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Friday, August 14 • 3:35pm - 4:00pm
Do Japanese University Students Want to Be Global? Exploring the Ways and Means

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This study explores Japanese university students’ beliefs about learning English and their attitudes toward English speakers and their countries. The relationship between their level of English proficiency and their beliefs is also examined.

The Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, Sports, and Technology has started educational reforms in English from the elementary level through higher education. The primary intention is to establish an educational environment which corresponds to globalization.

Concerns remain regarding students’ interests and their level of English proficiency. Both of these show the tendency of bipolarization. Although the Ministry is apparently trying to draw people’s attention to English education, how do most university students feel about English, English speakers, and their respective countries? Many university students lose their original desire to study abroad after entering university.

In Japan, so-called newcomers (people who have recently come from overseas countries) have increased since 1990s. Their occupations include students, teachers, researchers, workers, dancers, etc. Many came to settle down in Japan with their families and the non-Japanese population is increasing year by year. Whether they wish or not, Japanese university students will be obliged to work with these newcomers in offices and schools all over Japan, using usually either Japanese or English.

Japan is changing into a multicultural society. At such a transformational moment for Japan, it is necessary to investigate how Japanese university students (expecting leaders) feel about learning English and their attitudes toward English and English speakers because English has become a communication tool. The research questions are as follows:

1. What do many Japanese university students feel about learning English, English speakers, and their respective countries?

2. Do their attitudes change according to the curriculum?

3. Do their attitudes toward English, English speakers, and their respective countries relate to their proficiency scores?

The results appear at the presentation.


Sachiko Takahashi

Notre Dame Seishin University

Friday August 14, 2015 3:35pm - 4:00pm EDT
CGIS South S010 (Tsai Auditorium) 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA