Engaging in Collaborative Learning in a Japanese Language Classroom

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Megumu Doi & John Peters



This article discusses the experiences of Megumu (first author) and her students as they engaged in collaborative learning (CL) in their intermediate Japanese course at an American university. CL was one of three types of teaching and learning employed in Megumu’s course, but it enabled students to learn aspects of Japanese language and culture that other types of teaching and learning are not designed to accomplish. We first discuss the concept of CL from our social constructionist perspective; i.e., we see learning as a social process of knowing instead of merely a construct of individual minds (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Gergen, 1999). This is then followed by a description of how this social constructionist perspective was incorporated in Megumu’s course, based on her and students’ reflections on their CL experiences. Finally, we close with an invitation to readers to explore the potential of CL in various Japanese language classroom environments.

本論では、米国大学の中級日本語のクラスで、筆者とその学生達が協働学習教授法(Collaborative learning: CL)に参加した際の経験を論じる。CLはこのクラスで用いられた3種類の教授法の1つで、学生達が日本の言語や文化を学ぶ上で、他の教授法では可能でないことを達成するのに大変役立った。本論では、まず、社会構造主義の視点に基づいたCLの概念を論じる。ここで言う社会構造主義とは、学習を単に個人の知の構築ではなく、物事を知るという社会的過程であるとみなす理論である (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Gergen, 1999)。次に、この社会構造主義の側面が筆者のクラスでどう用いられているかを、学生達との実際の経験を振り返って叙述する。最後に、様々な日本語教育現場におけるCLの可能性を、共に探求するよう読者に提案する。

*A version of this paper was presented at the 25th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Teachers of Japanese (SEATJ) at Duke University, NC, in May 2010.