University of Tokushima SAC



Our English Support Room (ESR) started 2 years ago with 3 students, one
who wanted to become an English teacher, one who just got back from a
year of study in Canada, and one who hated English but wanted to
overcome his ‘weakness’, so to speak. We now have over 30 students visit
us a day, from all five of our departments, including international
students, faculty, staff, ‘syakaijin’, and the occasional high school
student. We do not do much advertising, it seems more like student
inviting students, students motivating students, and students helping

We feel our success is based on being student-centered in that students
choose the events, layout, and material of the ESR of course with
guidance from us. Recently, the students started a program called
‘Japaru-ba’ (Japanese Wo Syaberu Basho, see website), a once-a-week
event to help exchange students with their Japanese because they are
always helping out with many or the Japanese students’ English Journey.

We started out with a philosophy identical to the famous Einstein quote
“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide conditions in which
they can learn.” What we SAC counselors do is advise, create a relaxing
atmosphere, and many opportunities to use English; for instance, we
recently bought an Axolotl (aka. Mexican Salamander)! We have only one
rule, our ‘English Only’ Policy, which we have no trouble implementing,
certainly with Japanese here-and-there for scaffolding and patching up
holes in communication. I would say language in the room is 90% English
on a constant basis. Our many talks concerning language acquisition help
students understand things such as the ‘Silent Period’ or
‘Interlanguage’. Other than talking to each other, visitors do homework,
rest between classes, eat and drink, surf the net, play games, read,
watch movies, and the list goes on and on. You name it, a student has
probably done it in English. What amazes us the most is when one student
is helping out another student with their Chinese, German, or Math
homework in English!

Our biggest challenge at the moment is making newcomers believe that
students who come to the ESR everyday were once a beginner too. On
average, our visitors take about 2 weeks to 3 months to feel what
Japanese call ‘pera-pera’, or fluent. We would love to hear of any
suggestions or comments. Thank you for checking us out!

Video Clip of University of Tokushima SAC (English Support Room)

Link to Tokushima University SAC (English Support Room) website


2009Tokushima journal120-128



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