First Advisor

Marjorie Terdal

Term of Graduation

Spring 2000

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Japanese language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- English speakers, Diaries, Second language acquisition, Hawks, Laura Ruth -- Diaries



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 216 pages)


Using a journal kept during a year in a second-year level Japanese language class, a diary study of an adult's foreign language experience was undertaken by an ESL teacher and graduate student. Kept as a means of releasing the anger, stress, and frustration that initially accompanied the learning experience, the journal provides a basis for the analysis of cultural, pedagogical, and personal variables that affected the learning process.

The introspective and longitudinal nature of the study provides not only a description of the learning environment and teaching method over time, but also illuminates otherwise unobservable aspects of the learning experience, and how changes in emotions, motivation, and attitudes came about during the year.

The analysis of the journal entries led to a list of variables which appeared frequently or that were perceived to be important in the learning process. Further analysis showed that these variables could be assigned to two distinct domains: situational or personal. Situational variables include the teaching methodology and its classroom application, memorization, culture learning, and the classroom environment. The personal variables identified were language anxiety, motivation, and self-identity as a learner. Coping strategies were also identified as an important factor in the learning experience.

The study reveals how the learning experience caused conflict within three distinct, yet related, spheres of the diarist's self: the learning self, the motivational self, and the existential self. Resolution of conflict was brought about by changes in the teaching of some of the instructors accompanied by changes in attitude on the part of the diarist. Over the course of the year, the diarist brought about a transition from high anxiety and frustration with the learning experience to modified optimism, reflecting the realignment of personal variables and a greater understanding and acceptance of the situational variables.


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