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On Effective Instruction of the Japanese Relative Clause

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This study was designed to test a new method of instruction for Japanese language students' re-acquisition of the Japanese relative clause structure. 10 Japanese language students who had already been exposed to the Japanese relative clause in their previous semester

This study was designed to test a new method of instruction for Japanese language students' re-acquisition of the Japanese relative clause structure. 10 Japanese language students who had already been exposed to the Japanese relative clause in their previous semester were asked to take a pretest that assessed their (a) knowledge of basic grammar concepts such as a "subject" and "predicate," (b) their ability to apply those basic grammar concepts to the Japanese language, and (c) their grasp of the rules applying to the formation of the Japanese relative clause. Students were then placed into a control group containing 6 students and an experimental group containing four students. The experimental group received additional lessons consisting of explicit instruction of basic grammar in both Japanese and English, as well as basic noun relativization rules in each language. The study found that the explicit instruction helped student comprehension of the relative clause structure, although some difficulties remain in identifying the relative clause and in constructing it on their own.

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2013-05

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From gatekeeping to greeting: fostering persistence in first-year online writing courses

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Increasing numbers of courses are offered online and increasing numbers of students are pursuing post-secondary studies. At broad-access institutions, such as land grant universities and community colleges, this presents a particular concern around student persistence--that is, the number of students

Increasing numbers of courses are offered online and increasing numbers of students are pursuing post-secondary studies. At broad-access institutions, such as land grant universities and community colleges, this presents a particular concern around student persistence--that is, the number of students who complete diploma, certificate, or degree requirements from an institution. Such increased access and increased enrollment also present unique challenges to first-year writing instructors, who are often the first professionals with whom first-year students are in contact. Here I explore the many reasons why student persistence should interest first-year writing instructors, in particular, those who are teaching online. Student persistence has important civic, economic, ethical, institutional, and disciplinary implications that first-year instructors cannot ignore. I propose a persistence-based pedagogy that involves six essential elements: designing learner-centered online writing courses, demonstrating mattering by valuing student writing, fostering self-efficacy by making assignments relevant, fostering student connections through collaboration and community, engaging virtual learners by fostering a sense of place and presence, and recognizing the challenges and minimizing the risks of teaching online. Such an undertaking is necessarily transdisciplinary and draws on scholarship in rhetoric and composition, instructional design, educational psychology, applied linguistics, and higher education administration. It connects pedagogical principles advanced nearly fifty years ago with digital pedagogies that are in their infancy and attempts to balance the social epistemic nature of writing instruction with the real-world demands of diverse student populations, increasing course sizes, and ever-changing technologies. Perhaps most importantly, this dissertation focuses on strategies that online writing instructors can adopt regardless of their theoretical leanings, academic training, or institutional requirements. While persistence-based instruction does not change the purpose or outcomes of first-year composition and does not replace proper placement measures or address early-term drop rates, it does provide a framework for facilitating online courses that is rooted in rhetorical theory and composition pedagogy and promotes informed teaching and lifelong learning.

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2012