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ERIC Number: EJ1017864
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1072-4303
First-Year Japanese University Students' Language Learning Beliefs: Continuity and Change
Yonesaka, Suzanne M.; Tanaka, Hiroya
TESL-EJ, v17 n3 Nov 2013
Japan's government has mandated a shift from traditional to communicative methodologies in secondary English classrooms (Tanabe, 2004), but it is unclear whether this has affected student beliefs about language learning. This study investigates the beliefs of 315 incoming university students at a large private university in Japan from 2006 through 2011 using Sakui and Gaies's (1999) 45-item beliefs survey. Factor analysis found four belief factors: Positive Attitude, L1 Instruction Orientation, Traditional Orientation, and Expectations for School. Although ANOVA found no significant differences among the cohorts for the means of the four belief factors or for English proficiency scores, cluster analysis found three orientations: traditionalist, independent, and persevering. Learner beliefs about the insufficiency of English education at school, the importance of listening and speaking practice, and the role of culture and other outside factors appear relatively stable in spite of curricular changes. However, in contrast to earlier studies (Riley, 2006; Sakui & Gaies, 1999), learner beliefs are not linked to traditional or communicative methodologies, but to personal goals, language choice, and the growing normalcy of English. We conclude that students' beliefs, though stable, are also sensitive to social change, evolving even before curriculum changes are implemented.
TESL-EJ. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A