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Adoption of the English Central Platform for Listening and Speaking Practice
Many Japanese university EFL teachers have been tasked with teaching communicative language skills in required freshman English classes. This is quite a challenge with large classrooms of low-proficiency students that meet just once a week, a situation which has only been made more complex during the COVID pandemic. This presentation will introduce the English Central e-learning platform and describe the ways in which it was adopted within the specific teaching environment described above. With English Central’s watch, learn, and speak function trinity, students are able to study and practice listening and speaking skills within the context of video clips accessible through the service’s website and app. In particular, the speak function allows students to have their spoken English evaluated by the assessment platform for immediate automated feedback on their pronunciation. This self-study tool not only proved to be an accessible language practice alternative under the physical distancing restrictions put in place during the pandemic, but also eliminated some of the L2 performance stresses that students may experience in face-to-face language classroom settings. The presenter will also review English Central’s class administration tools that allow teachers to customize and track students’ assignments, and in closing, they will share some of the successes and frustrations that he and his students experienced throughout a year of using the platform.