Enhancing Diversity in the Mono-lingual, Mono-cultural Foreign Language Classroom: A Case Study in Japan

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Diversity is largely imported into the Japanese foreign language classroom not only at the high school level (McConnell, 2000) but also at the university level. When the only foreigner in the class is the teacher, and the students all share the same native-language and cultural background, how can their experience of diversity be enhanced through foreign language education? This paper will present a teaching approach and case study data to illustrate ways in which this objective can be achieved, and student reactions to it. In particular, value differences between students were systematically uncovered using value taxonomies (Schwartz, 1995 and Hofstede, 1980), and the identification of value difference often generated student change. Various kinds of change will be examined and questions will be raised as to how foreign language teachers should guide student reactions to difference. More generally, links will be drawn with the development of intercultural communicative competence and citizenship education.


Keywords: Diversity, Values, Foreign Language Education Intercultural Communicative Competence, Citizenship Education
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Enhancing Diversity in the Mono-lingual, Mono-cultural Foreign Language Classroom


Dr. Stephanie Houghton

Associate Professor, Center for Fundamental Education, The University of Kitakyushu
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan

I have taught English as a Foreign Language in Japan at both high school and university level in Japan over the last 14 years. I am also a PhD candidate at the University of Durham, U.K. specialising in intercultural language education. I was an intern for 2 months in the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue at UNESCO in Paris. I also take an interest in minority issues in Japan with particular regard to discrimination in employment.

Ref: D08P0032