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In every sector of society, New Zealand needs more people capable of operating ‘inter-culturally’. The study of a second language is a key pathway to achieve this. And because of the special relationship NZ shares with Japan, there are many strong reasons for choosing Japanese as that second language. Through interviews with 11 influential Kiwis and a comparative study of UK, USA and Australia, this recently released report by researchers at AUT, explores the situation in New Zealand and makes recommendations for the future.
For a time in the 1980s and 1990s more New Zealand students chose to study Japanese than any other language, but there has been a sense of decline since then. Why? And what can we do about it?
A team of researchers from International Pacific College and Massey University won the bid to conduct a statistical and literature review, and make recommendations for research and/or projects to further explore and address the reasons uncovered.
Japanese language report (12,436 KB)
In May 2007, all HOD Languages in New Zealand schools and tertiary institutions were sent complimentary copies of Dr Alastair McLauchlan’s report of his three-year (2004–2006) investigation into attrition and early discontinuation among students studying a second language (L2) in Christchurch schools.
Beginning in 2004 with 765 Yr 11 students of French, German, Spanish, Latin, Chinese and Japanese, Alastair followed the participants through their three years of senior secondary education, using a range of research methods to uncover why so many students discontinued their L2 studies along the way. The report highlights many vexing issues surrounding L2 attrition and discontinuation, and concludes that most of these are unlikely to be solved until New Zealanders are prepared to re-examine attitudes towards the wider L2 environment.
The report identifies a number of traditional and persisting 'comfort zones' which have contributed to the unfortunate status quo.
The work was peer reviewed twice and the foreword is written by Ron Holt, one of Australasia’s leading researchers into L2 study patterns. While the Sasakawa Fellowship Fund for Japanese Language Education hopes that this research will encourage debate and discussion around the issues, the conclusions in the book are the author’s own.
Alastair passed away in 2014. His passion for languages was legendary and he is greatly missed by his many colleagues and friends.
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Last updated on Wednesday 31 October 2018