Literacy Practices with Media: Popular Culture Media and the Role of Pedagogical Guidance in L2 Learning of Japanese
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 11/27/2021
AbstractAdvancement of digital technologies has increased the accessibility of authentic resources in various languages, and this wide and easy access to authentic resources supports exposure to and interaction with second and foreign language (L2) and communities online. As the objective of learning is also shifting from what people learn to how people learn (Jenkins, 2009), the digitally-mediated communication landscape is radically reshaping the terrain of language and literacy education (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011; Lotherington & Jenson, 2011). In this way, digital technologies add alternative channels and options for communication. Because digital technologies are multimodal by nature, they allow us to integrate multiple facets of literacy to communicate by using many modalities to make meaning (New London Group, 1996; Thorne & Reinhardt, 2008). Consequently, expanded views of text and literacy (Kern, 2000, 2003) have been emphasized in the literature in order to holistically integrate multiple literacies into L2 education. Regarding Japanese-as-a-foreign language (JFL) education in particular, entertainment media, such as anime, digital games, and manga, often serve entry points into formal course-based language learning (Japan Foundation, 2014, 2017b; Mori & Mori, 2011). In addition, JFL learners use increasingly-available educational media, such as language apps like Google Translate and language websites like Jisho.org. However, the existing body of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) literature has not fully investigated the use of entertainment media as part of formal course study to enhance authenticity and provide more literacy practices in the wild (Thorne, 2010). In this way, it is critical to understand how digital literacies are integral to the autonomous and self-directed learning at the learner’s level before curricular and class level implementation is even considered. The current research investigates what digital literacies that JFL learners are exposed to and employ in their autonomous and self-directed JFL learning using entertainment media (i.e., anime and digital games) and educational media (e.g., language apps). The data analyzed were collected from 12 JFL learners divided into two projects (anime and games focus groups) and from online survey responses from JFL learners enrolled in the Japanese language program (n = 191) and students enrolled in the Anime Class (n = 104) at the University of Arizona. In the first project, anime focus group (AFG) participants (n = 6) watched three titles of anime and self-studied with four available language setting options. In the second project, game focus group (GFG) participants (n = 6) played one single-player online game individually and one single-player PlayStation3 game as two sub-groups (n = 2, n = 3) and solo (n = 1). Both focus groups then participated in an interview at the end of the study. The findings from the AFG project showed that a digital environment promoted digital literacies and individuality in autonomous and self-directed learning. They also displayed the capacity of anime to make space for linguistic and cultural learning opportunities and provide reinforcement of learning by connecting inside- and outside-of-class learning. The findings from the GFG project demonstrated that JFL learners viewed games as milestones of achievement in their educational pathways. They also personalized learning strategies by utilizing various educational media to learn with games. Furthermore, the results demonstrated learner autonomy by controlling their learning process and the learner’s awareness as a member of community of practice. The analyzed data exhibited that JFL learners shared their expertise and learned from one another via group gameplay based on the reported ZPD and scaffolding moments. Built on those two projects, the research explores pedagogical implications for anime and digital games in both formal learning and autonomous and self-directed learning settings. The online survey results also evidenced the relationship between entertainment media consumption and formal language course enrollment. The current research contributes to a further understanding of outside literacies practiced by JFL learners via entertainment and educational media. The research is also potentially significant in its exploration of CALL-based L2 instructional designs not only in JFL but also in other L2 pedagogy taking place in contemporary digital spaces.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Second Language Acquisition & Teaching