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Title: Managing the evaluation of difference in foreign language education : a complex case study in a tertiary level context in Japan
Author: Houghton, Stephanie Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 2491 3056
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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In an increasingly interconnected world, people need to learn to respond constructively to cultural difference. Since foreign language learners are regularly presented with cultural difference as a matter of course, foreign language education provides an ideal space within which to explore issues that arise. How should foreign language educators manage the evaluation of difference in foreign language education? I am not aware of any research in this area. Three teaching approaches were identified. Firstly, a non- judgmental stance can be adopted with a view to empathising with others intellectually, which requires the development of certain cognitive and communication skills. Secondly, a judgmental stance can be adopted with a view to raising unconscious values to the conscious level in order to control them and develop critical cultural awareness. Thirdly, in addition to the second approach, teachers can also attempt to change learner values in support of human rights and the development of democratic society. A complex case study based on action research was conducted to examine these teaching approaches in intercultural language education in a tertiary education context in Japan. Qualitative data were gathered over a nine-month period from thirty-six student participants and me as teacher-researcher. Data gathered from the student participants indicate that (1) whilst empathy can develop communication skills and self-awareness, some students may also feel insecure about being influenced by others (2) whilst adopting a judgmental stance may empower students to take responsibility for their choices, many Japanese students may reject the process stating cultural preferences for preserving harmony, and (3) student value and concept change is a likely product of encounters with cultural difference regardless of teaching approach. This thesis will present relevant data in context and present a model that integrates all three teaching approaches. Research is called for in relation to value and concept shift in foreign language education that also considers cultural preferences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available