Tutorial English Overview
Tutorial English is a unique program not only within Waseda University, but also among Japanese universities in general. It provides oral and written English education through small group classes of four to six students.
General Tutorial English
The General Tutorial English course is divided into six levels – Beginner, Basic, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Pre-Advanced and Advanced. Based on the Communicative Approach to teaching English conversation, this course encourages students to use new expressions as they are learned in order to perform tasks, participate in role-plays, and engage in discussions.
This course focuses on language for a variety of everyday situations. Students learn and practice expressions for introductions, describing places, free time activities, making phone calls, making and evaluating presentations, cultural differences, and many others. Students develop the skills and confidence to communicate their ideas in a range of situations using the appropriate language.
Writing Tutorial English
Writing Tutorial English, an intensive course, introduces students to the principles of good composition and helps them develop their skills by working with their tutor through an interactive process of drafting and revision. Currently, this course is offered only at the Basic level.
This course familiarizes students with the writing process – how to generate ideas, planning, drafting, checking, correcting, and redrafting. Students learn and practice writing skills appropriate for different types of texts including profiles, letters of opinion, comparisons, and news reports.
Business Tutorial English
Business Tutorial English is offered to Intermediate and Advanced students who are interested in, or will soon be joining, an international working environment. This course provides students with an opportunity to learn to express themselves in a variety of business situations. Negotiating, making presentations, interviews, and making predictions are among the topics. Each unit also contains a reading and discussion section on intercultural communication. Speaking, reading and writing skills are utilized in this course.
Discussion Tutorial English
Discussion Tutorial is offered to Intermediate and Advanced students. The course aims to develop students’ ability to logically discuss topics in English. In this course, students read articles on various issues and develop skills such as expressing opinions, summarizing ideas, and agreeing and disagreeing with others’ ideas, in order to participate in multiple discussions. This course is designed for students who are already able to communicate in English on familiar topics and seek to achieve strong discussion skills.
General Tutorial English has 20 lessons. During the spring and fall semesters, two different lessons are taught each week and the course is completed within a period of about 10 weeks, depending on the number of holidays.
During the first half of the week, Monday to Wednesday, the same unit number is taught in all classes at all levels, for example Unit 1. During the second half of the week, Thursday to Saturday, the next consecutive unit is taught in all classes, for example Unit 2.
During the intensive summer and winter semesters, 2 lessons are taught each day and the course is completed within a 2 week period.
Writing Tutorial English has 10 lessons and is only offered as an intensive course. One lesson is taught each day and the course is completed within a 2 week period. Currently, this program is only offered during the summer and winter semesters.
Business Tutorial English has 10 lessons. During the spring and fall semesters, one lesson is taught each week and the course is completed within a period of about 10 weeks, depending on the number of holidays.
During the intensive summer and winter semesters, one lesson is taught each day and the course is completed within a 2 week period.
Discussion Tutorial English has 20 lessons. During the spring and fall semesters, two different lessons are taught each week and the course is completed within a period of about 10 weeks, depending on the number of holidays.
During the intensive summer semester, 2 lessons are taught each day and the course is completed within a 2 week period.
All courses and levels use our own textbook series, written by Tutorial English Program Development staff and published by Waseda University Academic Solutions Corporation. The General Tutorial English series is titled “Reach Out” and each textbook has 20 units, so one unit is taught during each lesson. The Writing Tutorial English textbook, titled “Write to Communicate” includes 10 units. The textbook for Business Tutorial English includes 10 units. The textbook for Discussion Tutorial English includes 20 units.
Full-time 5 tutors teach 17 lessons each week, full-time 6 tutors teach 21 lessons each week, and part-time tutors teach a minimum of six and a maximum of twelve lessons each week. In the first half of the week from Monday to Wednesday, tutors will teach the same unit number to all their classes regardless of the level. During the second half of the week, from Thursday to Saturday, tutors will teach the next consecutive unit to all their classes regardless of the level.
Tutors’ schedules are fixed on a weekly basis. From Monday to Saturday, tutors have a different daily schedule and different classes of students each day. Tutors’ daily schedules, however, will be the same from week to week throughout the semester.
During each lesson, one entire unit from the textbook is taught. During the spring semester, tutors teach 10 units to each of their classes (students study 10 units with one of their tutors and 10 units with their other tutor). The number of units tutors teach each of their classes in the fall semester may differ between the first half and the second half of the week.
After tutors finish their lessons each day, they must assess students’ performance based on the Can-do Functions in each unit. Each student is assessed on the Can-Do Functions based on how well they used the target language and completed the objectives of the unit. In addition, tutors must also write a brief comment to each class which includes a summary of the lesson, general feedback about the students’ performance in the lesson and advice about points to work on. The comment also includes a Lesson Review Task that students are required to answer. Thus, for each lesson taught, tutors must complete four Can-do assessments and one comment. They are then sent to students electronically via the Tutorial English Website.
Review Sheets – based on students’ attendance, tutors are required to submit a Mid-term and Final Review Sheet for each eligible student.
The methodology of Tutorial English is based on the Communicative Approach (Communicative Language Teaching). This is where the students are given situations they are likely to encounter in real life to enact. The approach also incorporates aspects of task-based learning, that is, setting the students a task to complete. The foundation of this method is that learners develop communicative competence by using the language (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). The course provides authentic and meaningful input to heighten learning and communication. It also demonstrates that English learned inside the classroom can be effective outside the classroom. In task-based learning, students interact with each other, using the language to achieve a communicative goal.
The program is learner-centered, which empowers our students to be responsible for their own learning and encourages them to become autonomous learners and able to take charge of their own learning. Lesson activities utilize pair work and group work to maximize student involvement and participation. In the activities, students need to be able to use different linguistic forms and patterns to perform a particular function.
During the spring and fall semesters, students taking General Tutorial English attend classes twice a week, once in the first half from Monday to Wednesday, and once during the second half from Thursday to Saturday. Students usually have two different tutors as well as two different sets of classmates during the first and second halves of the week.
For example, Akiko will meet with her tutor, Mike, every Monday at 9:00 am. Akiko will meet with her other tutor, Paul, every Thursday at 1:00 pm. Akiko’s classmates on Monday will always be the same. Akiko’s classmates on Thursday (different from those on Monday) will also be the same every week.
Prior to each class, students are expected to prepare for the lesson by completing the Preparation exercise at the beginning of each unit in the textbook. During each lesson, one entire unit from the textbook is studied.
The students are required to answer the Lesson Review Task before the next class.
During the summer and winter semesters, General Tutorial English students attend 2 consecutive classes each day, either in the morning or in the afternoon. For example, Yuka will meet her tutor, David, and her classmates every day at 9:00 am for two weeks. Yuka will meet her other tutor, Liz, and the same set of classmates every day at 10:40 am for two weeks.
Students taking Business Tutorial English during the spring or fall semesters attend one 3-hour class each week. Students taking Business or Writing Tutorial English during the summer or winter semesters attend one 3-hour class each day, either in the morning or afternoon. They have the same tutor and classmates throughout the course.
Placement & Assessment for General Tutorial English
Students are placed into one of the six levels based on their performance on a placement test. Within each level, students are grouped into classes with students of similar ability based on their placement test score.
At the end of the course, students are assessed mainly according to these factors: the Can-Do Functions, attendance, preparation, participation, and replies to Lesson Review Task (LRT) questions. After each lesson, tutors assess each student’s ability to perform each function and award points accordingly. Students are also given points for attendance, preparation, and participation. Student replies to LRT questions are assessed according to if and when they were sent, and the quality of the content.