Departmental Bulletin Paper Instructors’ Backgrounds and Learner Attitudes in Japan : A Pilot Study of Two Universities

Ritchie, Zane  ,  北村, 優子

11 ( 1 )  , pp.59 - 67 , 2018-03 , 城西大学現代政策学部
In recent years, Japanese universities have begun to expand their English programs and employ more native speakers of English in order to give their students better opportunities to improve their English as well as to promote internationalization. Each native instructor brings with them their own unique cultural background, experience, philosophy and ideas to the classroom.This paper presents the results of a pilot study of a group of students from two Japanese universities and reveals their expectations regarding teaching practice and their engagement in English learning and how it affects their attitudes and motivation toward learning the language.A focus group approach was employed in order to allow the participants to engage freely with one another, with minimal restriction or intervention from the interviewers. The results established that irrespective of the university location, environment, or instructor’s nationality or background, the learners displayed similar types of anxiety towards English study, with much of it connected to their past experiences or exposure to the types of English teachers they had, before they matriculated. It is therefore recommended that university administrators and policy makers take into account that students will likely have anxiety towards English at the tertiary level, and undertake efforts to implement necessary measures and strategies to create less stressful learning environments.

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