Drawing upon No-Level Brick (NoLBrick) Japanese Language Education (JLE) project at an Italian university, this study explores how a group of undergraduate students interested in JLE develops their JLE Communities of Practice (Wenger 1998; CoP) and what effect the CoP comes to have on their view of JLE. CoP which views learning as participation in social practice guides this study. NoLBrick project thematises ‘dialoguing and thinking’ by using Japanese instead of memorising linguistic information as it assumes that our language develops in sustained attempts to make ourselves understood (Mariotti forthcoming). In NoLBrick project, 12 ‘student-facilitators’ 1) supported students in a 15-weeks dialogic Japanese language course and 2) conducted action research about the course. For their research, the student-facilitators regularly reflected on students’ learning and their facilitation during pre- and post-meetings and online discussions using Japanese. While the studies informed by CoP has investigated second/foreign language learning in varied contexts (e.g. Morita 2012), little study has explored the above-mentioned way of undergraduate student language learning. This case study employed thematic analysis (Nowell et al. 2017) to examine two focal student-facilitators’ 15 weekly journals, final reports and online discussions. The result informs that focusing less on correctness but more on contents throughout the project turned their communication into active and respectful dialogues, which turned the group of students into the JLE CoP. The CoP encouraged them to view JLE as not an object to learn but a resource to think and communicate within social practice e.g. a conference presentation after the course.
Takuya Kojima, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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