Yakudoku EFL Instruction in Two Japanese High School Classrooms: An Exploratory Study

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Greta J. Gorsuch, Mejiro University

Despite so much being made of oral English instruction, some researchers suggest
that English language instruction in japanese high schools is still dominated by
yakudoku, a non-oral approach to foreign language instruction. Little detailed,
descriptive research on yakudoku instruction in classrooms is to be found, and
the beliefs of teachers who use yakudoku seem not to be researched at all. This
exploratory study seeks to remedy this. Two high school EFL classes were
observed, and the teachers interviewed. Specific classroom behaviors of the
teachers were analyzed and coded, and teachers' beliefs, as revealed through
interviews, matched with their behaviors. It was found that in focusing on linguistic
forms, teachers demanded conformity in students' work. It was also found that
the students focused the bulk of their attention on the japanese translations of
the English text, rather than the English text itself. The study, while exploratory
in nature, and thus flawed, creates a basis for further research into this linle
studied aspect of EFL instruction in japanese high schools.