FLOW (Fluency-oriented Workshop) is a new compulsory course for first-year students at the University of Tokyo. It is a single-term course (seven weeks) specifically designed to help students improve their English speaking ability. The class uses English as the language of instruction, and is taught by ALESS and ALESA faculty. The focus of FLOW is spoken English as it is used in an academic context, and the course reinforces the skills acquired in ALESS and ALESA academic writing classes. Topics are discussed from a critical, inquiring point of view and students are coached in the basic principles of academic oral communication.
Because of the short length of the course, a further important aim is to give students tools to improve their spoken fluency independently after the course ends. Therefore, students learn to reflect critically on the strengths and weaknesses of their current speaking ability, and to find ways of working autonomously on those weaknesses. By the end of the course, students will be better positioned to study abroad, to participate actively in discussions in English, and to take charge of their own path to English spoken fluency.