A Comparison of High School English Textbooks in Japan, Korea, and China: Do the Differences Significantly Affect the Outcomes?


English education in Japan, Korea, and China may display certain similarities, since they are all fundamentally monolingual societies, where citizens may not have much need for English on a day-to-day basis. They are all now keen to take advantage of the opportunities of globalization and recognize the importance of English in this context. In all three countries, the English education system has recently moved towards more communicative approaches, with Korea perhaps originally leading the way in this (Yuasa, 2010). Japan still tends to rank lower on international measures for its citizens’ English skills than China or Korea (So, 2019), despite promoting English language classes in primary schools since 2011. In China and Korea, compulsory English lessons begin in the 3rd grade of primary school, but not until fifth grade in Japan (as a fully-assessed academic subject, although “English Activities” classes begin in third grade since 2020). Textbooks and other learning materials play a significant role in school education, and their capacity to stimulate and motivate learners is especially crucial at the high school stage when students are reluctant to risk losing face in potentially embarrassing communication activities. So, if other conditions are similar, it seems possible that these materials may differ in some important way(s). This is the focus of our study, comparing typical high school textbooks from the three countries from the aspects of volume of English words used and sentences per book and per chapter, and the amount of visual illustration of all kinds relative to written text.

Author Information
Anne C. Ihata, Musashino University, Japan
Takaaki Ihata, Nihon University, Japan
Mou Anyi, Musashino University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2023
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

This paper is part of the ACE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Ihata A., Ihata T., & Anyi M. (2024) A Comparison of High School English Textbooks in Japan, Korea, and China: Do the Differences Significantly Affect the Outcomes? ISSN: 2186-5892 The Asian Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-5892.2024.178
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2186-5892.2024.178

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon