Dr. Pamela Wesely
Participation year
Project title

Examining Japanese Language Textbooks: Invisibility, Language Competence, and Accessibility


This study examines three Japanese language textbooks and whether they provide students competence in both the language and culture for beginning level students of Japanese. This includes both reading and writing competence, along with understanding the target language culture. Since there is an increase of students learning Japanese as a second language and in college, it is important to assess how well textbooks for Japanese can create the competence needed to speak, read, and write as well as develop the capabilities to use the language in the proper context in the Japanese culture. It is important to examine these textbooks in order to seek what type of structures the textbooks have, the strengths and weaknesses within what is being taught and what is held to be important for first year students; as well as the comparisons and contrasts of what the curriculum offers for students who are first introduced to academic Japanese through college use. In this study, the textbook criteria from Shrum & Glisan (2005, 2008) were used; as well as informal interviews, and classroom observations. What was found was that many of these textbooks used had strengths and weaknesses that made them unable to fully teach competence in both language and culture. This study aims to promote discourse about updating instructional materials to facilitate beginning level students’ Japanese language competency.

Robin  Mosley
DePaul University