Examining the Manifest Function and the Latent Function of Japanese Class: Focused on a Example of Public Middle Schools in Osaka

Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Yingfeng PAN , Career Development Division, Nara Women's University, Nara, China
This presentation examines, from the viewpoint of the manifest function and the latent function, extensive adaptive function that Japanese classes could potentially play. To better understand this issue, the author conducted an investigation at public middle schools in the Kansai area in Japan from 2009 to 2012. The investigation combined participant observation, semi-structured interviewing, and description-type questionnaires. M-GTA technique was used to analyze the field research data.

        Results obtained from data collected via participant observation and interviews suggest the follows. Besides functioning as a supplementary lesson for Japanese language and other subjects, the Japanese class also provides a place for “feeling of security” as well as “maintenance of mother tongue and native culture”. We can say this is the manifest function of Japanese Class. Apart from such conventional role, Japanese class has demonstrated a crucial role in facilitating intercultural understanding and cultural exchange. Newcomer students, sharing the mutual identity of a minority in class, were observed helping one another to cope with problems and thus create a more comfortable learning environment in school. Then, Japanese class also offers a career role model which could potentially affect newcomers' career choice in the future. And this is the latent function of Japanese Class that we cleared.

       In summary, the Japanese class offers a place for interaction with Japanese students via classroom activities; an opportunity to re-identify one’s own root; a place to obtain sense of self-realization and recognition; as well as a channel for resource procurement. Hence, it is not only the manifest function but also the latent function of the Japanese class has been observed in this study.