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Title: Explorations in the feasibility of introducing phonological awareness and early reading instruction into Japanese elementary school English education
Author: Ikeda, Chika
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis is an exploratory study that examines the potentiality of teaching phonological awareness, which is a precursor to early reading development in English, in conjunction with letter and simple word reading instruction in Japanese elementary school English education. It is an attempt to answer a question of how letters could be introduced into it without placing too much burden on children. Comprehensive literature review argues that learning to read English requires multiple levels of phonological awareness which Japanese children seem unlikely to develop fully in their L1 acquisition, and that a more enhanced outcome of instruction would be achieved if phonological awareness is taught together with letters and applied for early reading. Two main tools are adopted in this study. The questionnaire survey for 398 elementary school teachers elucidates not only the current elementary school practices but also their beliefs and principles in terms of letter and early reading instruction, both of which are essential for understanding the field but very few studies have investigated: Many teachers present children with letters in English classes but the focused instruction of letters or early reading tends to be avoided considering possible demand for children or due to the teachers’ lack of knowledge and skills for teaching them. Furthermore, from the discussion of the both qualitative observation and qualitative assessment data obtained through the intervention in a Japanese elementary school, the following is revealed: (1) The children show L1-specific characteristics in phonological processing of English such as adding a vowel after a consonant or segmenting after a consonant-vowel combination. (2) The difficulty of phonological awareness tasks for them was slightly different from that for English-speaking counterparts. (3) The children could develop the higher-level phonological awareness skills such as phoneme deletion and substitution through the instruction and have favourable attitude toward it. Thus, this study demonstrated the teachability of phonological awareness and its learnability for Japanese children as well as its importance in English reading acquisition. Finally, some implications not only for classroom practices but also for teacher training are drawn suggesting the necessity of future introduction of it with letters and early reading into Japanese elementary school English classrooms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB1501 Primary Education ; PE English