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Instituts et centres de recherche

Japan: Action Oriented Plurilingual Language Learning (AOP) Project


Last Updated: 3 Dec 2011

Introduction to the AOP Project

The Action Oriented Plurilingual Language Learning (AOP) Project is a five-year research project launched in 2006 that is subsidized by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) as part of a program “promoting the advancement of academic research at private universities”. The Keio Research Center for Foreign Language Education is a designated “Academic Frontier Center” under the program.

The research considers language education in all stages of learning, seeking ways to achieve greater coherence in foreign language, primarily English, tuition from elementary school through to graduate school and to provide students with better skills for communicating in plurilingual and pluricultural environments.

The AOP Project will work on reconfiguring a grand design for language education within an educational paradigm founded on social constructivism. Looking to hand the initiative to learners, the project will promote the adoption of action-oriented task learning and pursue various avenues helping to shape strategies for autonomous learning.

Responding to the issues

Through its activities, the Keio Research Center for Foreign Language Education considers language education in all stages of learning, seeking ways to achieve greater coherence in foreign language, primarily English, tuition from elementary school to graduate school and to provide students with better skills for communicating in plurilingual environments in which English plays a major role.

A shift toward action-oriented task-based learning would squarely address the need to develop communicative competence with broad applicability on the international stage. It will also be important to incorporate a host of opportunities for intercultural exchange into educational environments targeting plurilingual and pluricultural competence development in order to cultivate adequate language proficiency for gathering and redistributing the bulk of localized and multilingual information being distributed via now-ubiquitous information networks.

As an educational research body, the AOP Project will delve into these issues in pursuit of fundamental improvements that ought to be made to Japanese foreign language education environments. Theoretical platforms and practical knowledge underpinning earlier accomplishments, in particular the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) that has been continually worked upon in Europe for 30 years, will provide a basis for reforms.

Plurilingual and pluricultural elements are already beginning to manifest in 21st century Japan through the globalization of corporate enterprise, the growing influx of foreign workers, and the unhindered flow of information across national borders. It is not difficult to imagine the trend continuing along the same lines. The ultimate objective of the AOP Project is to support these developments by intricately reconfiguring foreign language education within a new educational paradigm based on social-cognitive constructivism, going beyond frameworks hitherto relied upon. More specifically, that means establishing learning environments to support this approach and building up new teacher training systems.