The beliefs of first year Japanese university students towards the learning of English

Doctorate other than PhD

Riley, Paul Anthony. 2006. The beliefs of first year Japanese university students towards the learning of English. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.

The beliefs of first year Japanese university students towards the learning of English

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorRiley, Paul Anthony
SupervisorMangubhai, Francis
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages122

In the field of second and foreign language learning, beliefs, as one of the affective factors, remain relatively unexplored. Failure to address unrealistic student beliefs and expectations may increase student anxiety (Truitt, 1995; Young, 1991), hinder progress, and ultimately lead to a breakdown in learning (Ellis, 1996; Horwitz, 1985, 1987, 1988; Mantle-Bromley, 1995; Peacock, 1999). This study investigates the beliefs about language learning of first year university students in Japan, employing the Japanese language questionnaire developed by Sakui and Gaies (1999). Two student discussion groups were also formed to provide further data. In addition to describing student beliefs, the study explores differences between student beliefs and teacher beliefs, change in student beliefs during a course of study, and relationships between student beliefs and second language proficiency. A total of 661 first year students, and 34 of their class teachers, participated in this study, at a private Japanese university, between April 2002 and January 2003. Data were analysed using Pearson correlation, Cronbach’s alpha, t-tests, and a principal components factor analysis. The students in the study appear to hold a variety of beliefs, to varying degrees. Significant differences were found between student responses and teacher responses for more than half of the questionnaire items, with the four main areas of difference relating to translation, error correction, the difficulty of language learning, and motivation. In terms of belief change, significant differences were found in student responses to almost a quarter of the questionnaire items between two administrations in April and December, 2002. Some differences were also identified between the beliefs of students based on their proficiency scores, but the results here are inconclusive. This study contributes to the growing understanding of the role of beliefs in language learning. Further studies of other student groups, at other institutions in Japan, will enable a comparison of results to help produce a clearer picture of the beliefs and expectations about language learning of students at Japanese universities.

Keywordsuniversity student, Japanese, language, Horwitz, beliefs about language learning inventory (BALLI), Kuntz-Rifkin instrument
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390409. Learning sciences
470306. English as a second language
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