A Sociocultural Approach and Globalisation-related Topics in Teaching English in Japan

Liang Morita

Abstract


In general the level ofproficiency of English in Japan is not very high. The causes may be manifoldand complex but one of them is certainly the grammar-translation method used inteaching English. In this method, most of class time is spent on word-by-wordtranslation of English texts into Japanese. This paper presents a preliminaryand exploratory study of a sociocultural approach and globalisation-relatedtopics which could complement the grammar-translation method. It also providesa descriptive account of the lessons. The sociocultural approach is mostlybased on social constructivism, to which Lev Vygotsky contributedsignificantly. The learning of content, in this case about globalisation, aswell as language comes under content and language integrated learning (CLIL).The study was conducted in six English communication classes at NagoyaUniversity, a top national university. A total of 109 undergraduatesparticipated. The results indicate that the sociocultural approach motivatesthe students to learn English and seek for higher communicative skills and theyperceive globalisation-related topics as relevant to the ability to function inintercultural contexts.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijelt.v2n1p1

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International Journal of English Language Teaching ISSN 2329-7913 (Print) ISSN 2329-7921 (Online)

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