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An investigation of Japanese university students' attitudes towards English

An investigation of Japanese university students' attitudes towards English
An investigation of Japanese university students' attitudes towards English
As a global language, English has spread to the extent that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers. In the last few decades, a body of research literature has emerged demonstrating the decreasing global relevance of native English speakers, and calling for a re-evaluation of English Language Teaching (ELT) practices, in order to better prepare students for using English as a global lingua franca. However, students’ needs and attitudes towards English and ELT must be fully investigated before curriculum changes can be suggested. Many attitude studies conclude that students favour native varieties of English. However, such research often uses single research methods and very few relate attitude studies to ELT. Further research is required regarding students’ attitudes towards English, the factors influencing these attitudes and how they relate to ELT. Moreover, few studies have investigated these proposals in any depth or explored the impact of course instruction in the global uses of English on students’ attitudes.

This thesis is an investigation of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards English and English teachers in relation to the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF). In order to widen the scope of understanding, this research employed a mixture of quantitative and qualitative measures to obtain data about the participants and their attitudes. Thus, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups were used. Following the introduction, chapter two and three provide a literature review. Chapter four outlines the methodology, and the results are presented in chapters five, six and seven. Chapter eight presents a discussion of the results and the implications of this study for teaching English are discussed in chapter nine. The findings suggest that English is seen as a language belonging to native English speakers and those students want to learn native English. However, the results highlighted that a number of factors influence students’ attitudes. The findings also demonstrated that the study of Global Englishes influenced students in a number of ways, including their motivation for learning English, attitudes towards varieties of English and attitudes towards English teachers. It encouraged them to question notions of ‘standard English’, was helpful for future ELF communication and raised their confidence as English speakers. In sum, the findings of this study provide an empirical basis for a re-evaluation of ELT and suggest that Global Englishes Language Teaching is something that should be further investigated.
Galloway, Nicola
6a6321c3-1af4-456a-bdfd-3ae600227904
Galloway, Nicola
6a6321c3-1af4-456a-bdfd-3ae600227904
Jenkins, Jennifer
7daf0457-86d0-4c08-af4b-79641d1f7fd0

Galloway, Nicola (2011) An investigation of Japanese university students' attitudes towards English. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 470pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

As a global language, English has spread to the extent that non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers. In the last few decades, a body of research literature has emerged demonstrating the decreasing global relevance of native English speakers, and calling for a re-evaluation of English Language Teaching (ELT) practices, in order to better prepare students for using English as a global lingua franca. However, students’ needs and attitudes towards English and ELT must be fully investigated before curriculum changes can be suggested. Many attitude studies conclude that students favour native varieties of English. However, such research often uses single research methods and very few relate attitude studies to ELT. Further research is required regarding students’ attitudes towards English, the factors influencing these attitudes and how they relate to ELT. Moreover, few studies have investigated these proposals in any depth or explored the impact of course instruction in the global uses of English on students’ attitudes.

This thesis is an investigation of Japanese university students’ attitudes towards English and English teachers in relation to the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF). In order to widen the scope of understanding, this research employed a mixture of quantitative and qualitative measures to obtain data about the participants and their attitudes. Thus, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups were used. Following the introduction, chapter two and three provide a literature review. Chapter four outlines the methodology, and the results are presented in chapters five, six and seven. Chapter eight presents a discussion of the results and the implications of this study for teaching English are discussed in chapter nine. The findings suggest that English is seen as a language belonging to native English speakers and those students want to learn native English. However, the results highlighted that a number of factors influence students’ attitudes. The findings also demonstrated that the study of Global Englishes influenced students in a number of ways, including their motivation for learning English, attitudes towards varieties of English and attitudes towards English teachers. It encouraged them to question notions of ‘standard English’, was helpful for future ELF communication and raised their confidence as English speakers. In sum, the findings of this study provide an empirical basis for a re-evaluation of ELT and suggest that Global Englishes Language Teaching is something that should be further investigated.

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Published date: June 2011
Organisations: University of Southampton, Modern Languages

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Local EPrints ID: 345128
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/345128
PURE UUID: 4939a9ae-bf0b-4cd3-a47a-992420525929

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Date deposited: 08 Nov 2012 15:43
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 05:12

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Contributors

Author: Nicola Galloway
Thesis advisor: Jennifer Jenkins

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