English as a Pastime; (Research into the motivation of Japanese adults to engage in study at eikaiwa schools). Freddie Semple Background / Definitions Why this topic? Worked 2 years as eikaiwa teacher in Japan. + comparatively small amount of research in this field. Eikaiwa (英会話) literally translates as ‘English conversation’. Used metonymically to refer to English conversation schools. Akogare (憧れ) ‘[a] longing, desire or idealization…most often used both among and about women in Japan to describe women’s feelings about the West. To have akogare (to akogareru) is to long for something that is unattainable’ (Kelsky, 2001) Research Objective / Abstract The main aim of this research was to identify some of the key motivations of Japanese adults to engage in study at eikaiwa schools. The findings of this research suggest that: Eikaiwa participation is often linked with desire to socialise. Akogare discourse over-emphasised. Male and female eikaiwa learners have distinct expectations Research predominantly focuses on female learners. Previous Research Comparatively small amount of research into eikaiwa already conducted. 3 notable studies: Kubota (2011): Learning a foreign language as leisure and consumption: enjoyment, desire, and the business of eikaiwa Bailey (2006): Marketing the eikaiwa Wonderland: Ideology, akogare, and gender alterity in English conversation school advertising in Japan. Takahashi (2012) Language learning, gender and desire: Japanese women on the move One theme common to almost all of the research into eikaiwa is that it is primarily conducted by, and concerning females. Methodology Small scale qualitative study. Very specific demographic – Japanese adults with experience of eikaiwa. Questionnaires and interviews. Example of questionnaire questions: Please list some qualities you would consider a good eikaiwa teacher to possess. Is your motivation to study at eikaiwa the same now as it was when you started? What did I learn from my chosen methodology? Findings (1) I divided the findings from my data into two sections: Gender divisions: Slight majority of female respondents. Male and female learner motivation appears the same. Divergence between male and female learners in what they regard as good qualities in a teacher. Only limited evidence from the data collected for this research that motivating factors differ between male and female learners. Findings (2) Reasons for continued engagement: Desireable aspects of an eikaiwa teacher / school: Though there were certain differences in the answers between male and female respondents, the most common answer overall was ‘friendliness’. Contrary to expectations, this research did not find any mention of nationality or race in any of the answers relating to the teacher. ‘It is fun to talk to a native teacher’, ‘it is an opportunity to speak English in the environment of Japan’ and ‘It is a place to learn about different cultures, not just English’. Concluding points Slight over emphasis on akogare discussion in this field of study. It seems that the eikaiwa industry attracts learners who are primarily motivated by the enjoyment and pleasure they get from their lessons rather than by academic achievement. This study did not find any evidence to suggest that the nationality of the eikaiwa teacher is regarded as a particularly important factor to learners. Thank you for listening! Bibliography Bailey, K. (2006). Marketing the eikaiwa Wonderland: Ideology, akogare, and gender alterity in English conversation school advertising in Japan. Environment and planning. D, Society & Space. 24, pp.105-130 Kelsky, K. (2001). Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Kubota, R. (2011). Learning a foreign language as leisure and consumption: enjoyment, desire, and the business of eikaiwa. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 14:4, pp.473-488 Takahashi, K. (2013). Language learning, gender and desire: Japanese women on the move. Tonawanda, U.S.A: Multilingual Matters.