2017 Graduate and Undergraduate Thesis Presentations

On January 25, 2017, we had graduate and undergraduate thesis presentations from 13:00 – 17:30. Every single presenter made a great effort to present their research in a short period of time and in an engaging way. A summary of the presentations is below.

Graduate School Presentations

Ayano Tanaka, Are Communication Eigo I Textbooks Compatible with a Content and Language Integrated Approach? (In English)

Summary: Education reform in Japan incorporates active learning which is compatible with CLIL. CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning. CLIL is based on the 4Cs, content, communication, community, and cognition. One issue with CLIL is that it requires a CEFR B1 level but most HS students in Japan are at a A1 or A2 level. Ms. Tanaka evaluated the following HS textbooks: CROWN, WORLD TREK, Vivid, and Genius through the perspectives of the 4Cs.

Her research questions (RQs) and answers were

  1. To what extent do HS communication eigo I textbooks included CLIL textbooks.
    • All
  2. Which textbook is the most compatible with a CLIL approach?
    • World Trek
  3. Is CLIL with the use of textbooks compatible with a new approach for teaching?
    • Yes, because textbooks show the way to utilize all four skills

Takahiro Kudo, An Examination of Vocabulary Level and Readability of Third Level of Eiken, Junior High School Textbook, and Iwate (In English)

Summary: MEXT has stipulated that 50% of JHS students should pass 3rd level of eiken but only 50% have. He compared the vocabulary level and reading difficulty of the sunshine textbook, Iwate Prefecture HS entrance exam, and the 3rd level of the eiken test. He wanted to know is the sunshine textbook can prepare students for these tests.

For the results he found that 1) The Iwate High School Entrance Exam has more academic words than the eiken third-level test. 2) He found that New Crown covers 83 % of the entrance exam in Iwate and 78 % of the eiken. Sunshine covers 78% of the high school entrance exam and 75 % of the eiken test.

Undergraduate Presentations

Masaya Sato, What activity can promote students’ linguistic expressions in English (in Japanese)

The theme was the importance of collaboration between elementary school and junior high school for English education. Within this theme he investigated effective activities that work with both levels. To do this, he observed classes at the Iwate University Faculty of Education Affiliated Elementary School and classes at an after-school English program. He found that activities which encourage hands-on learning seemed to encourage English acquisition.

Haruka Takeda, Learning from Gandhi’s Life, (in Japanese)

She talked about a type of philosophy that Gandhi advocated, Ahimsa. The starting point of Gandhi’s own Ahimsa was his mother’s and father’s influences, teaching of Christianity, and the writings of Henry David Thoreau.

Misaki Sato, A Study of University Students’ Attitudes towards English Pronunciation and Their Pronunciation at High School (in English)

Misaki wanted to see the difference between students’ attitudes about English such as confidence and motivation and their pronunciation. She conducted a questionnaire to English Department students and found that the majority feel anxious about speaking English, even if they are English majors. She also found that students with more confidence in their speaking tended to have pronunciation instruction at high school.

Yusuke Ishiguro, Current Japanese English Education for Global Competence and a Look to the Future

Yusuke wanted to know what globalization is and how it will affect English education in Japan. He analyzed the Course of Study and found that they did not explain the difference between communication and communicative competence and it does not address the issue of English language diversity. He argued that the status of English between native and non-native speakers should be the same and we should focus on intelligibility rather than accuracy.

Rena Ueno, Some differences in time consciousness between Japanese and white middle class American West Coaster (in English)

She compared the time perceptions of Americans and Japanese from the perspectives of school, private events, family, business, and public transportation. She found that people in the West Coast are more tolerant of time because of the inconvenience or traffic. She found that overall, tolerance of time is not caused by laxness but rather by geographical circumstances and limited mass transit.

Takahiro Endo, A Study of Culture – Economic Modernization – What brought the big changes?
(in English)

Economic modernization came from industrial capitalization. He discussed that a lot of jobs are at risk of being replaced by computerization. This will increase the gap between rich and poor as more people from working class jobs might be replaced. He said that in order to not be replaced by computers we need to work with a passion and for a purpose.

Yusuke Endo, The Concept of Death – A cultural study of Japan and the US (in English)

After losing a dear friend, he decided to learn more about this topic. He was curious about the idea of the after-life. He studied the different concepts that Christianity, Buddhism, and Shintoism have about the after-life and wants to continue to study other religions. The commonality, he said is that those who did not go against the will of their god go to where their gods are, and those that disobeyed do not.

Haruka Osawa, The Historical Value of Rugby in New Zealand

Not present because of job-training.

Ruika Osawa, Japan’s Growth as a Developed Tourist Destination – A Comparison between the Japanese and American inbound business (in English)

Because of the Olympics, more foreign tourists will come to Japan. Japan, though, has been working to attract foreign tourists for 100 years. Ruika discussed efforts Japan is recently making to accommodate foreign tourists. Japan has received much of its visitors from Asian countries such as China but they are making more efforts to attract travelers from the US.

Kazuha Ota, Using English Diaries as a Means to Understand Students and Improve Their Writing Skills (in English)

He conducted diary writing during his one-month teaching practicum. He found that diary writing was a means to understand his students and develop a better relationship with them. He could use the diaries to understand the students’ interests and link it with their learning. He investigated whether students’ accuracy, fluency, and complexity changed but he could not reach any conclusive findings.

