JALT Forum: Reimagining Contemporary EFL Curricula

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Neil H. Johnson; Paul A. Lyddon; Mark Evan Nelson; Alex Selman; Alex Worth

This paper summarizes a 4-part forum describing ongoing efforts to transform Freshman English, a key course in the 1st-year English program at a private university in Japan. Recognizing rapid, consequential changes in the global view of English and the nature of communication, faculty and staff determined to thoroughly reimagine an English program that would authentically address fundamental concerns of our historical moment. This evolving, decidedly hybrid approach is founded on philosophical principles derived from sociocultural theory, social semiotics, multiliteracies, and the New Literacy Studies. The first contribution underscores the need to move away from a skills-based, communicative approach to language teaching. The second outlines the theoretical framework shaping the new curriculum development process. The third provides an example task sequence within a process-oriented syllabus, illustrating how this theoretical position has been implemented. The fourth addresses assessment issues both in general and with respect to specific institutional needs and constraints.