Houghton, Stephanie (2008) Managing the evaluation of difference in foreign language education : a complex case study in a tertiary level context in Japan. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
In an increasingly interconnected world, people need to learn to respond constructively to cultural difference. Since foreign language learners are regularly presented with cultural differences 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-judgemental stance can be adopted with a view to empathising with others intellectually, which requires the development of certain cognitive and communication skills. Secondly a judgemental 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 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 judgemental 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.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||26 Apr 2012 12:16|