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ERIC Number: ED504149
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
Japanese Students' Contact with English outside the Classroom during Study Abroad
Tanaka, Koichi
Online Submission, New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics v13 n1 p36-54 2007
(Purpose) The purpose of this study was to investigate features of Japanese students' contact with the target language (English) outside the classroom in a study abroad context. (Methodology) The participants in this study were 29 Japanese students taking general English courses, for 12 weeks, at two private English language schools in New Zealand. According to the mean score of the Oxford Placement Test, their initial English proficiency level could be described as post-elementary (equivalent to IELTS 4.0, PBT-TOEFL 450). The author employed a qualitative approach for data collection and analysis, using the interview and the diary. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually with all of the students, immediately after they had studied in New Zealand for 12 weeks. The diary was optional. Five students kept a diary about their English learning experiences in New Zealand for 12 weeks. (Results) Results indicate that the Japanese students' contact with English during study abroad was much smaller than expected. Even if they had lived in a homestay, the quality and quantity of contact with English outside the classroom was very restricted. In many cases, the students merely exchanged simple greetings and held short conversations with their hosts at breakfast and dinner times. During most of their spare time, they stayed and studied in their rooms, or they went out alone or with their Japanese friends. The main reason for this situation appears to be their limited English proficiency. Even if they had wanted to do so, it would have been very difficult for them to communicate in English with native speakers. (Conclusions) The students' personality and motivation will influence the amount of contact with English. Wherever they lived, in a homestay or in a dormitory, some students actively sought and used opportunities to speak English (e.g., with non-Japanese overseas students) despite their limited English proficiency while others fell into an easy life-style, mingling with Japanese peers and using the Japanese language everyday. Indeed, there are a greater number of opportunities to use English outside the classroom in a study abroad context than in Japan; however, it is for the students to decide whether they utilise the opportunities. (Recommendation) If Japanese students want to immerse themselves in an English-speaking environment and enrich their study abroad (e.g., communicating fully with the host family and making friends with local people) as they have expected, they should make efforts to improve their English proficiency in Japan, as much as possible, before going abroad. (Additional data) (Participant Background information is appended.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; New Zealand