Sessions / Second Language Acquisition
The native/non-native English-speaking teacher (NEST/NNEST) dichotomy in the English language learning/teaching context has been the topic of research interest for a long time. An increasing number of research works (e.g., Mahboob, 2004; Samimy & Brutt-Griffler, 1999) have addressed a need for rethinking native-speakerism. Nevertheless, little has been done from a bottom-up standpoint that deeply investigates the attitudes of students, as one of the main stakeholders. This exploratory study aims to address this gap in the research. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from Japanese undergraduate university students (N=278) at two private universities in November 2020. The findings show that many participants perceived a significant difference between NESTs and NNESTs, especially in terms of pronunciation and accent, and discuss the reasons for Japanese students’ negative attitudes towards their own English, as well as the influence of American hegemony and standardized tests (particularly TOEIC) on the students’ learning journeys.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the factor(s) related to improving the English proficiency of university students in student-centered communicative lessons. Eighty-eight Japanese EFL students completed a questionnaire at the middle of a semester. It included affective components such as foreign language enjoyment (FLE)/foreign language classroom anxiety (FLCA) scales and some demographic components. The students took the TOEIC IP before and after the semester to check their progress on English proficiency. A logistic regression analysis was calculated to find the factor(s) involved in increasing the TOEIC scores, based on six independent variables. It was found that the factor that led to the improvement of English proficiency after the course was students' being less anxious in the middle of the semester. Teachers should make every effort to envision English classrooms together with their students by considering students’ feelings (especially anxiety) during lessons and create an unthreatening language learning environment.