Japanese-Language Education around the Globe - Vol.16 Summaries

The academic papers section

Personality Traits of a Japanese Language Teacher Training Course Students and their Influential Factors: Individual Experience, Self- Evaluation, and Professional Consciousness

(Department of Education, Graduate School of Letters, Doshisha university)

This study aims to investigate how the students of a Japanese language teacher training course rate their own personality and to examine the social and psychological factors that may have influenced them, in order to consider how educators should support these students in developing their competence as Japanese language teachers. In Japanese language teaching, “humanity” has often been regarded as important. However, there are very few empirical studies on the personalities. It has been shown that a person's personality is related to a person's career. The following questionnaire was employed to collect data. The first part of this quest adopted the SD methodology consisting of 17 adjective pairs to measure the personalities of the students. Furthermore, items concerning their English/ foreign language proficiency, their experience living abroad, their ideal teacher, their childhood and school life, and their basic attitude were prepared along with items evaluating their ability in terms of teaching Japanese and their aptitude and aspirations to become a teacher. The participants were 223 students attending a teacher training course. The results of the statistical analyses on the collated data indicated that these students recognize that they are well motivated and responsible, fair, earnest, kind, but not too particularly cheerful. Moreover, it was revealed that several factors had influenced the formation of their personalities, for instance, learning a foreign language, any intercultural experiences, any leadership experiences, affirmation of their desire to study and attend school, high evaluations of their basic attitude and abilities, and a strong desire to become a Japanese language teacher. The results suggested that if these training programs are to have more opportunities to offer SLA theory and intercultural training, it might be possible to help these students improve their competence. In conclusion, I should note that thee educators must support students to increase their personal self-awareness.

Measurement of Reading Comprehension of Taiwanese Childrenin Japan in the Case of Chinese and Japanese Languages: A Comparative Analysis of Chinese and Japanese Native Speakers' Reading Comprehension

LEE Mei-Chin (Research fellow, Ochanomizu University)

When reading sentences, we draw deductions by repeatedly reading parts such as conjunctive words in the sentences and directions. This paper targets 12 learners in Japan who are Taiwanese native speakers learning Japanese as the second language and examines their understanding of sentences and the parts in which they may have difficulties reading (depending on the ages at which Japanese learning must begin, the learners are divided into three groups: less than 7 years, 7–10 years, and more than 11 years old.).

Firstly, the test of the reading comprehension of Chinese and Japanese was made. The reading comprehension questions of each language were divided into questions of “the reason,” “the connection,” “the explanation,” “the whole,” and “the directions.” The degree of sentence comprehension was compared with that of the native speakers of Chinese and Japanese by using each reading comprehension test of Chinese and Japanese.

The result revealed that those who began learning Japanese at a higher age found it easier to maintain their reading comprehension of Chinese.

In the case of Chinese reading comprehension, the questions of “connection,” “whole,” and “direction” are the most difficult while the questions of “connection” and “direction” are the most difficult in Japanese reading comprehension. Further, there is a positive correlation between the reading comprehension of Chinese and Japanese languages.

In the case of Japanese comprehension, since the number of kanji words is high, the knowledge of learners' mother tongue such as Chinese may influence the reading comprehension. Thus, elder learners who have learnt Chinese vocabulary might have an advantage in comprehending the Japanese language.

It was suggested that the degree of learning of Taiwanese children in Japan was low in comparison with that of the native speakers of the same grade in case of “the con-junction” and “the demonstrative,” where remarkable differences were observed between the two languages.

A Study of Japanese Compound Verbs Focusing on “tori-V2” Is the Core Schema Valid as a Pedagogical Device ?

MATSUDA Fumiko (Lecturer, Okayama University)
SHIRAISHI Tomoyo (Adjunct Instructor, Center for International Research and Education, Chiba University)

The Japanese compound verb has two significant functions—as a vocabulary component and as a grammatical component; therefore, some researchers have claimed that it is rather difficult for non-native speakers to understand the Japanese compound verbs properly. This paper aims at a practical proposal to help Japanese learners understand the usage of Japanese compound verbs “tori-V2” by using a core theory.

