What are the minimal Japanese language competencies for our team teachers working in Japanese Elementary schools? Through this question I hope to make explicit and test methods of data collection, diagnostic testing, and needs analysis; and determine if these methods transfer to another language. This data will be used as a basis for collecting authentic materials to prepare a Japanese for Specific Purposes language course. Setting We have 12 British Council teachers team teaching in 24 Japanese junior high schools and one elementary school This is a completely Japanese environment (e.g. dress, code of conduct, meetings are all done in Japanese).
Primarily our teachers rely on our team teachers to translate important information such as scheduling, written messages, problems with the photocopier, dealing with disruptive students, etc. In the future we would like to expand into Tokyo elementary schools, however, the board of education has expressed reservations about our Japanese ability and that our British Council teachers need to be linguistically self reliant in the schools Objective.
I would like to look at creating a series of Japanese language competencies similar to the CEF guidelines for our British Council teachers teaching in elementary schools such as: “I can read instructions on a photocopier” or “I can interact in a simple way dealing with a change of school schedule”. By collecting feedback, writing competency guidelines and finally creating a diagnostic test, I hope to examine the methods of data collection and analysis that I have read about studying for this module.
I would like to compare my journey from data collection to course objectives to similar cases of TESOL course design such as Johan Uvin when he designed workplace ESOL (Graves ed. , 1996). Furthermore I believe that by using native English speakers as the students, I can examine more closely what our needs are (without interference from the native language). Then I can compare it to data collection methods and needs analyses that we use for our TESOL students. I am considering this as a sub-aim (the differences and similarities of data collection from L1 to L2 informants).
To determine the competencies I must resolve these questions: 1. What situations our teachers find themselves in an Elementary school context where written or spoken Japanese is needed or used? 2. What expectations the Japanese team teachers or schools have in regards to what their needs are regarding communication with our staff? 3. What expectations our teachers have and what they would like to know how to say, write or read? Data collection I propose three ways for data collection, which would be done concurrently 1.
Diaries: British Council teachers in both elementary schools and JHS will note down situations and times when they needed Japanese or would have liked to know how to say something in Japanese. (Long, 2005) 2. Interviews with our team teachers and elementary teachers on what they would expect our teachers to be able to do or say. These interviews/ questionnaires might have to be done in Japanese. (Anderson, 1998) 3. Questionnaire or survey of what BC teachers would like to learn in a course (Hinkel, 2005) I believe that using three ways of data collection will bring me a fuller and more varied sample of information.
This will also give me more access to the differing stakeholders. Research Plan 1. I propose first to identify current and leading ideas of needs analysis and data collection. 2. Then I will test and verify these methods using both native speakers and Japanese team teachers to create the diaries and questionairres. 3. From this data collection, I will write minimum guidelines for Japanese linguistic competency in Elementary schools. 4. With this, I will write and send out a diagnostic test based on these results. 5.
Finally, I will collect authentic materials to use in a Japanese language course. Issues I realise that developing a Japanese language course falls outside of the TESOL area. However, I believe integration in the country or work atmosphere is an overlooked area of our work. I would also say that it falls under the area of Educational Management in TESOL and therefore I believe it is a valid area of study. Furthermore, data collection and analysis methods that I have covered in my reading for this module should be universal and apply to any language.
I believe that by using native speakers for some of the actual needs analysis allows me to communicate with the students (in this case the BC teachers) in a way that can test or validate certain presumptions of language learning and needs analysis. Background Reading Anderson, G. and Arsenault, N. 1998. Fundamentals of Educational Research. London: Routledge Farmer. Graves, K. (Ed. ) 1996. Teachers as Course Developers. Cambridge: CUP. Hutchinson, T. and Waters, A. 1987. English for Specific Purposes: a learning centred approach. Cambridge CUP: Chapter 8.
Nunan, D. 1992. Research Methods in Language Learning. Cambridge: CUP. Nunan, D. 1988. Syllabus Design, OUP. Skilbeck, M. 1982 “Three educational ideologies” in T. Horton & P. Raggat (eds) Challenge and Change in the Curriculum, Hodder & Stoughton. Long, M. 2005. Second Language Needs Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wallace, M. 1998. Action research for language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hinkel, Eli. (Ed. ) 2005. Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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