Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes

 

 

 

 

 

D. E. Ingram

Executive Dean,

School of Applied Language Studies,

Melbourne University Private,

Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122,

Australia.

Email:d.ingram@muprivate.edu.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invited paper presented by international videoconferencing to the International TESOL Conference, Chile, 5 – 6 November, 2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes

 

 

D. E. Ingram

 

 

Contents

 

Abstract

The Author

Acknowledgement

 

I            INTRODUCTION:  THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS-CULTURAL ATTITUDES

 

II            THE LITERATURE:  THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE LEARNING AND CROSS-CULTURAL ATTITUDES

 

III            THE PROJECTS

 

III.1            Purpose of the Projects

 

III.2            Australian Survey:  Brisbane Year 10

 

III.3            Japan Survey:  Akita Prefecture

 

III.4            Summary of the Australian and Japan Surveys

 

III.5            College French

 

III.6            Languages at an Australian University

 

IV            IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESEARCH FOR METHODOLOGY

 

V            IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILE

 

VI            CONCLUSION

 

REFERENCES

 


 Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes

 

D. E. Ingram

 

Abstract

 

The most central aims of language teaching are the development of language proficiency, the development of cultural knowledge and intercultural understanding, and the fostering of positive cross-cultural attitudes.  The author and colleagues have examined the relationships between language learning and cross-cultural attitudes in projects in Australia and Japan.  This paper reports briefly on those studies.  It focuses particularly on the role of language teaching in fostering more positive cross-cultural attitudes but interesting data also emerges about the different perceptions of teachers and students about what is going on in the language teaching classroom.  Not least, one has to conclude that there is no evidence that language learning per se inevitably produces more positive cross-cultural attitudes without significant attention being paid to several identifiable aspects of methodology and course design, which are also discussed.

 

 

The Author

 

Professor David Ingram is Executive Dean in the School of Applied Language Studies in Melbourne University Private, Melbourne Australia.  He holds the Bachelor of Arts and Certificate in Education from the University of Queensland and the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in applied linguistics from the University of Essex, England.  He taught for 14 years in Primary and Secondary Schools in Australia and overseas before entering teacher education in the early 1970s at the then Mt Gravatt College of Advanced Education.  From 1983 to 1986, he was head of the teacher education program at the (now) Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory and was founding Director of the Institute for Applied Linguistics in Brisbane College of Advanced Education from 1986 to 1989.  From 1990 to 2003, he held the Chair in Applied Linguistics at Griffith University, Brisbane, where he was also foundation Director of the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Languages.  He was President of the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations for 14 years to 1996, Vice-President of the World Federation for six years, and, from 1992 to 1996, a member of the Australian Language and Literacy Council, the principal advisory body on language policy to the Federal Minister for Education. He has been a Fellow and Adjunct Fellow of the National Foreign Language Center, Washington DC, since 1993.  He was the Australian representative on the joint British-Australian project to develop the IELTS Test in 1987-88 and was then IELTS Chief Examiner (Australia) for ten years to 1998.  He is the co-author of the International Second Language Proficiency Ratings (ISLPR).  He has published extensively in applied linguistics in journals, books and conference presentations around the world.  In the Australian Honours List in June 2003, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for “service to education through the development of language policy, through assessment procedures for evaluation of proficiency, and through research and teaching”.

 

 

Acknowledgement

 

The paper is a substantially amended version of a paper “Cross-Cultural Attitudes amongst Languages Students in Australia and Japan” originally presented at the Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations National Conference 2003, Languages Babble, Babel and Beyond, Brisbane, 10 – 12 July, 2003, and re-printed in shortened form in Babel, Vol. 39, No. 1, 11 – 19, 38.  The author acknowledges the cooperation of his colleagues on some of the projects reported here, viz.,  Minoru Kono (recently retired Professor in the Faculty of Education and Human Studies in Akita University, Japan), Masako Sasaki (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education and Human Studies in Akita University, Japan), Erina Tateyama (Lecturer in the Japanese Red Cross Junior College, Akita, Japan) and Dr Shirley O’Neill (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia).
 Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes

 

D. E. Ingram

 

 

I        INTRODUCTION:  THE IMPORTANCE OF CROSS-CULTURAL ATTITUDES

 

Before I start my paper, I would like to thank Sofia Pereira and Mary Jane Abrahams for inviting me to present this paper.  Though I have close relatives who have lived in Chile and a son who has passed through Chile a couple of times on his way to play soccer in Brazil, I have to confess that I have never visited South America, let alone Chile, and I have no first hand knowledge of the educational and social situations there. 

 

The issues I wish to raise are, I believe, of universal importance.  We live in a world that is racially, culturally and linguistically diverse and in which the very societies in which the vast majority of the world’s people live are also multiracial, multicultural and linguistically diverse.  When I was a young child growing up in outback Australia, it was rare to encounter a person of a different culture or race or to hear a language other than English and such persons were curiosities: you could not conceive what it was like to be different.  Yet today, my wife is of a different race, my five children are mixed-race, two languages routinely occur in our home, my children have learned some four others at school, and our extended family and closest friends are of numerous cultural and racial origins:  Afghan, Australian Aboriginal, Cambodian, Chinese, Chilean, English, French, Indian, Indonesian, Iranian, Irish, Japanese, Kenyan, Korean, Papuan, Puerto Rican, New Zealand, Welsh, and many more.  Every day in my work, I routinely communicate with people in a dozen different countries, I get responses from Japan, Iran or the United States as quickly as I do from my staff down the corridor, and events such as this international videoconference are routine in academia, business and entertainment.  Our business is increasingly globalised, owned by multinational companies larger than the economies of many the world’s nations and operating indiscriminately of national or geographic divides, and our very currencies are determined as much by what happens in New York, Tokyo, London or Frankfurt as in any nation’s own economic centres or seats of government.  In the education policy papers I was able to obtain about Chile, I saw reference to “the increasing insertion of Chile in the world economy” and, because of this, the notion that “English opens doors”, giving more opportunities of employment in today’s globalised world.

 

Yet, despite this increasing diversification driven by globalised economies, rapid transport and fast communications, the world continues to be torn asunder by terrorism and the no less pernicious actions of great and small world powers.  Underlying all this anger and distress is the failure on a global as well as individual scale of one culture and its people to accept the rights and equality of another culture and its people.  If the world is to survive and prosper, if all peoples are to live out their lives in peace and harmony, it is imperative that the critically important issues of inter-cultural and inter-racial relationships and attitudes be understood and that the principal tool that a society has available to effect positive inter-cultural attitude development, viz., education, address these issues seriously and systematically.

 

Yet, there is an enigma:  on the one hand, most language policy makers and language teachers agree that one of the central goals of language education is to develop cultural understanding and foster more positive cross-cultural attitudes; on the other hand, the research literature is equivocal with some studies demonstrating no favourable effect by language learning on cross-cultural attitudes, there are relatively few empirical studies that demonstrate a positive effect, and few that have identified the language teaching variables that can most effectively be manipulated to foster more positive attitudes.

 

The view that language learning can have a positive effect on cross-cultural attitudes is widely and strongly endorsed by language education policies and language syllabuses around the world.  They invariably identify the development of cultural knowledge and understanding and the fostering of positive cross-cultural attitudes as key goals for language teaching.

 

The Australian Language and Literacy Policy, for example, states:

 

… language proficiency improves social cohesion, communication and understanding throughout the Australian community. [DEET 1991a: 62; cf. Lo Bianco 1987]

 

It also asserts that language teaching

 

… can promote … greater tolerance within the broader community of linguistic differences in Australia and internationally …[DEET 1991a: 63]

 

The global aims in the Senior language syllabuses in Queensland (my home State in Australia) include the fostering of more positive attitudes [e.g., Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies 2001: 5].  The syllabuses state unambiguously:

 

... learning a second language widens horizons and leads ultimately to the capacity to look out from the new language and culture and, in effect, to develop a soundly based world view.  This, in turn, fosters cross-cultural understanding and empathy with people of other languages and cultures …  [Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies 2001: 1]

 

In Japan, the 1999 Senior High School “course of study” makes frequent references to fostering “a positive attitude toward communication with foreign peoples” and states:

 

… consideration should be given to the following points:

 

A.     To make students appreciate a variety of thoughts and viewpoints, to cultivate the ability to make a fair judgement, and to foster a richer sensitivity.

