Showcase: Aki Iimuro


Using authentic materials can motivate students and make their learning experience more meaningful. At the same time, it can be challenging for the teacher to adapt them to the teaching context. The Weekly Student Times is a newspaper for English learners published by The Japan Times. It’s a newspaper for ESL/ EFL learners, but not like a newspaper for kids. The articles range from worldwide topics to local topics in Japan, and from politics to Hollywood star gossip. I felt adapting materials like this, with interesting topics at the appropriate level, would lead my university students to enjoy reading and encourage them to read more in English, and perhaps even a “real” newspaper.

In the beginner level university course I organize and teach, the Student Times was incorporated as a summarizing activity, by selecting articles that correspond with the topics we cover in class. Students are asked to write a summary and their opinions based on the article. This helps build their summarizing skills and opinion-constructing skills. At the end of the semester, students are asked to individually select articles that interest them, and share their summaries and opinions with the class. This is also a great way to have your students become interested in current events around the world. Some of the students in the course enjoy reading the articles so much that they continue reading other articles available on the course homepage or in the library. For more information, you can go to the website at <>.

Aki Iimuro is a Senior Lecturer at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University and Secretary of JALT Oita Chapter. Her professional interests include conversation analysis, pragmatics, L1 use in language teaching, and curriculum development.

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