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Teaching culture in the Japanese language classroom: A NSW case study

Author(s): Caroline Mahoney

Journal: New Voices : A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand
ISSN 1833-5233

Volume: 3;
Start page: 104;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Intercultural language learning | language teaching pedagogy | theories of culture teaching | teacher cognition | non-native-speaking teachers

This study examines, through a qualitative case study approach, how non-native-speaking (NNS) Japanese language teachers in New South Wales (NSW) teach culture and why. The study seeks to understand the pedagogy used to teach culture, teachers’ attitudes and beliefs on teaching culture and how these attitudes and beliefs have been influenced by past experiences. This study also explores how the NSW K-10 Japanese syllabus and concepts of Intercultural Language Learning (IcLL) are being implemented in teachers’ classrooms.Two non-native-speaking (NNS) Japanese language teachers from a selective secondary school in NSW were interviewed and their classes observed over three days. Analysis of interview and observation data shows that these teachers teach culture as determined by language content, integrate language and culture teaching and teach culture as observable and factual. The study shows that both teachers view culture teaching as easier than language teaching, however their views on the influence of the syllabus differ. The study explores the teachers’ past experiences and how these affect how they feel towards, and teach culture. Finally, this study looks at how the teachers’ practices reflect concepts of IcLL such as integrating language and culture, student-centred learning and how their status as NNS teachers affects their culture teaching.
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