Hiroshi Obara, The effects and application of color (in English)

He argues that the gap between the meaning of colors among cultures can come from religion. For example, in Japan the color yellow can be positive but in the western culture it can symbolize cowardice. The negative image comes from Judah’s yellow robe. He compared the difference in meaning of red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, black, and white.

Kazuto Kurihara, Influences and Consideration of Comics and Cartoons in American Culture and Society
(in English)

Comics often have political messages or offer social commentaries. In the US, they can reflect American people’s thoughts on social issues and also draw people’s attention to problems. He found that despite recent violent attacks against comic writers, it has not deterred them from continuing to make commentaries.

Erina Kobayashi, A Study of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (in Japanese)

She questioned whether or not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were actually opposites. She argued that there were similarities between the two. Jekyll and Hyde could have been hidden sides of one another.

Natsumi Sakai, Employment of people with disabilities in the US and Japan (in Japanese)

She discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the policies of each country. In the US, there are laws that forbid discrimination of people with disabilities. Japan had no such laws but they passed a law to recently protect the employment rights of disabled people and prohibit discrimination.

Fuuka Sakamoto, A Study on the Foreign Language Activity in Japanese Elementary School: How should “CULTURE” be Treated at the Time of Globalization?

 Not present because of job training.

Kohei Sato, A Study of Lord of the Flies (in Japanese)

Lord of the Flies represents the innate bad side of human beings. He discussed the character of Jack as a symbol of evil and savagery. He argues that fear is linked with our tendency to regard people as evil.

Risako Sato, A Study of the Movie, Beauty and the Beast: A Contrastive Analysis of the English Line and the Japanese Dubbing and Subtitle (in Japanese)

 When they dubbed the English in Japanese, the length of the average Japanese sentence was much longer than what was written in the subtitles. The reason is that subtitles have to be written concisely to fit into the screen and enable the viewers to read them.

Akane Shitogishi, Teaching Speaking Skills in the Active Learning Classroom

Not present because of job training.

Yasufuji Suzuki, A Contrastive Study of the Original Japanese and Translated English in the Animation, Ouran High School Host Club (in Japanese)

He compared the English in Japanese in the dubbing and subtitles of the animation Ouran High School Club. He talked about how syntax of Japanese is loosely or freely structured compared to the more stringent style of English. Here is an example:

  • Japanese: 何を言う、大切なことだぞ。
  • English: What are you talking about? This is important.

Tenyu Takahashi, An Analysis of President Obama’s Inaugural Address: What is the Key to Fascinate the Audience (in Japanese)

 He analyzed Obama’s unique way of expressing himself. He discussed how Obama uses anaphora to emphasize the subject of the action. For example, “this” was used to begin a sentence five times in a row.

Hiroka Takahasi, Career Education in Schools, A comparison of Japan and the USA (in English)

She discussed some of the differences in career education between Japan and the USA. In Japanese schools, homeroom teachers are in charge of guidance counseling while in the US, schools have a special counselor for this.

Akari Tsushima, Gender and the Orchestra (in English)

She has noticed that most brass band orchestras she has been on are composed primarily of females but, worldwide, the majority of the members of professional orchestras are men. This sparked her interest in this topic. She wants to explore the following issues further: why is there an uneven balance between mean and women playing specific instruments.

Mahiro Teradate, A Comparison of American and Japanese Child Welfare Systems (in English)

She discussed that international adoption is prevalent in the USA but not Japan. Adoption is used in Japan to continue a family. Children with no family are often raised in an institution rather than an foster home. Blood relations are very important in Japan.

Ami Noto, Establishment of Sense of Self of Dorian Gray in Picture of Dorian Gray (in Japanese)

Dorian Gray starts as a very innocent young woman before she meets someone. Ami discusses the juxtaposition between the beauty of art and ugly side of reality and how beauty cannot hide the ugliness of morality.

Yuto Honda, A Comparative Study on the Posters of Japanese Films and English Films
(in Japanese)

Yuto talked about elements of objectivity and subjectivity in movie posters of Japanese and English films. The Japanese posters seem to focus on the emotions of the characters while the English posters provide a big picture of the scene.

Saki Murakami, A Comparison of the Primary School English Curricula in China, Korea, and Japan
(in Japanese)

Other countries start English earlier than Japan. She investigated the effect if this and found that students are not guaranteed to be any better at English even when they start earlier. She found that the linguistic content of the English subject is not clearly defined in Japan and this can lead to difficulties.

Ayaka Yamamoto, Halloween – American and Japanese Cultural Perspectives
(in Japanese)

Ayaka started this research because she wanted to know why Halloween had become so popular in Japan. The popular custom of celebrating Halloween originated in the USA, but Ayaka argues that it was spread throughout Japan by Disney.

Hajime Yokoyama, A Contrastive Study of English and Japanese Translations of Expressions: An Analysis of Bushido

He discussed about what words in the book are translated into Japanese and what are not. He discussed that in many cases the Japanese version had omitted the subject of sentences.

Rina Yoshida, Differences of Public Broadcasting Between Japan and the USA
(in Japanese)

Not only did Rina compare public broadcasting but she talked about the issue of simultaneous distribution. In Japan, this issue has not been resolved yet.

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