The purpose of this study is to examine how effectively Japanese learners of English (JLEs), as ELF users, engaged in a joint online course via Zoom with Taiwanese learners of English (TLEs) by using interview data from the former. This joint EMI course lasting for 15 weeks in the latter half of the academic year 2020 aimed to foster mutual cultural understanding in terms of food and business. In this course, 10 JLEs and 50 TLEs participated. In order to find out how the JLEs interacted with the TLEs, semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom in Japanese with all the JLEs, using their weekly reflection papers on each class. Each interview lasting about 30 minutes or more contained the following three main questions: 1) “How did you feel about the course?”, 2) "How did you feel about using English with the Asian students?", and 3) “How do you want to continue studying English based on your experience with this course?” All the interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded for this analysis. The results indicated that although the JLEs were categorized into those who had studied abroad for about one year in English-speaking countries, those who did a short homestay in English-speaking countries, and those who had had no overseas experience, most of them seemed to gain some understanding of what it is like to communicate among ELF users and showed a willingness to continue studying English as ELF users.
Akiko Watanabe, Ritsumeikan University, Japan