Seeing English Language Teaching and Learning through the Eyes of Japanese EFL and ESL Students

By Saito, Hiromi; Ebsworth, Miriam Eisenstein | Foreign Language Annals, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Seeing English Language Teaching and Learning through the Eyes of Japanese EFL and ESL Students


Saito, Hiromi, Ebsworth, Miriam Eisenstein, Foreign Language Annals


Abstract:

To uncover possible barriers to effective communication and learning, this study explored how college-level Japanese English language learners in English-as-a-second-language (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) contexts viewed their English teachers and classroom activities. Analysis of 100 questionnaires incorporating quantitative and qualitative questions revealed that most Japanese students positively viewed teachers who were open, respectful of other cultures, and willing to adjust classroom content to meet students' needs. Among the differences between ESL and EFL students were ESL students' greater comfort with active participation in class, more time spent in class, physical proximity to teachers, and appreciation of student-centered behavior. On the other hand, EFL students appreciated teachers who provided native language support and avoided possible loss of face entailed by challenging and unexpected questions.

Introduction

As English use continues to grow worldwide, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) teaching and teacher education are expanding. In 2000 and 2001, over 85,000 foreign students studied in intensive English programs in U.S. colleges. Japanese students made up 23% of this population and Japan continues to be the top country of origin for international college students (Open Doors, 2001). Concurrently, many native English-speaking teachers are being hired from the United States to teach English in Japan (The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2002).

Many U.S. teachers who teach English at home or in Japanese colleges encounter difficulties in dealing with their Japanese students, due in part to the gap between culturally influenced teacher-held expectations and student participation patterns (Cogan, 1995, 1996; Hadley & Evans, 2001; Sato, 1990; Stern, 1992). Japanese students are often criticized as being passive, lacking initiative, and rarely volunteering answers (Cohen, 1995; Hadley & Evans, 2001; Paul, 1996). These behaviors are frequently interpreted by teachers as a lack of motivation (Rohlen, 1996; Wadden, 1993). At the same time, Japanese students who are learning in both EFE and ESE contexts express frustration with English teachers (Kobayashi, 1991; Miyoshi, 1996). A common complaint is that the teachers impose uncomfortable practices such as soliciting original ideas through active verbal participation in class (Call, 1998; Nelson, 1995; Reid, 1998).

This reflects American teachers' beliefs that class participation is necessary for L2 success (Call, 1998; Matsumoto, 1996).

Such lack of congruity between student and teacher views presents a serious challenge because it may cause tension and hamper language learning. Depending upon accepted culture-specific beliefs and values, individuals think and behave quite differently (Triandis, 1997) and express intentions in pragmatically distinct ways (Thomas, 1993; Ebsworth & Eisenstein Ebsworth, 2000; Eisenstein Ebsworth, Bodman, & Carpenter, 1996). When the intentions of people from different discourse communities are misinterpreted, communication breakdown can result. Language classrooms reflecting divergent sociocultural norms and values typically demonstrate such dissonance (Sasaki, 1996). Thorp (1991) argued that if the meaning underlying students' classroom interaction patterns is different from that perceived by the teacher, the teacher is likely to make inappropriate negative assessments of the students.

In addition, some studies have suggested that Japanese students in the United States differ from their peers in Japan, contrasting in their perceptions of pragmatic acts and strategies (Rockelman, 1995; Takahashi & Beebe, 1993). A better knowledge of what Japanese students in the United States and in Japan expect of their teachers and how they interpret classroom activities has the potential to improve student-teacher interactions and result in a more favorable learning experience (Reid, 1998). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Seeing English Language Teaching and Learning through the Eyes of Japanese EFL and ESL Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.