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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Japanese students’ perceptions of their student role at an international college Jacquest, Marni Anne


The purpose of this study was to gain some understanding as to how Japanese post-secondary students, studying in North America, perceived their student role and the implications of this perception for conflict over various aspects of student role between teachers and students in a college setting in British Columbia. Although much has been written about the student role of Japanese post-secondary students in Japan, there is virtually no literature which documents what happens to perceptions of student role when Japanese students come to colleges or universities in North America. Ten aspects of student role were identified from reports of student-teacher conflict and used as the main focus of a questionnaire given to 69 students at Canadian International College (C.I.C.) in the first and last years of their four-year program at the college. Fourth-year students were also interviewed in groups about their perceptions of student role at C.I.C. Results from the first-year student interviews and the first- and fourth-year student questionnaires showed that such behaviors as: asking questions, volunteering answers, stating opinions, and active involvement in class were those to which students had the hardest time adjusting. In general, students reported a large difference between student role at Japanese post-secondary institutions and at C.I.C. with moderate problems at C.I.C. as a result of that difference. They also reported a high level of student compliance with the ten aspects of student role in the questionnaire even though their perceptions of student role were different from that of C.I.C. The study raised the question of a turning point in the acquisition of Canadian academic values, at which students seem to internalize Canadian expectations of student role which were initially difficult to accept. It also suggested that international colleges such as C.I.C. have expectations of student role that are neither fully Canadian nor fully Japanese. The study recommended that North-American teachers of Japanese students find effective ways to orient students to new student role expectations and allow them to comply without jeopardizing their identity with their fellow students.

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