B.     To deepen students’ understanding of the peoples and places of the world … and to foster an attitude of respect for those cultures.

C.    To deepen international understanding… and to foster the spirit of international cooperation. [1999 Course of Study, Foreign Languages (Senior High School), Chapter 8, p. 39]

 

A “group of experts” appointed to develop a policy on the teaching of languages in Switzerland asserts:

 

Knowledge of neighbouring or partner languages ...  contributes ... to mutual understanding and an attitude of tolerance towards other cultures.[1] [Translated from Conférence suisse des directeurs cantonaux de l’instruction publique 1998: 4]

 

The Council of Europe firmly supports the view that language learning can improve intercultural understanding and cross-cultural attitudes.  The seminal Recommendation R(82)18 from the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe stated that:

 

..  it is only through a better knowledge of European modern languages that it will be possible to facilitate communication and interaction among Europeans of different mother tongues in order to promote ...  mutual understanding and co-operation, and overcome prejudice and discrimination; … [Recommendation No. R(82) 18 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers] 

 

Trim, the principal leader of the Council’s “modern languages projects” states:

 

The best protection against all forms of racism and xenophobia is provided by knowledge and direct experience of the foreign reality and improved life and communication skills … [Trim 1997a: 6]

 

Elsewhere, he states one of the aims of European language teaching as:

 

...  to promote the personal development of the individual, with … positive attitude towards other peoples and their cultures, free from prejudice, intolerance and xenophobia … [Trim 1997: 5 – 6]

 

The World Federation of Modern Language Teachers (FIPLV) has also called for

 

…language in education policies which aim at … the development of the spirit of tolerance and the culture of peace ...  [Cunningham and Candelier 1995: 14]

 

Though I did not see reference to fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes as a goal of the English program in Chile in the few documents I was able to peruse in preparing this paper, there was repeated reference to the need for English for international business purposes and implicit in that is the need for Chileans to understand and be able to interact harmoniously and effectively with speakers of English, while the representative of the organising committee for this conference commented to me that the issue of fostering better intercultural understanding and positive attitudes was central to Chile’s Education Reform proposals. 

 

Yet, as already noted, the research literature does not suggest that language teaching inevitably has a positive effect on cross-cultural attitudes and, if such an effect is to occur, it suggests that the course content and the methodology by which the language is taught and learned are more important than the fact of language learning per se.

 

 

II      THE LITERATURE:  THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANGUAGE LEARNING AND CROSS-CULTURAL ATTITUDES

 

It is not possible, in the time available here, to comprehensively review the previous research but the present writer has done that in many other papers [e.g., Ingram 1978, 1999, 1999a; Ingram, O’Neill and Townley-O’Neill 1999] and so only the briefest of summaries will be provided here. 

 

Wilkins sums up the overall findings when he says:

 

..  neither the empirical nor the theoretical research entitles us to make strong claims with regard to the possibility that the learner of a foreign language … gains psychological benefits …[Wilkins 1987: 32]

 

There are some studies that show a positive relationship between language learning and cross-cultural attitudes.  Riestra and Johnson [1964], for example, found that students studying Spanish had more favourable attitudes towards Spanish speakers than did those not studying Spanish though their attitudes to non-Spanish-speaking groups were no more favourable.  Gardner and Smythe [1975] found that the more years were spent in studying a foreign language, the more favourable were the attitudes to the speakers of that language.  Similarly, Bartley [1969, 1970] found that language dropouts had less positive attitudes than those who elected to study a foreign language in the following year though what was the cause and what was the effect is unclear. 

 

In some studies where there was a positive effect, the critical variable seems to have been interaction.  Thus, Clement, Gardner and Smythe [1977] looked at the attitudes of Year 8 English speaking students before and after a visit to a French environment and found that the attitudes of the “high contact group” were more positive.  Wilkins reviews a number of studies and concludes that, if language learning is to effect positive attitude change, it must include the opportunity for significant interaction.  He quotes Genesee’s conclusion that

 

There may be limits to the extent of attitude change that can be achieved in second language programs which do not provide real meaningful contact between the learner and members of the target language group. [cited in Wilkins 1987: 23]

 

Other studies again have shown that the opportunity to consider issues of cross-cultural relations and attitudes was a necessary part of effecting positive attitude change.  Mantle-Bromley and Miller showed that language classes that included “multicultural sensitivity lessons” were more effective in generating favourable attitudes than classes without such lessons [Mantle-Bromley and Miller 1991: 422 423].

 

On the other hand, other researchers have found that language learning had either no effect or a negative effect on cross-cultural attitudes and, in some, interaction seemed to have no effect.  Mantle-Bromley and Miller [1991] cite a variety of studies, some of which claim to show that contact with the target language group improves cross-cultural attitudes with the frequency of contact being significant while others claimed to show that “bicultural exchanges” did not achieve significant attitudinal change [Mantle-Bromley and Miller 1991: 418 - 419].  Other studies have shown that visiting other countries was less significant in determining attitudes than “background variables” [e.g., Byram and Estate-Sarries 1991].  

 

One of the most comprehensive reviews of the relationship between foreign language learning and attitude change is that by Morgan [1993].  She reviewed many studies going as far back as 1932 and concludes that there were a number of factors that were important if positive attitude change was to occur:  “externalising” issues for discussion and reflection [cf. Ingram 1978, 1980b], opportunities to create “some affective bond” (i.e., friendship with the speakers of the target language) [Morgan 1993:  68], and classes that make the students aware of the schemata and beliefs of their own culture and the relativity of this particular pattern amongst alternatives (including the target culture).  She also quotes research that draws attention to the desirability of learners’ having the opportunity to re-conceptualise their previous experience through the new language [cf. Ingram 1978 and 1979]. 

 

In summary, the following conclusions can be drawn from the literature:

 

1.      There are many theoretical and empirical studies that have found a favourable relationship between language learning and positive cross-cultural attitudes [e.g., Ingram 1978, 1980b; Riestra and Johnson 1964, Gardner and Smythe 1975, Bartley 1969, 1970]. 

 

 

2.      However, there is no automatic relationship between language learning or teaching and positive cross-cultural attitudes, there may be no effect, the effect may be negative, or other, especially background variables such as socioeconomic class and social and parental attitudes seem to be more significant [e.g., Mantle-Bromley and Miller 1991, Byram and Estate-Sarries 1991, Jaspers and Hewstone 1983].

 

3.      Interaction with speakers of the other language seems to be one of the key factors that can strongly influence cross-cultural attitudes provided that it is managed appropriately [e.g., Ingram 1980a, 1980b, 1978, 1977, 1977a;  Clement, Gardner and Smythe 1977].

 

4.      Cerebration, giving learners the opportunity to externalise their own intuitive responses and attitudes for examination and rational modification, seems to be a vital factor if attitudes are to change in a positive direction [Ingram 1978, 1980b, 1980c; Morgan 1993; Kramsch 1993; Mantle-Bromley 1995]. 

 

5.      Knowledge alone about another culture does not automatically have a favourable effect and can lead to a worsening of attitudes unless there is intervention that leads to “cerebration” about attitudes [cf., Ingram 1978, 1980b, Jones 1996, Mantle-Bromley and Miller 1991].  Nevertheless, profound cultural knowledge and understanding (not just knowledge of the superficial or trivial aspects of a culture) are essential.

