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Durham e-Theses
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Understanding Japanese students' intercultural learning before, during, and after studying abroad: Using reflective writing as a pedagogic tool

FURUTA-FUDEUCHI, MISA (2018) Understanding Japanese students' intercultural learning before, during, and after studying abroad: Using reflective writing as a pedagogic tool. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This qualitative study aims to understand what Japanese study abroad students learn about self and others through their intercultural communication and intercultural socialising experiences, and how their intercultural learning is supported pedagogically through the use of reflective writing, conducted before, during, and after studying in the US for two months. As opposed to the dichotomous approach of categorising and understanding culture between Japanese and Others, the study draws on Holliday's (2011, 2013, 2016c) grammar of culture as an interpretative tool to explore how students develop understanding of culturally diverse selves and others.

The findings illustrated that students' intercultural learning opportunities were not necessarily confined to intercultural encounters and interactions with non-Japanese, but also appeared possible and meaningful within the group of Japanese students. Recognising and deconstructing stereotypically or ideologically constructed image of a culture and the people was critical for students in this regard. Likewise, encountering alternative realities within and across groups of Japanese peers and other students prompted them to realise and construct a stronger sense of agency. They began to express their own realities, and to explore others' realities, more openly, confidently, and flexibly.

The findings also indicated the benefits and challenges of the reflective writing tasks incorporated into the study abroad programme. Guiding students' intentional and analytical approach to reflection was important at the respective phases of the programme in enhancing students' learning from their intercultural communication experiences. In particular, (re)reading their own written entries and others' elicited students' further learning in recognising and examining alternative and multiple interpretations and realities of selves and others. The need to address students' subjective nature of learning (i.e., students' intention to learn, and approach to the task etc.) is also discussed.

The study contributes to research and practice in the endeavours of globalising educational initiatives in Japanese higher education contexts.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Jul 2018 11:46

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