Edited By Kevin Norley, Mehmet Ali Icbay and Hasan Arslan
Issues of Introducing Service Learning in the General Curriculum: A Case Study of Foreign Language Classes and Issues of Incorporating Service Learning in the Curriculum at a Japanese University
Motivation levels or lack thereof of students in general education classes at the tertiary level, or at any level of education, can be a concern for educators in any venue. Students may feel a distance between their required courses and the actual application in their career or living environment. This is noted particularly among students required to take a foreign language in Japan since at present there are limited opportunities for Japanese speakers of English to use their English in Japan. Foreign language education in Japan now begins at a young age at the primary level of education with students being exposed to communicative phrases and simple grammatical structures along with a simple working base of vocabulary. Upon progressing to secondary education, students are exposed to more rules of grammar as well as reading and writing exercises and English then becomes a necessary subject for progression in the educational process. In other words, for many students, English becomes a marker for academic ability and the pressure to memorise and perform well on tests becomes a deterrent to actual proficiency. In the case of science and engineering students, they “often learn English for practical or extrinsic reasons: to get a good grade in class, to pass entrance examinations and to enter and do well in their careers” (Apple, Falout and Hill, p. 55). Upon entering university, motivation to continue foreign language education wans for many students and the relevance or need for learning English is not...
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