 

6.      Through learning about the target and other cultures and through interacting with speakers of the other language, learners need to become aware of, and sensitive to, two important contrasts:  the individuality which exists within the universality of a culture and the universal, fundamental human features that underlie and permeate the diversity of cultures.

 

7.      “Culture shock” seems to play an important part in the learning experience since it makes learners aware of their intuitive reactions and pre-conceptions and provides teachers with opportunities to stimulate discussion about cultures and inter-cultural relations,  to try to explain and rationally change any of the students’ adverse reactions and prejudices, and so to effect positive attitudinal change [see Ingram 2001a, 1999, 1999a, 1996, 1995, 1980a, 1980b, 1978, 1977, 1977a; Ingram et al 1999,]. 

 

Clearly there is no simple cause-effect relationship between language learning and positive cross-cultural attitudes, the variables that can be controlled in teaching seem to be important factors that may determine a positive or negative outcome, and, for this reason, colleagues and I in both Australia and Japan (i.e., in very different societies and educational environments) have undertaken a number of studies to try to examine further what variables are significant, how they might be controlled and what the implications are for course design and methodology.

 

These studies have involved both small-scale specific teaching projects and quite large scale surveys of attitudes of Secondary School students in Australia and Japan, in particular to identify what link, if any, there is between language learning and cross-cultural attitudes and to consider what aspects of methodology, especially those suggested by the theory that emerges from the research referred to earlier, might positively or negatively influence attitudes.

 

 

III      THE PROJECTS

 

III.1          Purpose of the Projects

 

 

 

The first two of the projects to be discussed sought to examine the cross-cultural attitudes of students in the middle of Secondary School in Australia and Japan in an attempt to identify the nature of their cross-cultural attitudes and whether these were related to their language learning experiences.  The second two projects implemented a methodology derived from the theoretical considerations and from the research on both cross-cultural attitudes in language learning and the development of language proficiency in order to trial the methodology and assess whether it did in fact lead to improved cross-cultural attitudes and significant gains in proficiency.

 

 

 

 

III.2          Australian survey: Brisbane Year 10

 

This survey has been written up in a number of other papers, including in Babel [Ingram and O’Neill 20001/2002; see also Ingram et al 1999] and will be reported only briefly here.

 

The purpose of this survey was to identify the cross-cultural attitudes of a sample of Year 10 students in State and non-State Schools around Brisbane, the capital city of the State of Queensland, Australia and to try to relate their attitudes to their language learning experience.  No comparison of attitudes between students who had or had not learned a language was possible since almost all the students had spent some time in language classes even though some 40% were not currently studying a language.

 

The central hypotheses tested in the study were these:

 

1.  That the responses of students currently studying a foreign language will be significantly more positive than those of students who had dropped out of language study some time earlier).

 

2.  That the responses of students who have studied a foreign language for four or more years will be significantly more positive than those of students who have studied one for less than four years.

 

The subjects were 598 Year 10 students in 7 State and 10 non-State secondary schools in and around  Brisbane, chosen to provide a cross-section of socioeconomic classes, a range of languages, and a range of language learning experiences.  57% of the students were female and 43% male and most (95%) were aged 14 or 15.  For most, English was the language of the home (87%) but another 25 languages were also spoken at home, the most frequent of which were a Chinese language (5.5%) and Hindi (1%). Almost half the students had learned or were learning Japanese with the next most frequent languages being French and German.  (See Table 1.)

 

The questionnaires elicited personal information about the students, their attitudes to the learning of languages, their attitudes to migrants and other cultures, information on language classes and learning strategies, and predominant learning activities.  The last five question sets used an identical set of semantic differential scales to elicit the students’ attitudes towards speakers of the language they were learning, towards other Australians, Europeans, Asians, Australian Aboriginals, their language teachers, and themselves.  In the last question, the students were asked what they would like to see changed in their language classes.

 

Overall, the students’ cross-cultural attitudes were quite favourable, certainly more positive than negative, and there was no significant difference whether they were in a FL program or not and whether they had learned the language for less than 4 years or more (Table 2).  However, closer investigation reveals some tendencies but so mixed that it is difficult to conclude whether foreign language learning had a positive or a negative effect on the students’ attitudes.  On the one hand, there is a tendency (just 4%) for those in the FL program to be more favourably inclined towards the target language group than those who had dropped the subject, generally eighteen months earlier.  On the other hand, those who had been learning the language for less than 4 years showed a very slight tendency (2.88%) to be more favourably disposed towards the target language group than those who had been learning the language for 4 or more years.  Their attitudes to Australians were virtually indistinguishable, as were attitudes to Europeans, except that those who had studied languages for more than 4 years responded slightly less favourably towards Europeans though it is probably significant that about half of the students were in Asian language programs (Table 1).

 

However, attitudes towards Asians were considerably and significantly lower than towards Europeans or towards the target FL group and attitudes towards Aboriginals were the lowest of all.  Again, it is noticeable that attitudes of those who had studied a language for less than 4 years were slightly more positive towards Asians (by just over 5%) than were those of students who had studied the language for 4 or more years.  This again makes one question the hypothesis that language learning will necessarily produce more favourable cross-cultural attitudes. 

 

As noted earlier, many of the studies of cross-cultural attitudes suggest that background variables have more influence in determining attitudes than language learning itself and so it is undoubtedly relevant that, just as funding was received for the project, a major debate erupted in the community over immigration policy and compensatory funding to Aboriginals as a result of the election of an extreme right-wing individual to Federal Parliament.  It is probable that that community debate intruded considerably on the results and more strongly influenced the students’ attitudes at that time than did the language teaching they were experiencing [see Ingram and O’Neill 2001/2002 for further discussion of this point].

 

Some of the questions that had been considered peripheral at the time the study was planned, in fact yielded interesting and relevant results.  Information was sought on the students’ perception of classroom practice, what activities they valued, and what they would like to change in that experience.  Significantly, the activities that the students most valued or that they wanted to be used more often tended to be those that research suggests are more likely to have a favourable effect on cross-cultural attitude development.  The following observations were particularly noteworthy (see Table 3):

 

1.      Those activities which the students most wanted to see increased were those most conducive to favourable attitude development but the teachers’ responses put those activities relatively low on their list of priorities.

 

2.      Three of the four items in which a majority of students sought change involved more active use of the language, especially interaction with native speakers over the internet or face-to-face.  Clearly students wanted their language classes to be more oriented towards real-life communication and contact with native speakers.

 

3.      The fourth area in which a majority of students (59%) wanted to see increased attention was in the teaching of culture.

 

4.      Approximately two-thirds of the students did not want any increase in the more formal aspects of language teaching such as formal accuracy in pronunciation or grammar.  Again, this matched with their preference for a focus on real-life communication activities.

 

5.      The students generally did not support an increase in the teaching of other subjects through the language and a small majority of them (52%) did not want to see any increased vocational emphasis in language teaching activities.  This is interesting in light of the vocational emphasis in Australian language education policy (and, I note, in Chilean language education policy).  The students clearly preferred more real-life use of the language in interaction with native speakers, i.e., more social interaction (see Table 3). 

 

6.      There was a strong mismatch between the students’ perceptions of what was happening in their language classroom, the goals and the point of the activities and what the teachers perceived as going on [see Ingram et al 1999].  There are implications in the study for teachers to re-consider their methodology but clearly students need to be made aware of the purpose of the activities in which they participate and for those activities to be more obviously related to the development of practical language skills and better understanding of the target language speakers and culture. 

 

In summary, though the students’ cross-cultural attitudes were generally reasonably positive, no evidence was found to support the hypotheses that those in language programs or those who have studied the language longer will have significantly more favourable cross-cultural attitudes.  At the same time, it was evident from both the students’ and the teachers’ responses (see Tables 4 and 5) that little use was made of those activities that are probably most conducive to positive cross-cultural attitude development but they are also the activities (especially related to social interaction with native speakers and culture teaching) which the majority of students wanted to see increased in their language programs.