The Japanese compound verb “tori-V2”consists of a polysemous verb “toru” as its previous verb; however, the meaning of “toru ” varies according to the V2. For ex-ample, the original meaning of “toru” is maintained in the construction “saifu wo tori-dasu,” while it changes slightly in “sensei wo tori-kakomu.

”This paper hypothesizes that Japanese native speakers understand “tori-V2” on the basis of a core schema of “toru;” this hypothesis was tested through a research. In this research, we asked the participants to describe the difference between a single verb such as “kakomu” and a compound verb (tori-V2) such as “tori-kakomu” in a sentence. The answers provided by the Japanese participants indicate that their under-standing of “tori-V2” reflects the core schema of “toru.” The answers of the non-Japanese participants indicate that they understand the prototypical meaning of “tori-V2” but not through its core schema.

Based on the result of this research, we suggest that non-native speakers should share a core schema of “tour” with native speakers to understand the meaning of “tori-V2.” However, non-native speakers would take a long time to acquire a core schema because it can be developed only through the accumulation of a wide range of experiences with regard to the word usage. Therefore, in the case of non-native speakers who usually have to learn Japanese within a limited time, some specific support tools are necessary. This paper proposes a practical way to support non-native speakers in developing the core schema of “toru” and understanding the meaning of “tori-V2.”

Interactive Activities between Students in an Intermediate Japanese Writing Class: A Discussion on the Negative Factors Due tothe Differences in the Language Proficiency between Students in Peer Response

HARATA Michiyo (Graduate School, Ochanomizu University)

In recent times, in Japanese writing education, peer response has been given greater attention than teacher-centered writing correction. Peer response implies the improvement of manuscripts by exchanging them among students and can be thought of as a highly interactive activity. I would like to raise the following question: Are the differences among students with regard to different language proficiencies a negative factor in such collaborative writing activities? The purpose in this paper is to see whether peer response is held as equal and interactive activities between students with different Japanese proficiency. I present two studies.

  1. 1. Do different levels of proficiency in Japanese influence the way in which the role of a reader or writer is carried out?
  2. 2. Does the manner in which the roles are carried out change due to peer responses?

In Study 1, by analyzing speech functions and conversational examples, it was found that students first performed the roles of a reader or a writer regardless of the proficiency level in Japanese. The former gave advice, and the latter accepted it. This implies a one-way relationship. However, they tried to precede their own discussions and built a social relationship. Readers with lower Japanese proficiency often repeated their opinion to the writers. I observed that the writers were gradually influenced by readers' suggestions.

In Study 2, I focused on the changes in students' relationships through peer responses. The speech functions changed from “give and accept advice” to “opinion,” “counter-argument,” “explain,” and “supplement.” This result was shown in conversational examples as well. The students attempted to tackle the problems using the same stance. Their activities changed from one way to reciprocal. The process of dialogue based on equal and interactive relationships was maintained even in the case of readers with lower proficiency and writers with higher proficiency.

Trial of Communicative Language Activities Description Using Can-do-statements Questionnaire: Focus on the Examinees of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test

SHIMADA Megumi (Associate Professor, Tokyo Gakugei University)
SAEGUSA Reiko (Professor, Hitotsubashi University)
NOGUCHI Hiroyuki (Professor, Nagoya University)

This study aims to determine the performance of the examinees of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in real-life situations. This study uses a self-assessed “Can-do-statements” questionnaire (Cds). We firststudied the results of the Cds in relation to the results of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test; later, we studied the results of the Cds and the Japanese Placement Test. As a result, we found that the results of the Cds coincided with the results of the Japanese Proficiency Test. Next, we analyzed each Cds item in isolation. Four items with a weak relation with the results of the Japanese Placement Test were found. The items are classified into (1) items depending on ability in or knowledge of something other than Japanese, (2) items which, depending on the test-takers, are open to various inter-pretations, and (3) items that depend on the examinees' experience. Lastly, we outline the tasks that the examinees of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test can perform, swell as patterns of the typical Japanese language ability of the examinees who passed levels 1 and 2 of the test.

