順天堂グローバル教養論集_第二巻_2017年3月(ISSN2424-0001)
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72Juntendo Journal of Global Studies, Vol. 2, (2017)and doesn’t see the ethnocentric value judgment contained within. This paper explores the idea that resistance to a foreign language produces negative judgments among language learners―an act of denigration, or laying of blame, related to learning. In this view, learner statements about English being useless, too hard, or irrelevant to learners’ lives, for example, may carry an implied criticism. They may serve as a psychological defense mechanism intended (uncon-sciously) to insulate the learner from the psycholog-ical demands of learning. In doing so, however, stu-dents may denigrate themselves, declaring that they are no good at, or simply hate English. Such state-ments, when understood in terms of resistance, however, may provide clues as to the inner states of learners. An important goal of this paper is to en-courage educators to consider the inner state of learners who make negative statements about lan-guage learning and self. 9. Methodology An exploratory survey involving 52 English lan-guage teachers was carried out in July, 2016. Partic-ipants were taking part in an English teaching li-cense renewal course required periodically by the Japanese Ministry of Education.1 Participants were asked about their teaching context. They were also asked to estimate what percentage of English learn-ers had generally negative attitudes towards English, and asked to choose between the following percent-ages: 0%; 20%; 40%; 60%; 80%; 100%. They were then asked to respond freely to the following ques-tion in writing: “When talking about their feelings (positive or negative) towards English, what sort of comments do students make?” A total of 255 comments were collected. Re-sponses were first categorized in terms of whether comments were positive, negative, or neither clearly positive or negative. Positive statements were those that described English learning in terms of enjoy-ment and interest, such as: I want to use English when I travel overseas; I love reading stories in English; or simply interesting or I like English. Negative comments were the opposite, and included statements that implied emotional distance, such as: I don’t like English; Grammar is boring; or I won’t use English in my life. Comments which fell into neither category sometimes expressed value-neutral statements such as English is important to get a job in the future, but also statements which implied mixed feelings, such as I like English but I don’t like to study. Answers were then coded in a way that was con-sistent with the construct of resistance. It was hy-pothesized that negative statements would contain certain key elements of resistance, including: 1) negative value judgments, including psychological distancing; 2) mixed states, or the tendency to both resist and accept differing elements of learning at the same time. Responses were also coded for forced engagement, the idea that learners may force themselves to learn, in spite of psychologically re-sisting that very process (Shaules, 2007). 10. Results This study was not attempting to draw general conclusions about whether Japanese learners have positive or negative attitudes about English. Having said this, results indicated that negative attitudes were common. Teachers reported that one in three (34%) of their students had generally negative atti-tudes towards English. Additionally, although teach-ers were asked to report both positive and negative statements commonly made by students, there were twice as many negative comments reported (149 negative versus 73 positive). This is broadly consis-tent with other research that shows that many Eng-lish learners have negative feelings about English learning, even as they recognize its importance (La-

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