Japanese university students’ perceptions of diversity and English language education in a globalized era

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Midwest Conference of Asian Affairs

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St. Louis, MO


This paper examines the impact of globalization on Japan’s English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education, specifically investigating how Japanese students who are enrolled at a regional university perceive Japan’s internal diversity and its continued emphasis of English language learning/teaching in a globalized era. A lack of attention to diversity may mislead Japanese EFL learners when they communicate with other English speakers who have different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. If Japan continues to emphasize English learning and its acquisition as inevitable for global communication, how “diversity” led by globalization has influenced intercultural interactions through English should be carefully examined. Based on the data collected via extensive face-to-face interviews with Japanese university students, this paper will discuss: 1) how Japanese students perceive Japan’s domestic diversity; 2) the extent to which they have learned about English speakers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds through the EFL curricula; and 3) how they view the role of Japan’s EFL education and their future teaching profession as non-native English speakers.


English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education; native speakers; nonnative speakers; diversity; globalization; Japan


Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Asian Studies | Educational Sociology | Inequality and Stratification | International and Intercultural Communication | Sociology

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