MOTIVATION FOR GLOBAL PARTICIPATION? STUDENT VOICES

J. Durand, J. Pratt, S.L. Birchley

Toyo Gakuen University (JAPAN)
Young people in Japan are facing a difficult future. For one, Japan’s aging population is expected to cause a number of challenges for the country in the coming years. One consequence of the decline is that Japan’s generally domestically-focused business environment has been stagnant and might be expected to decline: the domestic economy is confronted with a shrinking market. At the same time, university graduates remain largely interested in finding jobs with Japanese companies (Yokoyama, 2013), companies that need fewer employees and that are often struggling to turn a profit. Against this backdrop, we at Toyo Gakuen University are interested in expanding student horizons, providing the skills needed to work in an international environment, even in Japan, and developing in them the impetus to do so: a global mindset (Durand, Pratt, & Birchley, 2017). In defining what a global mindset is, we adapted the factor structure of the motivational self system (Kikuchi, 2016) of language learning and borrowed concepts from international posture (Yashima, 1998). A questionnaire was developed and administered to 141 students. Results of a Rasch analysis, including a principal component analysis, generally support the motivational self system’s factor structure, but a case can also be made that the factors are so strongly correlated that they constitute a single construct for practical purposes. To supplement the questionnaire insights on global mindset, we also conducted focus group interviews to ask students their opinions of what and how desirable a global mindset is. In this presentation we briefly outline the theoretical underpinnings in our research and then discuss the results of the questionnaire and focus group interviews. We conclude with ideas for developing the questionnaire and using it to measure changes in our students.