English as a Co-Language: Perspectives by the Foreign Language Learner


Abstract This research examines the language learning attitudes of English at three universities in one Japanese prefecture. All three universities have different requirements for the amount of English they need to learn to earn an undergraduate degree. The purpose was to investigate whether attitudes about English might have changed today compared to a decade and a half ago, when then Prime Minister, Keizo Obuchi was objurgated for proposing that English be a second official language in Japan. Consequently, it compares the cross-disciplinary attitudes of 201 students and elicited questions about the role of English in Japan including whether or not English should become an official language. Based on percentage positive response ratings, the results showed that students believe English education would increase their chances of finding a good job. Students also favor making English compulsory in Japan. However, many of the respondents were dissatisfied with their level of English proficiency despite a desire to learn the language. Paradoxically, students generally disfavor changes to the foreign language curriculum and the vast majority oppose adopting English as a co-language in Japan. This reluctance to change, which is omnipresent at the federal level, might explain why Japan consistently ranks near the bottom in TOEFL iBT scores.

Author Information
Bryan Hahn, Akita International University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2016
Stream: Educational Policy, Leadership, Management and Administration

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon