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Second Language Literacy Practices and Language Learning Outside the Classroom

Second Language Literacy Practices and Language Learning Outside the Classroom

Miho Inaba


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This book presents a comprehensive and detailed study of literacy practices and language use outside of the classroom by university students of Japanese. It investigates both tasks related to classes (e.g. homework and preparation for classes) and voluntary activities in the target language (e.g. watching TV and writing emails) and discusses how values, motivations and types of activities differ between the two contexts. It employs sociocultural perspectives to observe reading and writing activities within and under the influence of individual and social contexts, such as learner motives, peer networks and the language classroom, and contributes to the related research areas in the field of second language acquisition, such as motivation, autonomous language learning and language learning strategies.

Crucially, the book not only documents out-of-class literacy activities, but also examines which teaching practices facilitate and promote such out-of-class language learning and use. It considers which literacy activities in the target language students undertake out-of-class, which factors encourage or discourage such out-of-class activity and how and with which tools they undertake these activities. As such the book provides guidance for classroom teaching and suggests that slight changes to teaching practices in the classroom may enhance autonomous learning outside the classroom.

This timely book explores the out-of-class literacy activities of L2 learners of Japanese, and the complex ecologies and multiple motivations that shape them. Teachers and researchers alike will gain rare insights into the intersections between class-related and non-class-related activities, as well as the ways in which students are engaging with the new technological resources which mediate them.

I've always wanted to know what my students do outside the classroom. Thanks to Inaba's work, I now know that they engage in not only class-related, but also non-class related practices, playing games, chatting on social media, reading magazines, and I can encourage them to make the most of these practices.

Miho Inaba is Lecturer in Japanese language in the School of Modern Languages at Cardiff University, UK. Her research interests include autonomous language learning, language learning motivation, sociocultural theory, ICT and foreign language learning.

Richly grounded in data and drawing on Activity Theory as an illuminating analytical framework, this study explores what language learners do (or can do) outside the classroom to enhance their literacy skills and connect language study with personal interests and pursuits. The book offers valuable insights for those researching, promoting or engaging in out-of-class language learning.

As we move into a future of blended online/offline cultures, understanding foreign language learning is increasingly a matter of understanding relationships between out-of-class and in-class engagement with language. Miho Inaba makes an especially valuable contribution to this important area of research by introducing both a new language and context, Japanese in Australia, and the new perspective of everyday literacy practices.