37th JALT Annual International ConferenceSaturday 19th November 2011National Olympics Memorial CentreYoyogiTokyo          ...
1.   Educational Scaffolding2.   EFL: A Cultural Interface3.   Measuring Culture4.   This Research5.   Scaffolding to Avoi...
•   Lev Vygotsky•   More Knowledgeable    Other (That’s us!)•   Gradually Removed
•     Advice•     Feedback•     Examples•     Materials•     Instructions•     Activities•     Goals•     AssessmentTeache...
EFL ═ inter-cultural interface:Cultural differences can cause different classroom expectations ofteachers and students. Th...
Geert Hofstede (1980)• How?      Questionnaires      116,000 employees same company      40 countries• Results:      Indiv...
TEACHERS              STUDENTSBritish          35   Japanese          92Irish            35Australians      45Americans   ...
TEACHERS                   STUDENTS• cope with ambiguity      • structure and predictability• find rules inhibitive    • s...
•   What is the classroom impact of low UA teachers with    high UA students?•   Are teachers adapting their teaching to m...
Semi-structured Interviews:A planned framework, but which also allows interviewees tocontribute longer answers and digress...
1 week before the interview:•     Definition of UA•     A summary of current research on UA•     “Are UA differentials bet...
Interviewees•     9 Native-speaker EFL Teachers (UK, USA & Canada)•     Master’s TESOL/TEFL or Applied Linguistics•     Sa...
UA impacts the following:•     Accuracy / Fluency Preferences•     Student / Teacher- Centredness Preferences•     Flexibi...
1.      Accuracy versus Fluency        TEACHERS                                      STUDENTS                             ...
2.       Student versus Teacher- Centredness          TEACHERS                                           STUDENTS         ...
3.      Flexibility versus Formality         TEACHERS                                        STUDENTS                     ...
• Most teacher adaptations are examples of  Scaffolding• Scaffolding reduces Uncertainty                          (McKenzi...
Reading Journal•     A model•     Clarifies expectations•     Achievable activities in manageable steps•     Clear instruc...
•   Different levels of uncertainty avoidance of Japanese    students and foreign teachers can lead to problems:    o     ...
THANKS FOR LISTENING!   ANY QUESTIONS?
Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures Consequences. International differences in Work-related        Values. Beverly Hills: Sage.H...
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Teaching in cultures averse to uncertainty

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Our culture of origin provides us with a program for behaviour which we carry with us all our lives. In the modern global age, people from different cultural backgrounds increasingly come into contact with each other. On such occsssions, a lack of awareness of cultural differences can lead to misunderstanding and a breakdown in communication.The foreign language classroom is an obvious example of one such inter-cultural interface. Indeed, different cultural backgrounds can be the source of divergent teacher and student expectations about classroom roles and procedures (Richards and Lockhart 1996). It would therefore be helpful for teachers to be aware of these differences, to understand the potential problems associated with them, and to know how to adapt to get the best results. Although many will be familiar with more widely-known cultural variables such as the individualism/collectivism paradigm, another influential characteristic is how comfortable people of a given culture are with the unfamiliar, which Hofstede (1980) labels “Uncertainty Avoidance” (UA). The Japanese typically have higher levels of UA, tending to seek structure and predictability, and often maintaining formalised codes of conduct. The presenter will offer detailed advice and examples to help teachers from cultures with lower UA, such as Britain, Canada and the United States, to adjust their teaching methodology in order to compliment Japanese university students' preferences. For example, the presenter will demonstrate how instructional scaffolding techniques provide support and direction for Japanese students, thereby improving their confidence and performance during production stages.

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  • WelcomeThanks for coming to my presentationMy name is Bob Ashcroft and I teach at Soka University in Tokyo
  • My short talk with cover four main areas.Firstly I will briefly outline the concept of educational scaffolding and it’s origins.Then I will examine the importance and the relevance of culture in EFL.Next I will talk about quantifying and measuring culture.Then I will present my research.Finally, I will show why scaffolding is so important when teaching in Japan, I will also present an example of a scaffolded activity.We should have a bit of time at the end in case any one has any questions.
  • The ELT context is an example of a cultural interface.Culture exerts it’s influence.Native speakers of English -long periods interacting with learners from a different Cultural background↓cultural awareness -> misunderstanding + x communicationRichards and Lockhart point out: different expectations -> problemsProblems overcome through understanding of their source Consider:a. Understand nature of cultural variationb. Recognise potential problemsc. Find pedagogic solutionsCultural Variation – a complex, many-layered conceptResearchers have tried to break it down to better understand and measureGeert Hofstede did some of the most significant reserarch in this area
  • Teaching in cultures averse to uncertainty

