English Conversation at Native Speeds : A Preliminary Study on the Effects of Using Variable Sentence Response and Conversation Cards in a Japanese University
This is a preliminary study on the effects of using the conversational activities Variable Sentence Response (VSR) and Conversation Cards in a university speaking and listening class in Japan. After using these activities for a semester, one class of twenty-two students engaged in free conversations for up to ten minutes. These conversations were then recorded and transcribed. Even though the students had been hesitant to engage in free conversation, and had struggled to complete two-minute guided conversations at the beginning of the semester, they were all able to have free conversations for the full ten minutes by the end of the semester. As well, these conversations at the end of the semester were at an average speed of 93 English words per minute and in 98.3% English. Furthermore, four of the students were able to hold these conversations at native speeds using over 99% English. Although this is only a preliminary study, the data found in this paper proves that VSR and Conversation Cards can be used to elevate many, if not all intermediate level students in Japan to the point of being able to hold long, uninterrupted conversations at near-native or native speeds of English with very little Japanese used.
学苑 (894), 82-98, 2015-04