Do you know how many hours in total Japanese students learn English in junior high school and high school? - The answer is 1,000 hours. Despite such long hours of learning, the TOEFL scores of Japanese examinees ranked second from the bottom, out of 30 Asian countries. English education in Japan has often been criticized for lack of balance in four English skills, i.e. reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Ritsumeikan University College of Life Sciences, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Sport & Health Science have implemented Project-based English Program which is named “PEP” as part of their curriculum with an aim to improve their English proficiency through expressing their thoughts or ideas followed by discussion both in English. By actively discussing the topics of concern to themselves, students acquire social skills and interpersonal skills to respect for others and communicate with others in a diverse environment.
PEP consists of two modules; projects where students present their messages and skill workshops where students build up their English skills for projects. As a summarization of the program, seven students from College of Life Sciences held “PEP Talks” to give presentation on January 13, 2016. Audiences were Ritsumeikan students and HR persons from some private companies such as pharmaceutical company and chemical company.
The students gave a 10-minute presentation in English on topics that they are interested in or topics in relation to their studies such as bamboo harm, zero waste lifestyle and water purification by Photocatalyst.
After listening to the presentations, the HR persons gave comments that the level of their presentations were high compared even to corporate employees and that it was wonderful that the students saw the topics as their own issues and gave a presentation confidently.