Does National Identity Influence Learner Attitudes Towards English Education?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Zelinda SHERLOCK, Kyushu Sangyo University, Japan
The patriotism-nationalism distinction has been established as an etic aspect of national attitudes among certain nations. In order to understand how individual students will acquire a foreign language, one has to appreciate the emic characteristics that form national identity to be able to discuss the effects of these attitudes on English education.  In Japan, one may curiously ask the question, why is it that Japan ranks as one of the lowest in TOEIC tests in comparison to other less developed countries; where students appear to have less adequate access to education, than Japanese students?  Why is it that despite the six-year compulsory English education, as required by the Ministry of Education, Japanese students still fair amongst the lowest in TOEIC tests? In order to understand the influence of the Japanese national identity on English learning, one must appreciate the history of the introduction of the West and subsequently the English language in Japan. This would undoubtedly be the case for all countries where English was introduced and the general perception of the English language by citizens in those countries; for instance whether it is considered a hindrance or a tool for social or economic development. It has been asserted that attitude to the target language is understood as one of the essential elements influencing the course of one’s language learning. If this the case how does Japan’s history and its national identity, effect English education? This presentation intends to introduce ideas in an area, which lacks substantial studies, by suggesting a future research topic regarding the influence of national identity on English language education in the homogenous society of Japan and the correlation between attitudes and grades obtained by Japanese students.