 

 

III.3          Japan Survey:  Akita Prefecture

 

The Japan study surveyed more than 630 students and their 47 teachers in ten schools.  Information was elicited on many aspects of language teaching in Japan but the focus in this paper will be on the students’ cross-cultural attitudes and related aspects of course design and methodology.

 

Purpose: Like the Brisbane study, the project sought to examine the cross-cultural attitudes of the students and the features of their programs that may have influenced those attitudes.  The study was essentially a replication of the Brisbane study using the same questionnaires, translated into Japanese with the only changes being those necessitated by the translation process and the different educational, social and linguistic context.

 

Results:    There was no statistically significant difference between students according to how long they had been learning English in their attitudes towards English speaking people or towards people of other cultures (Europeans, Asians and the Ainu) (see Table 6). However, those who had been learning English longer were significantly less positive towards Japanese people as though greater knowledge of English language and culture led them to re-evaluate their own culture or, at least, to see its strengths and weaknesses more discriminatingly (see Table 7).  On the other hand, even though the overall difference fell below the significance level, the feelings towards themselves of those students who had been learning English for more than four years were more positive on almost all features than for those who had been learning it for less than four years (see Table 8).

 

Unlike the Brisbane study, many more of the Japanese students surveyed had had the opportunity to visit a country where English is spoken.  A small difference was found in attitudes towards English speakers between those who had visited an English-speaking country and those who had not, reinforcing the notion that interaction with speakers of the language can have a beneficial effect on cross-cultural attitudes.  Those who had visited an English-speaking country viewed English-speaking people as more interesting, more handsome, more colourful, more honest, more kind, more sophisticated, more reliable, more hard-working, less strict, and more civilised than did those who had not visited an English-speaking country (see Table 9).

 

The teachers’ preferred goals for their language programs showed a mix of priorities. There was strong consensus that the most important goal is to communicate orally with native speakers of English, rated in the top five goals by 87%.  However, most goals related to cross-cultural attitudes were not rated highly.  It was striking that the goal "to gain positive attitudes about native speakers of English" was rated as of greatest importance by just 4% of teachers and in the top five goals by fewer than half (49%) of the teachers.  “To learn about the culture of native speakers of English” was rated as of most importance by only 2% of the teachers but within the top five by 62%.  Interesting and relevant, however, was the fact that 56% of the teachers rated the goal “to enable students to evaluate their own cultural preconceptions” amongst the top 5 goals.   In brief, the goals specifically relevant to cross-cultural attitudes were given mixed priority by the teachers and considerably less weighting than the general “language learning” goals (see Table 10). 

 

Goals tend to be idealistic and the teachers’ preferred teaching/learning activities are probably more relevant to student outcomes. Priority was given strongly to “traditional”, formal methods with more than half of the teachers saying that they “often” or “very often” used pronunciation drills (89%), formal grammar teaching (83%), and grammar exercises (75%). 58% said that they used translation exercises “often” or “very often”.  “Communicative activities” ranked 10th  in priority order with just 29% of teachers saying they used them “often” or “very often”, 49% saying they used them “sometimes”, and 23% saying they “never” or “rarely” used them.  Activities that promote practical proficiency and provide an opportunity for learners to use the language creatively or for communicative purposes ranked even lower with, for example, language games being used “often” or “very often” by 21% and interaction with native speakers by 20%.  The focus in the nine most preferred activities is clearly on formal knowledge and “traditional” methods rather than creative or productive use of the language in interaction. 

 

Of those activities known to be conducive to more positive cross-cultural attitudes and a balanced understanding of the target culture, again the focus seems mainly to be on formal culture teaching.  45% of teachers, for example, said that they used “teaching of culture” “often” or “very often” and 49% “sometimes”.  More informal activities that encourage learners to use the language for normal social interaction outside the constraints of the classroom and in contexts where there is some opportunity to live the culture rather than learn about it, activities such as language clubs, language camps or language evenings, were virtually never used with just 9%, 5% and 2% respectively saying that they used them “sometimes” and 87%, 95% and 98% saying that they used them  “rarely” or “never”.  Interaction with native speakers either face-to-face or via the internet, which are desirable both for developing proficiency and for fostering positive cross-cultural attitudes, were rarely used.  Though 48% of the teachers said that they sometimes used “interaction with native speakers”, only 20% said they used it “often” or “very often”, and 32% said that they “never” or “rarely” used it.  It is probable that those who used it most frequently had access to a native English speaking teaching assistant.  Activities involving the internet or email were ranked very low with 81% and 92% respectively saying that they used them “rarely” or “never”. (Table 11)

 

In brief, the teachers’ responses concerning their preferred teaching and learning activities suggest a largely formal, teacher-centred, and “traditional grammar-translation” approach to language teaching with relatively few opportunities given to the learners to use the language creatively, informally or in uncontrolled situations for normal social interaction (or situations that approximate to such interaction).  Similarly, those activities most conducive to balanced cultural understanding and positive cross-cultural attitudes (other than probably formal “teaching of culture”) were also rare. 

 

Though the Japanese students’ attitudes to their language learning program and the learning methods have still to be analysed in full, like the Australian students, many of them would like to see changes with particular emphasis on talking with native speakers, learning to use English for everyday purposes, learning about the culture of English-speaking countries, learning English for the job they wanted to do in future, and, unlike the Australian students, listening to more songs in English.

 

 

III.4 Summary of the Australian and Japanese Surveys

 

In summary, in both the Australian and Japanese studies, there is little evidence that language learning had significantly influenced the students’ cross-cultural attitudes (though the Japan study, where there was more opportunity for the students to interact with native speakers of their language during trips abroad, showed more effect).  However, it was also evident that the nature of the programs and especially the activities favoured by the teachers were not conducive to the improvement of cross-cultural attitudes.  At the same time, the changes that students wanted to see in their programs tended to be towards activities that are known from the research literature to be more beneficial both for the development of language proficiency and for fostering more positive cross-cultural attitudes.

 

The next two projects to be discussed implemented methodologies that particularly emphasised interaction with native speakers as a core aspect of the methodology and course design, the most important factor that both the research literature and the studies just described suggest may positively influence cross-cultural attitudes.

 

 

III.5          College French

 

The current writer’s earliest attempt to implement a methodology based on the principles emerging in this paper was made some 20 years ago with students in first and third year French programs in a Teachers’ College in Brisbane, Australia.  The project and its results have been reported in other papers [Ingram 1980 c and d] and will be discussed only briefly here, focussing mainly on the impact on the students’ cross-cultural attitudes.

 

Project Description:  The central learning activity was “community involvement” in which students set up meetings with French speakers in the Brisbane community and discussed some topic of mutual interest with them (e.g., their life in Australia in comparison with the country from which they had come, how their restaurant, oil company, or other business operated, or any other issue that interested them).  Afterwards, the students presented a detailed oral report to their class and submitted a written report to the lecturer.  In most cases, this formal activity led to informal social interaction with the community members in their homes or in a social event.  The course also contained formal teaching of the language in response to student need, another segment focussed on different registers and genres of the language, there was a course of French and Australian social studies taught in French once a week, and there were many opportunities given to listen to daily Radio Australia newsbulletins in French and to view and discuss French films or slide shows.  Regular discussions were held on intercultural and interracial relationships and attitudes and occasionally games were used that highlighted issues of relationships between dominant and smaller societies or communities.

 

The project outcomes proved to be very successful both in terms of the students’ language proficiency and in producing more positive cross-cultural attitudes.  In summary, the benefits relevant to attitudinal change included the following:

 

1.      Once the students’ initial fear of contact with native speakers was overcome, they showed considerable willingness to converse and participated much more readily and confidently in class than previously.

 

2.      All the cohorts approved the design of the course and the variety of activities, especially the heavy emphasis on the oral language.  Though most students approached the initial interaction with some trepidation, that was soon replaced in most cases by considerable enthusiasm.