Potential Possibility through “Q&A” Session in a Japanese Language Oral Presentation Class

KIM Hyogyung (Part-time Lecturer, Office of International Cooperation and Exchange School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo)

The primary focus was on increasing the learners' critical thinking capability- In many Japanese language oral presentation classes for increasing academic skill, the teachers are placing more importance on formality of oral presentations rather than actual quality or content. However, if the teacher approaches academic skill as a tool to increase the learners' critical thinking capability, the most important requirement of the learners is not the formality of language but the reflection of language that the learners want to deliver through the specific language.

In this study, I implemented a “Q&A session” in a Japanese language oral presentation class. Throughout this session, the learners discussed the subject used by a presenter to make a presentation. This study aims to reveal how the Q&A session contributes toward fostering the learners' critical thinking capability. In order to realize this, I analyzed each student's interaction in the Q&A session.

After the analysis, as I indicated above, I was able to finalize the analysis with the following two major points:

  1. 1. The learners mainly discussed the subject with regard to the following points—the ground / premise of the presentation, the definition / relations of (among) the terms used in the presentation, and the feasibility of the conclusion of the presentation.
  2. 2. The learners asked the presenter questions by approaching the subject matter in many different ways. Through these different questions, which represent instant feedback, the presenter had a chance to reassess his or her presentation and reflect how the learners understood his presentation through this feedback. Finally, I conclude my analysis as follows:
  1. 1. In the Japanese language oral presentation classes, the Q&A session may contribute toward fostering a learner's critical thinking capability with an oral presentation.
  2. 2. Cognitive reflection occurs through interaction between the presenter and learners in the Q&A session.

What Modes of Expression Does a Person in Charge Use to Forbid Somebody from Committing a Prohibited Act? : A Case Study of the Language Used by Doctors and Curators

SEI Rumi (Professor, Tokohagakuen University)

This study aims to investigate the actual Japanese words used when someone in charge forbids a person from committing a prohibited act and analyze the reasons for such expressions. In this study, I focused on the expressions employed by doctors when prohibiting patients from taking disadvantageous actions, and those employed by curators when prohibiting people from taking photographs in museums.

Scenes involving the prohibition of disallowed actions by doctors and curators were analyzed and collated from Japanese language textbooks and compared with the results of surveys held in Shizuoka Prefecture.

The following surveys were conducted: 1) A comparative survey concerning the expressions of prohibition by 92 doctors in real life situations and 2) A comparative survey concerning the expressions of prohibition by 150 museum curators in real-life situations. The following results of these surveys clearly indicate the major characteristics of the expressions of prohibition:

  1. 1. The direct way of speaking using “naidekudasai” is not used by both doctors and curators.
  2. 2. Doctors tend to use expressions of suggestion or encouragement with patients.
  3. 3. Doctors use direct expressions of prohibition only when their patients are receiving surgical treatment.
  4. 4. Curators use expressions of apology whenever they warn visitors against taking photos.
  5. 5. Curators tend to avoid the less polite ways of warning. More than 48% of the curators accompanied the reason with an apology.
  6. 6. 62% of the curators do not use any verbs when warning. Others use verbs that imply an indirect warning.

These results indicate that the Japanese do not tend to threaten their listeners in order to avoid embarrassing them, even if the person in charge, such as doctors or curators, have a right to prohibit the listeners. The above results suggest that the actual modes of expressions of prohibition.

A Study of the Japanese Causal Connectives dakara

LIU Yi-Ling (Assistant Professor, Department of Japanese Language and Culture, Soochow University)

This paper aims to explore the meaning and use of the Japanese connective dakara. This paper argues that the meaning of dakara can be described by understanding the concept of causal knowledge in speakers. It is pointed out that when dakara is used, there exists causal knowledge [P→Q] between the propositions. Based on the fact that dakara can coexist with adversative connectives, it is indicated that dakara is employed when the speaker assumes that the hearer may not share the same causal knowledge with him / her.

