In their three-year-old SELHI program, the English department of Seinan Jo Gakuin have developed methodology for teaching and evaluating students’ ability in self-expression via reading (as input of ideas), writing and oral communication. Directed by the school administration, they were initially unsure of what to do to implement these objectives, beyond recognition of the importance of increasing motivation through the integrated teaching of four skills and encouraging creative use of English with other subjects, as stipulated by the Ministry of Education.
This latter goal was not shared by teachers of other subjects at the onset of the project, but changed dramatically as it developed, along with the attitudes and methodology of those directly involved, something appreciated as one of the most important and apparent benefits of the program. Grammar translation methodology gave way to practically exclusive use of English by teachers as well as students.
Games and strategies to extend and fine-tune conversations— such as encouraging immediate responses and following the formula, A(nswer)A(dd)A(ask)-- are used extensively in the program Debate was introduced as a powerful means of facilitating oral expression. This inspiring presentation finished with a video clip of Seinan students winning a debate contest.