Teachers’ and students’ experiences within the communicative language course of study in Japanese high schools: an instrumental case study

Doctorate other than PhD


Bartlett, Kevin Alan. 2020. Teachers’ and students’ experiences within the communicative language course of study in Japanese high schools: an instrumental case study. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/fbtt-tx31
Title

Teachers’ and students’ experiences within the communicative language course of study in Japanese high schools: an instrumental case study

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
Authors
AuthorBartlett, Kevin Alan
SupervisorHarmes, Marcus
Harmes, Barbara
O'Neill, Shirley
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages305
Year2020
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/fbtt-tx31
Abstract

This study focused on the benefits and shortcomings of the 'Course of Study Guidelines' curriculum implemented from 2013 to 2016 which promoted the incorporation of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in Japanese high schools. An exploration of teachers’ and students’ responses to questions about their teaching practice, classroom experiences, and learning journey in the high school classroom was undertaken. This study outlines the current ethos and practice in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom at several levels of the education system in Japan, such as students, teachers, policy makers, and school management. Firstly, this instrumental case study followed an explanatory sequential mixed methods research design and surveyed the practices of Japanese high school teachers who teach English as a Foreign Language. Secondly, it examined current 2nd year university students’ opinions about the education that they received in high school under the 'Course of Study Guidelines'. The study provides useful insights, as these students are the first group of graduates to complete their high school education under the new curriculum guidelines.

This project provides an original contribution to knowledge about Japanese teachers’ and students’ practices since the introduction of the new curriculum. In particular, this thesis introduces original data, both qualitative and quantitative in nature that was collected by means of surveys, focus group discussions and informal interviews. The thesis, therefore, explores the ways that teachers have reacted to the new curriculum and how it has affected their teaching, and how students view the English as a Foreign Language education that they received as high school students under the new curriculum guidelines. Theoretically, this thesis, through the combination of Western and Japanese cultural concepts, allows for better exploration and comprehension of Japanese society and culture. As a result, new knowledge been created through the adaptation of current theories in the fields of Second Language Acquisition and Socio-Cultural perspectives.

Next, new knowledge has been created in regard to the effectiveness of the new curriculum that was implemented in Japan. This project has outlined the policy and has shown the flaws in the implementation of these strategies. This new knowledge can be useful when considering how to incorporate new policies and practices within the Japanese educational system.

Furthermore, an original contribution to literature can be found in the insights gained into teachers’ practices and students’ perceptions of their educational journey since the implementation of the new curriculum. Particular emphasis is given to teachers’ perceptions of the ways that their teaching practice has evolved (or not), and of the ways that students view the education that they received as high school students. This provides new knowledge relating to teaching and learning in the EFL classroom. It allows for an analysis of what extent CLT approaches have been adopted by teachers within Japanese high schools, and for what reasons difficulties in doing so can emerge. This provides an original contribution to literature through not only the timely nature of this study, but also from the results attained from participants who have studied and worked within the new curriculum as part of their professional careers as teachers, and in their development of skills as students.

As a result of this study, further consideration is given to a number of issues: teacher education and preparedness with regard to incorporating CLT approaches in Japanese EFL classrooms; the shortcomings that still need to be addressed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology (MEXT) when incorporating a new
curriculum; students’ experiences as learners within the new curriculum guidelines, and socio-cultural perspectives and their influence on teaching and learning. All stakeholders will benefit from the results of this study when moving forward in developing the implementation of English language education policy and classroom practices in the Japanese EFL environment.

In relation to future research, looking at ways to incorporate technology in the Japanese high school classroom, implementing and analysing whether translanguaging techniques can be beneficial to both teacher pedagogy and learner output, and investigating how to make classes more student-focused in Confucian contexts are recommended.

KeywordsSLA, CLT, education in Japan, sociocultural perspectives, policy and pedagogy
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390108. LOTE, ESL and TESOL curriculum and pedagogy
440107. Social and cultural anthropology
470401. Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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