009.

In the Seminar I for second-year students, we use an English textbook to study fundamental knowledge of international relations. Students also give a presentation in English during each class. The textbooks list keywords which must be prioritized when given presentations. Therefore, it is possible for students to give a minimalistic presentation simply by summarizing relevant sections of the textbook. However, I have heard students say that it takes 10 hours to prepare for giving actual presentations. Although there are differences between individuals, I think that everyone is gradually getting used to using English textbooks and writing English reports. Some seminar students have developed future aspirations and increased their level of awareness.

However, when conducting classes entirely in English, differences in individual English language ability results in a discrepancy in specialized information which is retained. Therefore, the first half of class consists of presentations given in English and the second half consists of debate and review of specialized knowledge in Japanese.

Some students have stated the opinion that debating in Japanese results in deeper understanding and accumulation of more knowledge. In order for students to accept the act of giving presentations in English, they understand why such language skills are necessary. Perhaps it is necessary to provide a clear reason such as including foreign students in the class.

In the future, I hope to promote increased reading comprehension of English literature among students and to create more opportunities for speaking and listening. I would like to provide students with incentives to study English such as overseas field work. Furthermore, I hope to raise awareness regarding the necessity of English as an international language. This can be accomplished by inviting as class guests alumni who use English on a daily basis for their work in fields such as journalism, NPOs and international institutions.

School of Advanced Science and Engineering

Cultivating engineers capable of international performance through bilingual lessons using Japanese and English

Shinichi Iwamoto (Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Graduate Courses Taught: Electrical System Theory
Undergraduate Courses Taught: Mathematical Programming, Electrical Circuits, Electrical System Engineering

I have always felt that although Japanese students possess many outstanding qualities, they lack sufficient ability to communicate in English. Moreover, in order for science professionals to work overseas, it is necessary for them to at least understanding specialized terms in both Japanese and English. Therefore, during the approximately 30 years since I began teaching at Waseda, I have conducted my graduate school courses in English. Also, beginning from 4 years ago, I have taught bilingual courses in both Japanese and English at undergraduate school and graduate school. During the classes, I use audio visual equipment to simultaneously project both Japanese and English on the screen while teaching. In the next class, I will conduct review using only English. Many students enroll in my courses, including students who want to work on a global stage and students who are interested in bilingual classes.

My laboratory focuses on cultivating graduate students who are capable of performing internationally. The seminars are bilingual and graduate students are always given at least one opportunity to give a presentation at an overseas academic conference. All seven of graduate students who graduate this spring gave presentations at conferences in America and Singapore. After returning from overseas conferences, students always experience a great change in their philosophy of life and international sensitivity. It makes me happy to see such growth in students.

My reason for insisting on bilingual education is that there is great value in being able to use both Japanese and English. For example, even if students understand the term "reactive power," they will be unable to work in Japan if they do not know the equivalent Japanese translation. In the future, I intend to continue actively teaching bilingual courses and to cultivate engineers capable of performing internationally.

Center for English Language Education (Faculty of Science and Engineering)
Compulsory practical English education for science and engineering students

English has become an international common language in the field of science and engineering. It is therefore necessary for both engineers and researchers to use English on a daily basis when giving presentations or when writing emails, reports and theses. To fulfill this need, the Center for English Language Education in Science and Engineering was established in 2004. The center seeks to cultivate international researchers and engineers through practical English education.