Communicative competency in New Zealand's secondary level Japanese education : an investigation into the present situtation and future potential.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
New Zealand’s Ministry of Education has the intention to increase the number of young learners who have the knowledge and skills in foreign languages (FL), and achieving communicative competence (CC) in a FL is now one of the main focuses in the New Zealand Curriculum. Nevertheless, New Zealand is yet to see a real change in the FL education system. The purpose of this research is to identify the key issues surrounding FL teaching, particularly focused on Japanese, in the New Zealand education system to question whether the New Zealand Curriculum’s aim of achieving CC is a realistic goal for New Zealand students learning Japanese under the current system. The first section of the research focuses on the current situation in New Zealand secondary schools and previous research conducted on relevant issues within FL learning in order to give background understanding about FL education. The second section of the research surveys Japanese language secondary school teachers in Christchurch in order to investigate the present situation of Japanese language teaching, and to gain authentic perceptions of the teachers with regard to CC, its issues and feasibility as a main aim of the education and assessment. The results from the first two sections of the research identify three key problematic areas in the current Japanese education system in New Zealand; namely 1) governmental guidance, 2) the Curriculum, and 3) the system of assessment. These three problems are likely to impact on students’ achievement of CC in Japanese and are key to understanding whether it is possible for New Zealand secondary school students to achieve CC as expected by the government. The third section looks at the FL education, especially Japanese, and assessment system in Australia as a comparison to New Zealand, with the aim of finding both positive and negative aspects of Australia’s current system. The aim was to find new approaches that could potentially solve some of the problems raised in this research, and therefore provide alternatives for New Zealand to follow in its development of this section of its education policy. Through this comparison it became apparent that the three key areas of problem mentioned above could be improved through the adoption of approaches already implemented in Australia. This thesis offers suggestions for a new approach to the New Zealand system of education for and assessment of CC at secondary level Japanese, which, if implemented, would, I argue, make the achievement of CC in New Zealand schools more successful.