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Learner Development Any Plenary Session
(Re)framing Mindsets/Attitudes to English Use in Japan
"We are Japanese, our common language is Japanese so why should we speak to our peers in English?" This an oft heard refrain from not only my learners but also in society at large. While this might be true to a degree, in this presentation I will suggest some reasons why this might not be quite the right attitude towards gaining proficiency and may hold a key to Japan's stagnant global English proficiency rank. I will share some of the insights into what I learned during my work over the last several years with teachers and young learners in Nepal and in the Philippines. Both countries have fought, debated and glorified the role and impact of English, but have nonetheless claimed it as one their own. Japan has fought, debated and glorified the role and impact of English, but has not yet claimed it as one of their own. A small shift in perspective in our classrooms and in our teacher-training programs might go a long way in developing an "English-user" identity. In this brief talk, I hope to provide a few illustrations of how I came to this realization and how it might impact how we teach, the resources we use, and how our learners learn.
Hailing from Seattle, USA, Ann has been living and working in Japan for over 30 years. In addition to her main teaching duties, she conducts workshops and classes in teacher-training programs for pre- and in-service primary and secondary school teachers. She has a keen interest in learner development and issues autonomy as it applies to young learners and young adult language learners. She is also on the learning advising team and oversees the management of e-space, the Self-Access Learning Center (SALC) at her university.