Enhancing Diversity in the Mono-lingual, Mono-cultural Foreign Language Classroom: A Case Study in Japan

By Stephanie Houghton.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Diversity is largely imported into the Japanese foreign language classroom not only at the high school level (McConnell, 2000) but also at the university level. When the only foreigner in the class is the teacher, and the students all share the same native-language and cultural background, how can their experience of diversity be enhanced through foreign language education? This paper will present a teaching approach and case study data to illustrate ways in which this objective can be achieved, and student reactions to it. In particular, value differences between students were systematically uncovered using value taxonomies (Schwartz, 1995 and Hofstede, 1980), and the identification of value difference often generated student change. Various kinds of change will be examined and questions will be raised as to how foreign language teachers should guide student reactions to difference. More generally, links will be drawn with the development of intercultural communicative competence and citizenship education.

Keywords: Diversity, Values, Foreign Language Education, Intercultural Communicative Competence, Citizenship Education

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.93-100. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 644.873KB).

Dr. Stephanie Houghton

Associate Professor, Center for Fundamental Education, The University of Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan

Stephanie Houghton is an Associate Professor in the Center for Fundamental Education at the University of Kitakyushu in southern Japan. Having taught English as a Foreign Language in both Japan and the Czech Republic since 1993, she graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Durham University in northern England in June 2008. She was also an intern for two months in the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue at UNESCO in Paris in spring 2004. Her main research interest lies in the development of intercultural communicative competence through English language education. She also takes an interest in minority issues in Japan, with particular regard to employment discrimination based on native-speaker status.


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