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Volume 3 Number 2, Spring 2006, Pages 1-192   

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Learning English Writing in a Japanese University: Developing Critical Argument and Establishing Writer Identity

    Jim McKinley

Writing is one of the most challenging and neglected areas of English education in Japan, particularly with regard to developing critical argument and establishing writer identity. This problem requires exploration into English writing classrooms in Japan in order to uncover the problems students face in their practice with these features of writing, and to discuss possible solutions. The purpose of this study was to find out what one Japanese university's approaches were to English writing. This was achieved through classroom observations, interviews with students and teachers, and an analysis of students' written texts. It was found that students worked diligently with what was given to them in class, although most of them felt it was not enough, while the teachers felt uncertain about what to give their students. The analysis of the students' texts revealed that students were able to apply newly acquired skills, but were limited by only superficial understanding of the techniques.