Developing Foreign Language Skills Online: An Investigation of the Independent Learning Practices of Female University Students in Japan
I teach English in Japan, where most students do not have access to English in face-to-face contexts. They do, however, have access to it through the Internet. There is an extensive body of research that shows the benefits web-based tools can offer language learners so many educators incorporate them into their courses and publish research related to this. However, knowledge on what happens beyond the reach of formal education — in other words, understanding of learners' independent online practices — is quite limited, as is research into how teachers can support students in their private learning pursuits. My project, which was conducted at a women's university in Tokyo, aims to expand on what is known about the use of web-based technology in language education, particularly in relation to independent use, and provide guidelines for educators who wish to reach beyond their classes to make long-term differences to their students' learning practices. It addresses these goals through a mixed methods longitudinal study that was conducted by collecting basic data from a wider sample of 128 students, and follow-up data from a subsample of 25 students. Data collection took place between April 2014 and July 2015. The data has been coded and analysed, and I am currently writing up my thesis. I am working on Chapter Two now (April 2016) and hope to submit by the end of the year, so watch this space for news on the results of my study (or check http://sauvage.academia.edu/LouiseOhashi for conference slides – see below for those marked with an *).
I did a GCert in TESOL at Holmesglen TAFE in Melbourne in 2002 and was told at the time that it would give me credit for half of a GDip of TESOL at CSU. I had never heard of CSU or considered DE, but when I moved to Tokyo and started thinking about upgrading my qualifications, I checked out CSU's website, made some enquiries then decided to enrol. I finished the GDip and went straight onto the MEd (TESOL), graduating in 2009. In mid-2012, when I decided I wanted to do a PhD, I found myself back at the CSU website. I used the site to find out information about potential supervisors, the application process and opportunities for scholarships. A few months later I had two very supportive, knowledge supervisors who backed my application and I also managed to get a fee-waiver scholarship. I went to the site interested in starting my doctoral studies but undecided. The support and encouragement I got from staff there (the graduate studies officer, the sub-dean and my supervisors) helped me turn my interest into something concrete. I could not be happier with my decision to study at CSU.
JALT (Japan Association for Language Teaching)
JALTCALL SIG (a group for educators interested in computer-assisted language learning/ICT in language education)
Please note that many of the articles and presentation slides are available on http://twcu.academia.edu/LouiseOhashi