Research, Writing, and Active Learning in a Specialized Content Class

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  • Title: Research, Writing, and Active Learning in a Specialized Content Class: The Case of Teaching and Learning Western Philosophy in English at a Japanese University
  • Author(s): Brian Rubrecht
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education
  • Keywords: Japan, English, University, Philosophy, Active Learning
  • Volume: 26
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2327-7955 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-8749 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-7955/CGP/v26i01/35-47
  • Citation: Rubrecht, Brian. 2019. "Research, Writing, and Active Learning in a Specialized Content Class: The Case of Teaching and Learning Western Philosophy in English at a Japanese University." The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education 26 (1): 35-47. doi:10.18848/2327-7955/CGP/v26i01/35-47.
  • Extent: 13 pages

Abstract

As with all English Theme courses, this particular course conveys content to students solely through English, and it also requires students to develop their thinking and communication skills via in-class “active learning” activities, the culmination of which being their 1,000-word English reports. These reports are based on research behind the life and philosophy of one of the philosophers discussed in class and, consequently, must be complete with the requisite references and citations. Because of the demanding nature of these English Theme courses for the School’s sophomores and because one of the foundations of English Theme is the use of “active learning” activities, a multi-semester research study was conducted to investigate numerous aspects of this course, especially the reasons these non-English major Japanese university students had for choosing this particular English Theme course and their impressions of the active learning activities selected for use in the course. The results of this research are wide ranging but reveal, among other things, students’ thoughts about English Theme course selection, their generally wary-yet-optimistic stance about writing their research reports in English, and their satisfaction with the active learning activities implemented for the course.