 

3.      Experienced lecturers who had not participated in the program evaluated the students in comparison with those they had encountered previously.  Without exception, they commented favourably on the students’ progress, especially in such features as readiness to participate in conversation, confidence, fluency, comprehension, initiative in directing conversation, and poise.  Though these are features more immediately related to language proficiency, the increased confidence and poise that the students demonstrated very likely rubbed off onto their attitudes.

 

4.      The results on a simple cross-cultural attitude questionnaire administered pre- and post-course showed a considerable shift towards more positive attitudes both towards French people and more generally, including to the group in Australia that has most suffered from discrimination and negative attitudes, Australian Aboriginals.

 

5.      The favourable attitudinal effects were seen not only in the students but also in the people whom they had met.  Many community members, for instance, commented that these were the first “real” Australians they had met socially, they appreciated the opportunity to meet the students, and they were keen to maintain contact with them [cf. Ingram 1980d].

 

In summary, the “community involvement approach” to methodology seemed to have a favourable impact, not only on the students’ language proficiency but also on their cross-cultural attitudes both towards the target (French) group and towards other cultures and races.

 

 

III.6   Languages at an Australian University

 

In late 1999, the present author and a colleague were awarded a National Teaching Development Grant to implement a long-term project entitled “Taking ‘foreignness’ out of Languages other than English:  the Community as a Resource for improving Proficiency Outcomes”.  Its aim was to implement a “community involvement” approach in University language teaching for both Asian and European languages and to examine the impact of the approach on both proficiency development and other goals of language teaching, including cross-cultural attitudes.  Here, only the latter will be reported though more extensive reports have been published [e.g., Ingram 2002, 2002a, 2002b, 2001a]. 

 

The students' overall assessment of the use of community involvement in their course was strongly favourable [see Table 12].  This was particularly so in Japanese where 90% of one group and 100% of the other rated the project as "good" or "excellent".

 

A strong indication of the students' favourable response was seen in their desire to participate in such a project again.  Overall, 73% of the Japanese students said that they would participate again the next year if they were given the opportunity (see Table 13).  95% of the students surveyed said that the project should be run again for future students (see Table 14).

 

Most saliently, both teachers and students reported a great increase in the students’ confidence in using the language.  One Chinese teacher, for instance, commented that she had never known a Second Year group to be so confident in speaking and this sort of view was expressed by most participants in all languages.  The increased confidence was reflected in their belief that the project had been "fairly" (37%) or, more frequently, "extremely" useful (58%) in improving their language skills.  In particular, one group of 21 Japanese students was asked whether they felt nervous speaking Japanese with native speakers.  Of the 20 who responded, 75% of the students said that, as a result of their experience, they did not feel so nervous (see Table 15), a response which probably also suggests a more favourable attitude towards Japanese speakers.

 

The student questionnaires did not specifically address the question of cross-cultural attitudes but it would seem reasonable in the light of the positive nature of the students’ responses to expect that cross-cultural attitudes had also benefited [see also Ingram 1999, 1999a].  97% of the students felt that the project was "fairly" or "extremely" useful in improving their cultural understanding but possibly the most relevant question related to whether the students planned to keep in touch with the community member they had been meeting with.  Overall, 76% of the students of Japanese indicated that they did intend to keep in touch.  However, these figures are a little distorted downwards because some of the partners with whom the second group interacted were visiting from overseas and so 18% of the second group were unsure, probably for reasons of practicality.  (See Table 16)

 

Also with implications for cross-cultural attitudes was the question about the range of contacts the students had had.  A small majority (58%) in one Japanese group had met only with the community member they had been allocated but a substantial number (42% or 14 of 33 responses) indicated that they had also met with the community member’s family or friends (see Table 17).  The fact that they had met with more people than the organised contact suggests a willingness on the part of the students to have more involvement with Japanese people and, therefore, that they probably had a positive attitude.

 

In a multicultural society or world, it is not just the cross-cultural attitudes of any one culture towards other cultures that are important but the inter-cultural attitudes of all cultures.  Consequently, it was pleasing that the response of community members to their involvement with students learning their language was also very favourable.  They appreciated the opportunity to make contact with the students, the formal involvement often led to more informal social interaction in the community members’ homes or elsewhere, and, in some instances, on-going friendships seemed to be developing.  Typical comments by the community members included that they found the experience “interesting and useful”, that it is a positive experience to meet other people and to help students with their language, and that they (the community members) would be happy to be involved again.  Clearly, the community involvement approach benefited the cross-cultural attitudes of both the students and the people with whom they interacted. 

 

 

 

IV        IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESEARCH FOR METHODOLOGY

 

Despite the uncertainty of the literature, there do seem to be some clear implications for methodology and course design.  Here, these implications will be briefly summarised in seven key features particularly relevant to the fostering of positive cross-cultural attitudes.  It is noteworthy that those features of methodology most likely to promote positive cross-cultural attitudes also are those that are relevant to the development of language proficiency [for further discussion, see Ingram 2003, 2000/2001,1999, 1999a, 1980a, b, c, d; Ingram, O'Neill and Townley-O'Neill 1999].  In summary,

 

1.      First, let me reiterate the vital importance of education systems around the world seriously and systematically identifying the fostering of more positive cross-cultural attitudes as a central goal of education and specifically of language education and that they develop programs and methodologies that will achieve that goal.

 

2.      It is probable that such intervention in children’s attitude development will be more effective if it occurs before attitudes become less malleable with the stabilisation of personality through adolescence and so it is desirable that foreign language teaching commence early in the Primary School and that it envisage from the outset in its goals, its course design and its methodology the fostering of positive cross-cultural attitudes.

 

3.      The central learning activity should be seen as interaction or  "community involvement" in which learners are given continual opportunities to interact with speakers of the target language and to use it for real communicative purposes and for normal social interaction, whether that is face-to-face or over the web [see Ingram 2001a, 1999, 1978].  In the present writer’s approach to methodology, “community involvement” takes three forms:

 

Extramural CI activities, which extend the language learning beyond the classroom in activities that essentially enable learners to re-experience their own environment and concepts through the foreign language, e.g., field trips, excursions, local newspapers, magazines, radio and television in the target language.

 

Formal CI activities are a formal course requirement that mandates interaction with speakers of the language.  This interaction may take a range of forms from very simple directed tasks such as asking directions through to extended enquiries about some topic of interest.  This might occur through face-to-face interaction in the local ethnic community, during travel abroad or mediated electronically by telephone, videoconferencing, web cameras, internet chatpages, and so on.

 

Informal CI activities are ultimately the most desirable and involve normal social interaction with native speakers in ordinary social situations such as, for example, parties, excursions, home visits, or work experience in a company where the language is used in the workplace.  The internet also provides many opportunities for informal interaction [cf. Trim 1997: 62].

 

4.      Culture learning is a vital part of any language program and can play an important role in fostering positive attitudes [cf. Ingram 1978, 1999, 2001a].  It should occur both through formal systematic teaching, incidentally to the language teaching, and as a result of interaction with native speakers through community involvement.  Through systematic culture teaching combined with the immediate experience of the personal, individual culture that governs the everyday lives of real speakers of the language, learners can transcend the stereotyping which formal culture teaching risks creating and which often forms the basis of negative attitudes, to realise the individuality that exists within the universality of a culture.

 

5.      Learners need the opportunity to re-conceptualise their own experience, to see it through the eyes of the target culture, and so to realise that both their own and the target culture have their own equally defensible internal logic.  To achieve this, learners need the opportunity to interact with native speakers and to discuss their own experiences and their own environment with native speakers using the target language [see also Ingram 1978, 1980b, and 1980c; and Morgan 1993].  Community involvement provides such opportunities.

 

  1. Cerebration or cognitive processing” plays a vital role in both language learning and in fostering cultural understanding and positive cross-cultural attitudes.  As already noted, learners need the opportunity to think about issues of inter-cultural relations and subject their often sub-conscious reactions and entrenched attitudes to rational examination and, if necessary, change.  For this purpose, community involvement, often accompanied by some form of "culture shock", serves a vital purpose. 

