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Professional Development

Originated by Birmingham MA TEFL/TESL students

January 25, 2010

The Real Voice of Japanese Students

Welcome to Learners' Voices 2010!

Last year, we heard from a number of learners and teachers in a wide variety of educational contexts in Japan. This promises to be another exciting and engaging year as we continue to learn more from our learners, hearing their voices, listening to their thoughts, opinions and ideas, and further reflecting upon and innovating our own teaching practices.

In this month's edition, courtesy of Tim Murphey and Yuichi Suga, we listen to the real voice of university students reflecting on their language learning experiences and appealing for meaningful change in English language education in Japan.


Philip Shigeo Brown
Editor, Learners' Voices


If you would like to contribute to Learners' Voices, please review our Submission Guidelines ( and feel free to email me anytime: philza2003(at)

In spring 2009, 30 first year university students in Tim Murphey’s seminar, at Kanda University of International Studies, wrote their language learning histories (LLHs). In the fall, small groups read and analyzed them for motivational and demotivational factors and wrote reports, giving recommendations to students, teachers, and the Japanese government Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology (MEXT) Then they made the video, summarizing the findings, ventriloquating some Japanese proverbs and sound bites from other famous quarters. They intend to send the report and LLHs to MEXT and the newspapers along with the video link.

Click on the link below to watch and listen to The real voice of Japanese students:

The actual reports (edited by Tim Murphey, Joe Falout, and Maria Trovela) can be downloaded and read freely by clicking on the link below:
Real Voice: Suggestions for Changing English Education for Future Generations from 1st Year University Students

Biography of the Video Co-Producers
Kanda University of International Studies graduate (2009) and movie producer Yuichi Suga co-produced and edited this video on his Mac. Tim Murphey has a history of asking students what they think (1993, 1999, 2002, 2004; Murphey & Arao 2001; Murphey, Chen & Chen 2005; Murphey & Ijima 2006; Murphey, Falout, Elwood & Hood 2009; Murphey & Falout in press).


Murphey, T. (1993). Why don't teachers learn what learners learn? Taking the guesswork out with action logging. English Teaching Forum 31 (1) 6-10. Accessed Jan 24, 2010 at
Murphey, T. (1999). Publishing Students’ Language Learning Histories: For them, their peers, and their teachers. Between the Keys (the newsletter of the Materials Writers SIG of JALT) VII, no.2 p. 8-11, 14.
Murphey, T. (2002). From the horse’s mouth Advice from second-semester Japanese university students to JHS/HS English teachers in Japan. Learning Learning, 9 (1), 2-10.
Murphey, T. (2004). Participation, (Dis-)Identification, and Japanese University Entrance Exams. TESOL Quarterly 38 (4) 700-710 Winter
Murphey, T. & Arao, H. (2001). Changing Reported Beliefs through Near Peer Role Modeling. TESL-EJ. 5(3)1-15. Accessed at
Murphey, Tim; Chen, Jin; & Chen, Li-Chi (2005). Learners’ constructions of identities and imagined communities. In P. Benson & D. Nunan, (eds.). Learners' Stories: Difference and Diversity in Language Learning. pp. 83-100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Murphey, T. & Iijima, Y. (2006). University entrance exams, copyright law, academic ethics, and reality. The English Teachers’ Magazine. May pp. 45-47 (In Japanese)
Murphey, T., Falout, J., Elwood, J. & Hood, M. (2009). Inviting Student Voice. Asian EFL Journal, Professional Teaching Articles, Volume 36 pp. 1-25. Accessed May 2, 2009 at
Murphey, T. & Falout, J. (in press). Critical Participatory Looping. TESOL Quarterly.

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