A Semantic and Structural Analysis of te-no Noun Phrases in Japanese

MOGI Toshinobu (Assistant Professor, Department of Language Education (Japanese), Naruto University of Education)
MORI Atsushi (Research Associate, Department of Japanese Language & Literature, Faculty of Literature, Jissen Women's University)

This paper describes noun phrases that include a te-clause (called “te-no noun phrases”) from the following three viewpoints: (1) characteristics of the modified noun, (2) meaning and usage of the te-clause, and (3) meaning of the te-no noun phrases. First, the head nouns in these noun phrases can be classified into “predicative nouns” and “non-predicative nouns,” based on morphological criteria. Predicative noun snot only have a structure parallel to verb phrases but also have structural restrictions on the occurrence of the te-clause with in the noun phrase. On the other hand, non-predicative nouns do not show such a parallelism; they have a relation of modification between the te-clause and the head noun, similar to the non-case relational relative clause in Teramura's (1977) sense. This paper also finds that a schema of temporal development can be extracted from these noun phrases, which can be reduced to a general meaning of te-clauses.

The practical / current-status reports section

Adaptation of the CEF to Japanese Language Education: An Analysis of the Japanese Language Guidelines for Upper Secondary Schools in Berlin, Germany

MATSUO Kaoru (Department of Modern Japanese Studies, Duisburg-Essen University)
HAMADA Akemi (Department of Second Language Research, Ruhr-University Bochum)

The Council of Europe recently developed the Common European Framework (CEF) of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, and Assessment and the European Language Portfolio (ELP) in order to promote language teaching and learning by setting clear and attainable standards at different levels of language education. The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the federal states in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK) published the “Educational Standards” in 2003 and 2004 for teaching the first foreign language in secondary schools. These “Educational Standards” clearly state and adopt the competence model from the CEF.

The State of Berlin then revised the teaching guidelines for all foreign languages for upper secondary education based on the “Educational Standard” and consequently on the competence model of the CEF in the academic year 2003–04. The revised guidelines for Japanese turned out to be the first implementation of the CEF in the field of Japanese education in Germany.

This paper first summarizes the competence model introduced in the “Educational Standard” for foreign languages and points out that the educational system in Germany is facing a “paradigm shift.” We then analyze the Japanese guidelines for Berlin as an example of examining the problems in applying the competence model of the CEF to Japanese language education at the secondary school level, when it was developed mainly for the European languages. Finally, we refer to the possible impact of the revised version of the guidelines for Japanese on the actual lessons, teachers, and over all Japanese language education in Germany. We also argue that adopting the CEF implies a commitment to efficiency-oriented rationalism in the field of foreign language teaching and a discussion on the importance of humanistic education, which may coexist with rationalism, while suggesting new roles for language teachers.

An Outline of the Secondary School Japanese Language Teacher Training Program and a Report of Its Follow-up Survey: The Current Situation of Japanese Language Course Offerings in Thai Upper Secondary Education

NOHATA Rika (Language Education Specialist, The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai)
Wipa Nagmchantakorn (Lecturer, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce)

In recent years, the spread of Japanese language education in secondary education in Thailand has been remarkable. The number of Japanese language learners and secondary schools where Japanese is offered as a subject has increased over the past 10 years.

This trend is a result of the fact that Japanese language teachers have been trained under a Japanese-language teacher training program operated under the joint auspices of the Japan Foundation, Japan Cultural Center, and Education Ministry in Thailand.

This report summarizes this program and the general framework of the secondary teacher training program; further, it describes the current situation of Japanese language classrooms and classroom teachers in upper secondary educational institutions on the basis of the follow-up survey of those who have completed the program.

Participants of the teacher training program have begun a Japanese language course in many schools, and this has contributed to the spread of local Japanese language education. Such a circumstantial change in secondary level Japanese language education has influenced higher educational institutions as well.

All the participants of the teacher training program are teachers in secondary schools, and almost all of them begin learning Japanese from the beginners's level. They gain confidence as teachers by continuing to learn Japanese through their participation in the Visit Japan Program, the Friday or Saturday Course offered in regional areas, and the Correspondence course. These programs are arranged in the framework of the teacher training scheme and support classroom teachers step by step; further, this approach has been highly evaluated by the participants.

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