 

  1. If language teaching is to take up the challenge of trying to influence students’ cross-cultural attitudes, there are important implications for teacher education.  Language teachers’ role includes not only the presentation and exemplification of the target language but also guiding the student through the experiences that will assist them to develop more positive cross-cultural attitudes, to understand other cultures and the nature of cultural difference, to help students to cope with and work positively through “culture shock” experiences, and, not least, to understand, manage and implement those features of methodology that are known to promote both language development and more positive cross-cultural attitudes.  [For further elaboration on this, see Ingram 1978, 1980b, 1980c, 1999; Mantle-Bromley 1995, Triandis 1971, Morgan 1993, and especially Ingram 1999a, 2001a, Ingram, O’Neill and Townley-O’Neill 1999.  See also Grenfell 2000: esp. 24 - 25].  A necessary starting-point if teacher education programs are to take on these tasks is to specify the sorts of skills and attitudes, or ‘competencies” that language teachers require [cf.  ALLC 1996:  Chapter 5].  A project the present author directed in 1994-95 drew up a set of language teacher competencies in two parts:  a specific purpose language proficiency scale for use with language teachers [Wylie and Ingram 1995] and a set of professional competency specifications that teachers require including, in particular, specification of the cross-cultural attitudes that teachers should show and the teaching skills required to enable them to develop appropriate attitudes in their students [Commins 1995].

 

 

V        IMPLICATIONS FOR CHILE

 

Since I have never visited Chile and have read only two documents about language education in your country, it would be presumptuous of me to try to draw any significant implications for language education there.  Let me comment very briefly on just a few things.  First, I note the emphasis in the documents I have read on providing the skills to facilitate Chile’s involvement in the global economy.  For this purpose it is not enough that students acquire a high level of language proficiency but that they also learn to understand and accept cultural, racial and linguistic diversity.  This has profound implications for course design, methodology and teacher education.  Secondly, I noted repeated reference in the documents to the lack of opportunities for students to hear English spoken in the community or to interact with native English speakers.  However, most of the range of community involvement activities I have referred to can take place even though there may be relatively few native speakers available and, not least, modern technology with the internet and videoconferencing vastly increases the scope of the community within which learners are able to interact with native or fluent speakers, as my colleague, Masako Sasaki, in rural Japan has demonstrated with her use of videoconferencing linking north east Japan to places like Bangkok, Hawaii and Brisbane.  In the Ministry of Education document I perused, I noted reference to e-learning courses for Primary School teachers. Third, throughout the policy documents, there was reference to various testing and evaluation procedures and to new tests to establish and maintain standards.  This raises many issues but, in the context of the present paper, it is essential to emphasise that, whether the tests used are for formative purposes to inform the teaching process or summative to identify attainments and outcomes, they must be relevant to the goals and the activities that constitute the methodology.  If policy, syllabuses and courses espouse proficiency related goals, it is essential that the assessment regime include assessment instruments that are proficiency-focussed even though proficiency assessment is difficult to carry out in a large education system, especially if the testing is centralised rather than devolved to the schools.  It must also be accepted that there are things that are of value in language programs that may well not be appropriate to formally assess.   This paper has emphasised the absolute importance of cultural understanding and cross-cultural attitudes as goals for language education.  However, attitudinal assessment is very difficult to conduct and it would not be appropriate to include it in an education system’s formal testing regime.  Finally, in this brief and ill-informed comment on implications for Chile, I noted in the policy documents reference to the use of native speaking volunteers and native English speaking teachers.  This is one way to give students the opportunity to interact with native speakers, especially if there is a dearth of native speakers in the community and such initiatives are to be encouraged.  However, it also needs to be emphasised that, if that interaction occurs only in the formal classroom, the beneficial effect of interaction with native speakers will be much reduced.  Formal classrooms (especially if the classes are large and accompanied by strict disciplinary regimes) are necessarily deficient in the array of relationships and cultural experiences that are needed for the purposes that emerged in this paper.  It is still highly desirable to look at ways of enabling students to use the language outside the classroom, to view their own communities through the new language, in a sense to re-organise their own conceptual structures to match those of the new language, to meet and interact with native speakers in informal as well as formal contexts, and to extend those opportunities for interaction by whatever resource is available (both in the local community, through radio and television, and through the global community accessible through the internet and videoconferencing).

 

 

VI        CONCLUSION

 

This paper has sought to emphasise the importance of seeing the development of positive cross-cultural attitudes as central goals in language learning programs. As we have seen, most language education policies and most language syllabuses endorse the fostering of cultural understanding and positive cross-cultural attitudes as key goals even though the extent to which language learning or any particular activities in language programs actually will produce them is far from certain.  This issue is of such immense social and global significance that further research to develop effective course design and methodologies is essential, not least through longitudinal studies focussing on students in and out of language programs and in programs using different methodologies.

 

If language teaching is to play an effective role in generating more positive cross-cultural attitudes conducive to life in multicultural societies and the global village, it must be structured specifically to do so.  In particular, appropriate activities include progressive communicative language teaching [cf. Wilkins 1987: 32], interaction with native speakers or their realistic surrogates, thorough knowledge and understanding of the target culture, not the pseudo culture of cultural curiosities or stone monuments but the real culture of the people, their ways of thinking, feeling and viewing the world, a culture that learners can best sense as they interact with native speakers both face-to-face and through modern technology.  In addition, teachers must be aware that interaction may lead to more positive or more negative attitudes, that some form of culture shock is an integral part of attitude development and that it is the teachers’ task to try to help students to manage that experience, to monitor and understand their intuitive reactions and to subject those intuitive responses to reasoning and correction.

 

If individuals are to demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes, they must be aware of and ready to accept human diversity while also valuing the essential humanity that permeates all cultures.  Language teaching can help to achieve this understanding because it can provide the essential supplement to knowledge and understanding, the awareness and insight that comes from equal status interaction between the learner and the people of other cultural, racial, and language backgrounds.  As a former teacher of French, I like to quote Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, that philosophical writer of books for children and adults, who wrote about human relationships and said:

 

Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur.  L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.  [Saint-Exupéry 1958: 72]

 

And elsewhere,

 

Connaître, ce n’est point démontrer, ni expliquer.  C’est accéder à la vision.  Mais, pour voir, il convient d’abord de participer.  Cela est dur apprentissage … [Saint-Exupéry 1942: 54]

 

In approximate translation,

 

It is very simple:  you can see only with your heart.  The essence of things is invisible to the eyes.

 

Knowing is neither showing nor explaining.  It is yielding to the vision.  But to see, you must first participate.  That’s the hard lesson.

 

 


 

 

Table 1:            Characteristics of Students Surveyed

 

Total Student Numbers

Male

Female

Did not answer

598

255 (43%)

338 (57%)

5 (1%)

AGE

13 years

14 years

15 years

16 years

17 years

3 (0.5%)

280 (47%)

288 (48%)

20 (3%)

1 (0.2%)

LANGUAGES SPOKEN AT HOME

English

A Chinese Language

Hindu

Others

 

87%

4.5%

1%

7%

 

LANGUAGE LEARNING STATUS

Total No. of students answering item

Currently studying a language

Not currently studying a language

Never studied a language

593

354 (60%)

230 (39%)

9 (1.5%)

Languages currently studied

Languages previously studied

 

Jp.

Fre.

Ger.

Ch.

Other

Jp

Ger

Fr

Other

 

156

77

68

12

41

156

63

30

19

 

DURATION OF LANGUAGE STUDY

 

4 or more years

Less than 4 years

 

73%

27%

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2:         Overall Attitudes to other Cultures/Races amongst Year 10 Students

 

Cult. Group

Lg FL  < 4 yrs

Lg FL =/> 4 yrs

FL in 1998

Not FL in ‘98

1. Target FL

78.44

75.56

78.063

73.813

2. Australians

79.38

81.44

81.063

81.313

3. Europeans

79.44

75.5

80.063

81.375

4. Asians

71.13

66

68.438

65.5

5. Aus. Indigenous

51.75

53.56

53.375

55.5

6. Lang. Teachers

77.56

73.81

75.938

68.38

7. Self

87.75

86.75

86.13

88.313

Attitude to other Cult. Groups (av. of 1, 3, 4, 5)

 

70.19

 

67.66

 

69.98

 

69.05

 

(To calculate the figures in Table 2, the percentage of students giving positive responses was calculated for each item in each question and the average of all the items in each question calculated to give a measure of the overall picture that emerges from the complex of attitudes to that particular cultural group as manifested in each item-response.)

 


 

Table 3:         Percentage student response choices for classroom practice changes

 

If I had the opportunity to change the way language was taught in our school, I would:

 

Yes

 

No

 

No change required

Order of student priority for change

(a) spend more time reading and writing

25

25

50

10

(b) spend more time talking with native speakers of the language

69

16

15

2

(c ) spend more time learning about the culture

59

20

21

4

(d) focus more on accuracy of pronunciation

39

24

37

6

(e) focus more on accuracy of grammar

38

28

34

7

(f) use the internet more to communicate with students in countries where the language is spoken

 

76

 

15

 

9

 

1

(g) play more language games

62

20

18

 

3

(h) listen to more songs in the language

36

41

23

8

(i) focus on language used in the job I want to do in the future

48

26

26

5

(j) use the language in studying other subjects in school

27

47

26

9

 

 

 

 

Table 4:          Importance Teachers attach to nine factors in LOTE Course Design

 

Order of Importance*

 

Factors in LOTE course design

Mean Score**

1

The interests of the students.

The ability of the students.

5.2

2

The previous language learning experiences of the students.

The set syllabus.

5

3

The everyday lives of the students.

4.7

4

Your own interests that you can share with students.

4.6

5

The attitudes of the students to native speakers of the LOTE.

4.2

6

The reasons why the students have chosen the particular LOTE.

3.9

7

The contact the students have or could have with the LOTE outside class/school time.

3.8

* 1 is most important

** Rated from “extremely important” (6) to “not at all important” (1). 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Table 5:          Q3.  Percentage of Teachers by category of Frequency of Use of 22 Specified Teaching Activities

 

Teaching and Learning Activity

Very Often

(VO)

Often

(O)

Some-times

(Stms)

Rarely

Never

O + VO

O + VO + Stms

Rank[2]

O + VO

(1 to 10 only)

Rank[3]

O+VO+Stms

(1 to 10 only)

Role Plays

21

29

41

8

0

50

91

6

5

Plays/Playlets

4

4

50

41

0

8

58

 

 

Pronunc. Drills

4

37

29

26

4

41

70

8

 

Jigsaw Rdg

4

4

34

40

8

8

42

 

 

Student to student conversations

33

42

24

0

0

75

100

2

1

Projects about culture

0

12

53

22

13

12

65

 

 

Translation exs.

4

40

34

18

4

44

78

7

8

Rote memorisation of vocabulary

16

16

34

30

4

32

66

 

 

Story writing

0

22

50

12

16

22

72

 

10

Interaction with native speakers

16

21

42

21

0

37

79

10

7

Communicative activities

35

57

8

0

0

92

100

1

1

Grammar games

12

29

34

21

4

41

75

8

9

Formal grammar teaching

12

41

38

9

0

53

91

5

5

Grammar exercises

4

58

34

4

0

62

96

4

3

 Directed tasks

14

55

27

4

0

69

96

3

3

Free reading

4

8

38

34

16

12

50

 

 

Language evenings

4

18

0

35

43

22

22

 

 

Language camps

0

4

9

17

70

4

13

 

 

Language clubs

0

0

0

26

74

0

0

 

 

Songs

4

12

50

30

4

16

66

 

 

Activities using Internet

8

13

29

21

29

21

50

 

 

Communication via email

0

4

22

26

48

4

26

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Table 6 Students who had spent four or more/less than four years learning English and their impressions of English speaking people: Percentage student ratings on Semantic Differential (Q6)

 

Item

 

%Positive ratings of those learning English 4 or >4 years

Mean

N

%Positive ratings of those learning English <4 years

Mean

N

A

Interesting/Boring

70

4.2

315

83

4.5

291

B

Unprejudiced/Prejudiced

68

4.2

314

62

3.9

291

C

Clean/Dirty

48

3.5

314

62

3.8

291

D

Handsome/Ugly

81

4.4

315

80

4.3

291

E

Colourful/Colourless

83

4.7

313

87

4.7

291

F

Friendly/Unfriendly

88

4.9

313

88

4.8

290

G

Honest/Dishonest

83

4.6

314

73

4.2

290

H

Clever/Stupid

83

3.8

315

82

4.1

291

I

Kind/Cruel

80

4.5

314

69

4.0

291

J

Sophisticated/Unsophisticated

68

4.0

315

59

3.7

291

K

Polite/Impolite

51

3.6

314

53

3.7

291

l

Successful/Unsuccessful

75

4.2

315

69

3.9

290

m

Reliable/Unreliable

59

3.7

314

45

3.4

291

n

Strict/Permissive-Easy going

35

3.0

315

40

3.2

289

o

Hardworking/Lazy

70

4.1

315

61

3.8

290

p

Civilised/Uncivilised

74

4.1

315

76

4.1

291

q

Open/Secretive

89

4.9

315

88

4.9

290

 


 

 

 

Table 7 Students who had spent four or more/less than four years learning English and their feelings about Japanese people: Percentage student ratings on Semantic Differential (Q7)

Item

 

%Positive ratings of those learning English 4 or >4 years

Mean

N

% positive ratings of those learning English <4 years

Mean

N

A

Interesting/Boring

53

3.6

315

57

3.8

291

B

Unprejudiced/Prejudiced

30

2.8

315

32

3.8

292

C

Clean/Dirty

82

4.6

315

89

4.5

292

D

Handsome/Ugly

59

3.7

314

62

3.9

292

E

Colourful/Colourless

44

3.4

315

44

3.5

292

f

Friendly/Unfriendly

51

3.5

314

48

3.5

291

G

Honest/Dishonest

36

3.1

315

41

3.3

292

H

Clever/Stupid

57

3.7

315

63

3.7

291

I

Kind/Cruel

54

3.6

315

52

3.6

290

J

Sophisticated/Unsophisticated

44

3.4

315

50

3.5

292

K

Polite/Impolite

63

4.1

314

71

4.3

292

L

Successful/Unsuccessful

58

3.7

313

57

3.7

291

M

Reliable/Unreliable

57

3.7

315

53

3.6

291

N

Strict/Permissive-Easy going

52

3.6

315

53

3.6

291

O

Hardworking/Lazy

70

4.2

315

 80

4.5

292

P

Civilised/Uncivilised

65

4.0

314

 69

4.3

292

Q

Open/Secretive

33

3.0

315

36

3.1

291

 

 


 

 

 

Table 8 Students who had spent four or more/less than four years learning English and their feelings about themselves: Percentage student ratings on Semantic Differential (Q10)

 

Item

 

