Cultivating a Social Justice Pedagogy in an Introductory Japanese Language Course Through Pronunciation Instruction


Foreign language programs in the US are increasingly urged to cultivate a social justice pedagogy in order to address social issues surrounding language use including gender, race, social class, and identity. One of the social issues in language learning and teaching is the ideology of native-speakerism. This ideology often leads to negative attitudes towards those who speak a language with a foreign accent, which perpetuates discrimination against such speakers. This study sought to examine whether pronunciation instruction (PI) in a foreign language, specifically Japanese, could transform the learners’ attitudes toward those who speak their L1/LX with foreign accents. The teacher-researcher prepared and provided a series of Japanese pronunciation lessons as part of an elementary-level Japanese language course and collected data through pre- and post-lesson surveys and comments. The surveys included questions regarding students’ attitudes towards their own accents and speakers with foreign accents. The data were analyzed quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The results showed that following PI, students’ awareness of the difficulty of pronunciation acquisition increased, resulting in enhanced tolerance and empathy towards speakers with accents. These preliminary results indicate that PI has the potential to positively transform students’ attitudes towards foreign accents, dismantling the ideology of native-speakerism. This study explores an approach to foster social justice in foreign language instruction through teaching pronunciation of the target language and provides recommendations for implementation in foreign language programs.

Author Information
Ryuichi Suzuki, Emory University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: PCE2023
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

This paper is part of the PCE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Suzuki R. (2023) Cultivating a Social Justice Pedagogy in an Introductory Japanese Language Course Through Pronunciation Instruction ISSN: 2758-0962 The Paris Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon