Content-based Instruction: Teaching Japanese Business and Current Affairs to American Students
The facilitative potential of content-based instruction integrating language learning and other disciplines has been of vital interest in second language acquisition and language pedagogy research. Numerous studies have reported that second language learners' proficiency increases when the pedagogical focus is placed both on the subject matter and on the language form and function (Bragger & Rice, 1998; Genesee, 1985; Shrum & Glisan, 2000; Swain & Lapkin, 1989). This study addresses the issue of how content-based instruction can be implemented in the Japanese classroom for American college students. It presents the example of a classroom in which learners studied Japanese business and current affairs through instruction in Japanese. Results of a questionnaire revealed that learners felt that content-based instruction increased their motivation to study Japanese and broadened their understanding of the Japanese business community, while also providing solid training in language skills. Learners' progress over the forty hours of instruction was measured and statistical analysis indicated that their overall Japanese proficiency improved significantly. Finally, the difficulties faced by the instructor in utilizing a content-based approach are discussed.
Keywords: Content-based Instruction, Second Language Acquisition, Pedagogy, Japanese Business and Current Affairs
Dr. Mariko Wei
Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Purdue University