Learner strategy instruction and student uptake of strategies in a Japanese as a foreign language context

Anderson, Susan Elizabeth (2012) Learner strategy instruction and student uptake of strategies in a Japanese as a foreign language context. Professional Doctorate thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


The Japanese language is recognised as being more difficult than European languages, needing three times more tuition time to reach comparable levels of proficiency. Encouraging Japanese as a Foreign Language (JFL) students to become aware of, and effectively use, learner strategies is one way to assist them become more controlled, effective learners leading to enhanced language learning.

This thesis investigates the development and implementation of a JFL curriculum implemented in a university course for students learning JFL. The curriculum was developed specifically to assist beginner university students with the development of learner strategies appropriate for a JFL reading context. The theoretical underpinning of the study was informed by Educational Criticism (Eisner, 1998), which aims to describe, interpret and evaluate the processes of interaction between the teacher, the learner and the curriculum and the students' learning processes in a tertiary JFL classroom. The study investigated the effect on student learning processes of a JFL reading program that incorporated explicit learner strategy instruction and identified factors that enhanced or impeded the development of learner strategy knowledge.

The participants in the study were 29 students enrolled in the course, 10 of whom volunteered to undertake additional tasks, and the two teachers who implemented the curriculum. Data collection involved a number of different strategies to observe the students' participation in the classroom and learning experiences. Learning processes were investigated through TOL protocols, classroom observations, course evaluations, interviews, and learner strategy use measurement instruments (SILL, SILK and SORS) to document student uptake of learner strategies. The design of the study and its applied focus recognised my expertise as a JFL teacher, curriculum writer and researcher, an approach that aligns with the purpose of a Professional Doctorate. Four general thematics, or principles, were identified in this study: „h Explicit learner strategy instruction provides the context for students to develop awareness of learner strategies and take control of their learning; „h Collaborative learning and interaction with teachers offers students the opportunity for shared knowledge construction; „h Reflection offers teachers and students the opportunity to reflect on their own learning style and strategy knowledge, and raises awareness of other available strategies; and „h Diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds have an impact on curriculum implementation and student uptake of learner strategies.

The study¡¦s methodological contribution is that it is one of the first in Australia to use Educational Criticism (Eisner, 1998) as a research methodology. The findings contribute to theoretical knowledge in the fields of Applied Linguistics, Second Language Teaching and Learning, Second Language Acquisition and JFL Teaching and Learning by offering new knowledge on the importance of learner strategies in the beginner JFL classroom, the potential of explicit strategy instruction, the value of reflection for both teachers and students, and the important role of the teacher in the process of curriculum implementation. The general principles identified and the findings of this in-depth study of a JFL classroom can be drawn upon to inform other teaching practice situations, and invite practitioners from not just Japanese, but from other language areas and other disciplines, to examine and improve their own practices, and suggest further research questions to pursue this line of enquiry.

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ID Code: 63676
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Supervisor: Danby, Susan J.
Keywords: Japanese as a foreign language (JFL), educational criticism, learner strategies, explicit instruction, curriculum implementation, reflection, collaborative learning
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 23 Oct 2013 22:30
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:48

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