Cheating with Smart phones in Japanese EFL Classes

Akita JALT is pleased to welcome myself, Jason Tacker (Akita Prefectural University) as the guest speaker for the chapter’s March meeting. I gave this presentation three years back and wanted to revisit it thinking that in the age of GPT-3 and Chatbot AI, it maybe relevant again. The details of my talk are below:


Cheating with Smart phones in Japanese EFL Classes


The use of smartphones for cheating in classrooms has been widely documented. In Japan, where smartphones are omnipresent in schools and students tend to be technologically sophisticated, the issue is particularly pervasive. This paper examines the cultural origins of smartphone cheating in Japanese EFL classrooms. Using novel survey data from two Japanese universities, and applying Hofstede’s (1980) anthropological theory of cultural dimensions, this study contributes to the literature on cheating as a unique cultural practice. It argues that calling such activities “cheating” may not be an accurate way of classifying a behavior that is often not considered wrong by students of Asian cultural backgrounds. Rather, the use of technology in the Japanese EFL classroom could be considered an extension of deeply held cultural traits around collectivism, power, risk aversion, and, especially, uncertainty avoidance. Understanding these cultural norms provides new insights into why Japanese students choose to cheat — and how teachers can adapt their pedagogy to acknowledge and incorporate such norms.

Date: March 18th (third Saturday of the month)

Time: 2:00–3:15ish

Location: ZOOM

*All current members the Akita Chapter will be sent a link to the meeting.  Other Members of JALT who would like to join may email the Akita chapter and request a link to the meeting.

Bio – Jason Tacker, M.A. (TESOL) facilitates English and culture studies at Akita Prefectural University. He has presented mainly in Asia (Japan, Thailand, And Cambodia) with his main research interests in student culture, technology use, motivation, and student identity. He is the President of the Akita Chapter of JALT.

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