%positive ratings of those learning English 4 or >4 years

 Mean  

Valid N

%positive ratings of those learning English <4 years

 Mean  

Valid N

a

Interesting/Boring

49

3.5

273

43

3.3

263

b

Unprejudiced/Prejudiced

51

3.5

275

53

3.6

263

c

Clean/Dirty

75

4.3

275

74

4.2

263

d

Handsome/Ugly

40

3.2

272

39

3.3

264

e

Colourful/Colourless

55

3.7

275

53

3.6

264

f

Friendly/Unfriendly

66

4.0

274

60

4.1

264

g

Honest/Dishonest

68

4.2

275

61

3.9

264

h

Clever/Stupid

33

4.5

275

26

403

263

i

Kind/Cruel

70

4.1

273

67

3.9

263

j

Sophisticated/Unsophisticated

44

 3.4

275

42

3.5

263

k

Polite/Impolite

69

4.0

 275

60

3.8

264

l

Successful/Unsuccessful

39

3.1

275

31

3.0

264

m

Reliable/Unreliable

59

3.8

275

54

3.6

263

n

Strict/Permissive-Easy going

36

4.0

275

41

3.8

264

o

Hardworking/Lazy

59

3.7

274

51

3.5

264

p

Civilised/Uncivilised

53

3.6

274

44

3.3

264

q

Open/Secretive

58

3.8

275

49

3.5

264

 

 


 

 

 

Table 9 Japan Study:  Students who had visited/had not an English speaking country and their impressions of English speaking people: Percentage student ratings on Semantic Differential

Item

 

%Positive ratings of those who had visited an English speaking country

Mean

N

%Positive Ratings of those who had not visited

Mean

N

a

Interesting/Boring

86

4.8

132

83

4.6

496

b

Unprejudiced/Prejudiced

65

4.1

132

100

3.9

497

c

Clean/Dirty

44

3.5

132

64

3.8

495

d

Handsome/Ugly

87

4.6

132

80

4.3

496

e

Colourful/Colourless

93

5.1

131

90

4.8

494

f

Friendly/Unfriendly

90

5.2

130

90

4.9

495

g

Honest/Dishonest

80

4.7

132

76

4.3

494

h

Clever/Stupid

77

4.2

132

80

4.4

496

i

Kind/Cruel

80

4.6

132

71

4.1

494

j

Sophisticated/Unsophisticated

72

4.1

132

63

3.8

496

k

Polite/Impolite

53

3.7

132

54

3.7

495

l

Successful/Unsuccessful

69

4.1

132

72

4.0

495

m

Reliable/Unreliable

57

3.8

132

50

3.5

495

n

Strict/Permissive-Easy going

26

2.8

131

40

3.2

495

o

Hardworking/Lazy

68

4.2

132

65

3.9

495

p

Civilised/Uncivilised

79

4.4

132

76

4.2

496

q

Open/Secretive

91

5.1

131

90

5.0

495

 

 


 

 

 

 

Table 10:  Teacher ratings of Eleven Goals of Language Teaching

 

Teacher Ratings of Eleven Goals of Language Teaching

Goals

Priority Weightings (% of teachers per rating)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

 

1.Use Eng. accurately across 4 skills

18

11

9

4

11

7

7

2

9

9

13

 

53%

 

40%

 

2.Communicate orally with t'er in Eng.

9

0

22

7

13

7

7

7

4

13

11

 

51%

 

42%

 

3. Communi-cate orally with n.sps. using Eng.

27

15

7

25

13

0

9

2

2

0

0

 

87%

 

13%

 

4. Communi-cate through W in Eng.

2

7

16

5

7

7

11

16

11

11

7

 

37%

 

56%

 

5. Read fluently in English

5

9

13

2

9

11

11

11

13

9

7

 

38%

 

51%

 

6. Gain positive atts. about lang. learn. In general

24

13

6.5

6.5

4

9

9

13

6.5

2

6.5

 

54%

 

37%

 

7. Gain positive atts. about n.sps. of Eng.

4

20

2

7

16

24

9

0

2

7

9

 

49%

 

27%

 

8. Learn about the cult. of n.sps. of Eng.

2

16

13

22

9

9

7

11

2

7

2

 

62%

 

29%

 

9. Enable sts. evaluate their own cult. pre-conceptions

11

9

9

18

9

13

7

2

13

7

2

 

56%

 

31%

 

10. Enable sts. learn how to learn langs. Effectively

13

3

11

8.5

8.5

13

8.5

8.5

11

13

2

 

44%

 

43%

 

11. Enable sts. use Eng. to communicate with spkrs of other langs.

11

16

2

9

13.5

4

7

4

9

11

13.5

 

51.5%

 

44.5%

 

 


Table 11  Preferred teaching and learning activities in priority order.

[NB.  Where equal percentages listed an activity as used “very often” or “often”, the “sometimes” rating was used to establish priority.  All percentages are rounded.]

 

Priority

Teaching and learning activities

Often or Very Often

Sometimes

Never or Rarely

1

Pronunciation drills        

89

11

0

2

Formal grammar teaching

83

17

0

3

Grammar exercises       

75

25

0

4

Listening to recordings, radio or television

72

22

6

5

Directed tasks, including inquiries

68

28

4

6

Teaching writing

59

35

6

7

Translation exercises    

58

23

19

8

Teaching of culture        

45

49

6

9

Rote memorisation of vocabulary

33

39

29

10

Communicative activities

29

49

23

11

Language games

21

40

39

12

Interaction with native speakers  

20

48

32

13

Projects about culture   

17

57

26

14

Student to student conversations

17

42

41

15

Jigsaw reading              

12

18

70

16

Free reading                 

8

13

79

17

Role plays

7

39

54

18

Story writing                 

6

9

85

19

Songs                          

4

43

53

20

Activities involving internet

4

15

81

21

Language clubs            

4

9

87

22

Using computer games, CD-Roms etc in English

4

5

91

23

Communication via email

0

8

92

24

Language camps          

0

5

95

25

Plays/playlets               

0

4

96

26

Language evenings        

0

2

98

 

 

Table 12: Overall Response of Two Japanese Groups:

 

Group
Total

Excellent

Good

So So

Bad

Terrible

Japanese 1

31

18 (58%)

10 (32%

3 (10%)

0

0

Japanese 2

21

9 (43%)

12 (57%)

0

0

0

Total

52

24 (46%)

22 (42%)

3 (6%)

0

0

 

 


 

 

Table 13:  Participate again next year:

 

Group
Total

Yes

Uncertain

No

Japanese 1

31

21 (68%)

3 (10%)

7 (23%)

Not want 1

Not do J. 6

Japanese 2

21

17 (81%)

2 (10%)

2 (10%)

Not want 0

Not do J. 2

Total

52

38 (73%)

5 (10%)

9 (17%)

 

 

Table 14:  Keep the project running for future students:

 

Group
Total

Yes

No

Unsure

Japanese 1

Question not asked

Japanese 2

20

19 (95%)

0

1 (5%)

Total

20

19 (95%)

0

1 (5%)

 

 

Table 15:  Nervous about speaking Japanese with Native Speakers:

 

Group
Total

Yes

Not so much

No

Japanese 1

Question not asked

Japanese 2

20

2 (10%)

15 (75%)

3 (15%)

Total

20

2 (10%)

15 (75%)

3 (15%)

 

 

Table 16:  Plan to keep in touch with partner:

 

Group
Total

Yes

No

Depends or Unsure

Japanese 1

29

27 (93%)

1 (3%)

1 (3%)

Japanese 2

20

10 (50%)

2 (10%)

8 (40%)

Total

49

37 (76%)

3 (6%)

9 (18%)

 

 

Table 17:  Who met with usually:

 

Group
Total

Just partner

Partner and family

Partner and friends

Japanese 1

33

19 (58%)

9 (27%)

5 (15%)

Japanese 2

Question not asked

Total

33

19 (58%)

9 (27%)

5 (15%)

 

 

 

 


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dei:dei:Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes – Paper to TESOL Chile, November 2004:General MS2:5112004

c:My Documents:Papers:Chile: Language Learning and Cross-Cultural Attitudes - Paper to TESOL Chile, November 2004

 



[1] The original, including its emphases: La connaissance des langues voisines ou partenaires  ... contribue ... à une compréhension mutuelle et à une attitude de tolérance à l’égard d’autres cultures. [Conférence suisse des directeurs cantonaux de l’instruction publique 1998: 4]

[2] Ranks 1 to 10 only.

[3] Ranks 1 to 10 only.