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Developing and enhancing communicative competence among foreign language learners in Japan

Bury, J. (2022) Developing and enhancing communicative competence among foreign language learners in Japan. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00110391


This thesis presents and discusses ten peer-reviewed publications that focus on enhancing the development of communicative competence among foreign language learners in Japan. This is an important area of research as, despite emphasis being placed on effective communication by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in policy and educational guidelines, many students are not deemed to have reached satisfactory levels of communicative competence when they graduate (MEXT, 2011). In view of this, this PhD by Published Works investigates the impact that different teaching approaches and interventions had on three main themes connected to the development of communicative competence: students’ productive output and lexical retrieval, students’ self-perceptions of ability and levels of confidence, and students’ and teachers’ perceptions of, and reactions to, the interventions. The research was conducted in a range of secondary and tertiary educational contexts, and employed quantitative and qualitative methods in a complementary manner. This enabled different research paradigms to be bridged and a wider range of data to be collected. This body of work contributes to theory by extending a range of concepts, theories, and approaches, including the Output Hypothesis (Swain, 1985, 1995), Interaction Hypothesis (Long, 1981, 1983, 1996), information-processing theory, study-phase retrieval, and the spacing effect, by adding empirical evidence from different teaching contexts. It also has major implications in terms of practical application, providing access to research on alternative teaching practices and introducing a variety of activities, courses, and materials, that can be employed by educators both in Japan and internationally. Furthermore, the thesis make a methodological contribution by introducing of the Cycle of practitioner-research, which has the potential to motivate other educators to embark on a similar journey to my own and experience the many benefits that it has brought. Overall, the research presented in this thesis has contributed to enhanced recognition of the value of core principles, namely maximizing productive output, developing lexical retrieval, and enhancing students’ self-perceptions of ability and levels of confidence.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Graham, S. and Zhang, P. A.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:110391
Date on Title Page:2021


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