Attrition in Japanese language learning at Central Queensland University
journal contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Carol FergusonCarol Ferguson, Peter GraingerPeter Grainger
Attrition rates in foreign language learning are particularly high in Category Four (script-based) languages such as Japanese. In terms of orthography, this is due to the difficulty of Japanese for learners whose native language is based on the English alphabet. These difficulties often result in high levels of anxiety experienced by learners, particularly in the first six months of beginning study of these languages. However, despite attrition rates as high as 80% experienced by learners of Japanese in many universities (Anderson & Ramsay, 1999), the recent history of Japanese language learning at Central Queensland University (CQU) does not reflect this pattern of high attrition. Since the commencement of the Bachelor of Learning Management (BLM) (Japanese) degree, the attrition rate for learners of Japanese has averaged approximately 13%. This attrition rate in the BLM (Japanese) also contrasts with the average 20% attrition rate for other BLM programs. This study investigates possible reasons for this relatively low attrition rate. A number of significant factors are identified, in particular the teaching strategies, the design of the program and the relationships between students and instructors. This study has significant pedagogical implications for all programs of study within faculties of CQU and outside CQU.