English acquisition through immersion: Case study of Japanese students in an American high school in Brazil

Luiz Bueno DaSilva

Abstract

The purpose of my inquiry was to examine seven Japanese high school students' acquisition of English through immersion in an American high school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I also wished to explore students' behaviors and motivations toward learning and using English at the beginning of the school year, changes in their motivations toward English learning during the course of the school year, and growth in the development of students' English proficiencies at the end of the school year. To achieve this goal, I observed seven Japanese high school students in a year-long English immersion program. Data were acquired through these artifacts: (a) field notes, (b) survey questionnaires, (c) interviews, (d) students' journals, (e) students' written assignments, (f) teachers' evaluations, (g) interviews with parents, and (h) students' report cards. The qualitative aspect of my research permitted me to conduct ongoing observations as a participant observer. The inquiry confirms the advantage of studying English through an immersion process and the strong impact of Japanese culture and familial values on Japanese high school students' perceptions about learning English.