A multidimensional case study of English education and internationalisation policy planning in Japanese higher education: a socioeducational perspective

Higgins, Robert M. (2022) A multidimensional case study of English education and internationalisation policy planning in Japanese higher education: a socioeducational perspective. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The internationalisation of higher education is a trend that is pervasive across the world and in Japanese higher education this trend is inextricably linked to English education (Rose and McKinley, 2018). The factors that have contributed to English education acting as a primary driver for internationalisation in higher education in Japan reveal a complexity of issues that permeates across the societal, higher education sector, and institutional (campus/classroom) socioeducational spectrum of Japan. In this study, this socioeducational context was analysed from a multidimensional case study perspective (Bartlett and Vavrus, 2017b). This relates to the ways in which the different sets of data were compared and analysed from global, historical, vertical and horizonal perspectives. The horizontal focus was on the social practices of policy planning actors, such as teachers and students, contextualised in relation to the vertical structural activities of higher education institutions and governments. These practices and structures were placed in a global and historical perspective.

These data sets revealed a complex synthesis of factors including contesting definitions and conceptual approaches related to internationalisation, including factors that have focused on the neoliberal processes of internationalisation (Breaden, 2013). These factors have contributed to competing and conflicting internationalisation agendas resulting in incongruent educational policy planning. To understand these incongruences in more detail, a multidimensional case study research framework investigated interconnected socioeducational factors that contribute to enactment or resistance to educational policy (Bartlett and Vavrus, 2015). This triangulated research approach analysed several interconnected policy planning initiatives for the purpose of problematising and explaining how policy planning created at the societal level is interpreted at the higher education level and enacted or resisted at the institutional (campus and classroom) level. The significance of this study was to provide contemporary research on the interconnected dimensions of language education policy planning in relation to internationalisation initiatives, which is an under-investigated research approach in Japanese higher education.

This thesis was structured around three research objectives. As highlighted above, these relate to the societal structures including governmental decision-makers, higher education institutional actors, and local institutional policy actors, such as teacher and students. These three areas of research were analysed together in a multidimensional case study. Further, the significance of this case study was to draw upon the interconnectedness that link these areas of analysis together to identify important implications for language education policy planning in Japanese higher education.

At the vertical level a series of policy planning initiatives and guidelines were analysed by developing a critical discourse analysis approach (Fairclough and Wodak, 2010). This focused the analysis on both the limitations of current internationalisation policy planning and how these limitations can be overcome. In response to these findings, and as an integral part of this critical policy planning framework approach, the research focused on how institutions and institutional actors interpret policy planning to understand levels of enactment or resistance to policy planning initiatives.

In the institutional context the research developed both emic and etic perspectives on an institution where the researcher worked as a full-time English language instructor. The focus of this research was twofold: firstly, to establish how the institution was interpreting societal level policy planning. This was viewed through the vertical case study design. Secondly, based on these findings from a horizontal perspective, a specific focus on practitioner agency was explored to understand the complex roles of faculty members in local policy planning developed at a specific higher education institution (Liddicoat and Taylor-Leech, 2020). The findings revealed that practitioner agency is multifaceted and is profoundly situated within institutional hierarchies. These hierarchies demonstrate a complex symbiosis between the structures of organisations and the role of practitioners within these organisations in relation to past experiences, and present responses, to policy planning initiatives. These findings hold significant conceptual importance for understanding the role of policy planning agency.

At the local level of the research, also from a horizontal perspective, the social practices of student engagement to internationalisation agendas were explored. Dispositional orientations indicated how social structures such as organisations contribute to how students have experienced past educational policy planning. The research also found that the fluidity of learner agency in policy planning spaces, such as social contexts like the classroom and campus spaces, was a powerful situational heuristic for understanding present and developing future critical internationalisation engagement.

A range of qualitative research methods including official document analysis, interviews, and group interviews were operationalised. These methods were adopted to explore how institutions and potential policy planning agents’ trajectories impact upon the power of individuals and groups of individuals to develop transformative perspectives on English education as a driver for internationalisation of Japanese higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Jones, Martha
Thondhlana, Juliet
Keywords: Socioeducational, Enactment, Language Policy and Planning, Internationalisation, Socioeducational; Language Policy and Planning; Curriculum Enactment; Higher Education; HE; Japan
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 68289
Depositing User: Higgins, Robert
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2023 15:51
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 15:51
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/68289

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