Is my speech improving? The Use of Voice Board in Japanese language learning

Kayo Nakazawa, Helen Muir, Christine Dudley

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For learners of Japanese as a foreign language, raising awareness of their individual speech patterns and building confidence in speaking skills is of critical importance for the continued improvement of their ability to communicate in Japanese. However, in the university context, there are limited opportunities for learners to experience and participate in authentic Japanese communication. The literature shows that learners need consistent and conscious guidance by language instructors if they are to improve their oral skills, yet limited face to face class time and limited access to the instructor in that class time available make it difficult for learners to have real opportunities to express themselves in Japanese. In this case study, the use of Voice Board integrated into a course website is investigated for its potential to improve the oral skills of learners with limited class time who are at the late beginner and early intermediate levels of Japanese. Each group of students completed two or three units of work per semester. Each unit was broken into a sequence of steps. The preliminary steps involved students preparing their thoughts in Japanese and working with feedback from instructors to improve their Japanese expression. The critical steps involved students recording their thoughts and receiving feedback from peers on what they had said. At the same time students were able to receive individual feedback on their oral skills. This knowledge and raised self-awareness was then utilised in their next oral task. Based on instructors’ observations, learners’ feedback on their own motivation, and awareness and actual improvement noted in learner’s speech in this trial, the presentation discusses the potential of the use of web-based Voice Board for improvements in the teaching of oral skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalInternational journal of the humanities
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2007 Common Ground Publishing. Article originally published in International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp. 179-184. This version archived on behalf of the author and is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission must be sought from the publisher to republish or reproduce or for any other purpose.


  • foreign language acquisition
  • Japanese language learning
  • Voice Board
  • awareness raising for oral expression


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