    1. 1. 37th JALT Annual International ConferenceSaturday 19th November 2011National Olympics Memorial CentreYoyogiTokyo Bob Ashcroft Soka University
    2. 2. 1. Educational Scaffolding2. EFL: A Cultural Interface3. Measuring Culture4. This Research5. Scaffolding to Avoid Uncertainty
    3. 3. • Lev Vygotsky• More Knowledgeable Other (That’s us!)• Gradually Removed
    4. 4. • Advice• Feedback• Examples• Materials• Instructions• Activities• Goals• AssessmentTeachers: What Kind & How Much
    5. 5. EFL ═ inter-cultural interface:Cultural differences can cause different classroom expectations ofteachers and students. The best way to reduce the effect of theseinter-cultural incompatibilities is by understanding their sources. (Richards & Lockhart, 1996 )Teachers need to consider: • Cultural variation • Potential problems • Teaching solutions
    6. 6. Geert Hofstede (1980)• How? Questionnaires 116,000 employees same company 40 countries• Results: Individualism/Collectivism Power Distance Masculinity/Femininity Uncertainty Avoidance (UA)
    7. 7. TEACHERS STUDENTSBritish 35 Japanese 92Irish 35Australians 45Americans 46Canadians 47New Zealanders 50 (Hofstede, G.J. et al., 2002)
    8. 8. TEACHERS STUDENTS• cope with ambiguity • structure and predictability• find rules inhibitive • strict codes of conduct• loose codes of conduct • prefer absolute truths• tolerance of diversity (Hofstede, 1986)
    9. 9. • What is the classroom impact of low UA teachers with high UA students?• Are teachers adapting their teaching to manage these differentials?
    10. 10. Semi-structured Interviews:A planned framework, but which also allows interviewees tocontribute longer answers and digressions. (Mills, 2001)• Interviews Recorded• Clarified the Research Purpose• Between 20 -35 minutes
    11. 11. 1 week before the interview:• Definition of UA• A summary of current research on UA• “Are UA differentials between you and Japanese students the source of different classroom expectations?”• “How do you adjust your approach to account for these differences?”
    12. 12. Interviewees• 9 Native-speaker EFL Teachers (UK, USA & Canada)• Master’s TESOL/TEFL or Applied Linguistics• Same Tokyo University• Aged between 32 and 60• Between 5 and 14 Years Teaching at Japanese Universities• 20-25 Student EAP Classes
    13. 13. UA impacts the following:• Accuracy / Fluency Preferences• Student / Teacher- Centredness Preferences• Flexibility / Formality Preferences
    14. 14. 1. Accuracy versus Fluency TEACHERS STUDENTS DIFFERENCES Fluency & communication Accuracy & correction PROBLEMS Teacher frustrated: quiet, shy, unresponsive students Students expect feedback relating to form, not content Students dont see the communicative applications of English SOLUTIONS Rapport building Visits from post-sabbatical seniors Preparation + practice → communicative activities Individual → Pairs → Small Groups → Whole Class Assign Roles TBL Exposure to non-standard Englishes
    15. 15. 2. Student versus Teacher- Centredness TEACHERS STUDENTS DIFFERENCES T ═ facilitator not controller Prefer Teacher-centered Classes Want active participation Compulsive note-takers Want student collaboration Encourage critical thinking PROBLEMS Teacher frustration: Students lacking initiative, shy, uncooperative Stalled activities Student Confusion / Panic SOLUTIONS Realistic Goals – break tasks down into achievable steps Incremental handover of initiative Modeling Preparation + practice → communicative activities Individual → Pairs → Small Groups → Whole Class
    16. 16. 3. Flexibility versus Formality TEACHERS STUDENTS DIFFERENCES Improvisation Transparent activity / class / course objectives, aims and content Flexibility Visible measures of achievement Deviation from lesson plan Formal codes of class conduct PROBLEMS Teacher frustration: students inflexible Anxiety → demotivation SOLUTIONS Clear Instructions Modeling Start of course: Detailed syllabus and schedule Start of Class: Objectives and H/W on the whiteboard
    17. 17. • Most teacher adaptations are examples of Scaffolding• Scaffolding reduces Uncertainty (McKenzie, 1999)• Providing well-scaffolded activities is particularly important in high UA cultures like Japan
    18. 18. Reading Journal• A model• Clarifies expectations• Achievable activities in manageable steps• Clear instructions
    19. 19. • Different levels of uncertainty avoidance of Japanese students and foreign teachers can lead to problems: o Accuracy / Fluency o Student / Teacher- Centredness o Flexibility / Formality• Teachers adapt their teaching in order to deal with such problems.• Scaffolding reduces uncertainty, and is therefore particularly relevant to teaching here in Japan.
    20. 20. THANKS FOR LISTENING! ANY QUESTIONS?
    21. 21. Hofstede, G. (1980). Cultures Consequences. International differences in Work-related Values. Beverly Hills: Sage.Hofstede, G. (1986). Cultural Differences in Teaching and Learning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 1O, pp.301-320.Hofstede, G.J. et al. (2002). Exploring Culture. London: Inter-cultural Press.McKenzie, J. (2000). Scaffolding for Success. [Electronic version] Beyond Technology, Questioning, Research and the Information Literate School Community. Retrieved January 17, 2011, http://fno.org/dec99/scaffold.htmlMills, J. (2001). Self-construction through conversation and narrative in interviews. Educational Review, 53, 285-301.Richards, J.,C. & Lockhart, C. (1996). Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

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