Japanese First-Year PBL Students’ Learning Processes: A Classroom Discourse Analysis

  • Rintaro Imafuku
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 8)


Problem-based learning (PBL) has expanded widely as a curriculum approach in higher education. Many studies argue that PBL can effectively promote student learning and produce better learning outcomes. Several pedagogical issues relating to student participation in PBL have been explored, particularly in Asian higher education. In order to further investigate the phenomenon of student learning in Asian contexts, first-year students’ socialisation into a Japanese PBL environment was investigated, with a specific focus on the nature of classroom discourse and the factors shaping the new learning processes. Employing an ethnographic case study approach, four students’ learning experiences of PBL were observed by classroom observations, video-recordings of tutorials and semi-structured interviews. The analysis of the classroom interactions involved the application of the speech functional model (Eggins & Slade, Analysing casual conversation. New York: Cassell, 1997). Interview data provided additional insights into the students’ reflections during their participation in PBL tutorials, over time. The findings suggested that although the PBL environment can be challenging for first-year students, it can provide an opportunity to autonomously enhance their generic skills.


Speech Function Japanese Student Legitimate Peripheral Participation Previous Speaker Prior Learning Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rintaro Imafuku
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong

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