YouTube Comments for Sojourning ELTs, Part 2

I finally read through and analyzed all of the comments on kanadajin3’s video above. As I stated in my previous post, her video had 1,408 comments as of August 20, 2016 whereas the video with the second highest number of comments was Regan the Vegan’s with 215 comments. I wanted to see to what extent the types of comments in kanadajin3’s video differed from the other 3 videos.

How did the comments compare?

The most common type of comment was questions: 33% for Regan, 30% for Shea Roberts, and 52% for Gina Bear. Shea also received a very high proportion of compliments (29%) compared to Regan (17%) and Gina (14%). All three of these videos were upbeat with comments about their positive perspectives. Most of the questions for these three videos were about visa requirements for people wanting to work in Japan, part-time in Regan’s case.

For kanadajin3’s video, just a bit over 25% of the comments were questions, a lower proportion than the other three.But for a video with 617 direct comments, that’s 158 questions. 23 of those questions were about visa requirements, 9 about language requirements, and 3 about education requirements to work (mostly as ELTs) in Japan. Additionally, 33 questions were about the types of jobs (mostly not ELT jobs) available to foreigners in Japan.

The proportion of complimentary comments were similar to Regan’s and Gina’s at about 15%. The majority (22) of these compliments were general or non-specific, such as “I love this video.” For specific compliments, 20 found her video funny or hilarious, 15 provided compliments on her physical appearance, and another 15 provided compliments on the video’s content, such as it being “the truth.”

Although kanadajin3’s video comments did not differ from the others in terms of the most common types of comments, she had a few other categories that had slightly fewer comments than compliments. Just under 15% of the comments were categorized as additional statements (87 comments), concerns (90 comments), and comments (92) of YouTubers relating their experiences to her video and situation. With the exception of Gina Bear’s comments categorized as additional statements (16%), kanadajin3’s video had a higher proportion of these categories, and thus a greater variation in types of comments. It is in these next three categories that the negative tone of kanadajin3’s video affects the type of comments.

Additional Statements

The majority (23%) of additional statements were YouTubers providing their two cents about pedagogy. Some were genuinely trying to help or explain kanadajin3’s struggles with teaching English, such as being patient with teaching kids and accepting that repetition is a necessary requirement for teachers and learners of language. Other YouTubers were adding information to demonstrate that her experiences are not unique and that her issues are commonplace in other teaching contexts.

The next subcategory (16%) were YouTubers explaining English language teaching contexts through their experiences and observations. A smaller subset (4%) of YouTubers provided additional information regarding their experiences as assistant language teachers in Japan. A larger subset (10%) provided additional information about why offering private English lessons in Japan can be dangerous.


The sentiment about dangerous private English lessons carry over into this category with 9% of this subset of YouTubers sharing their concerns about kanadajin3’s safety and the safety of other ELTs. Unfortunately for kanadajin3, the largest majority of concerns (21%) were about her attitude towards the English language teaching profession and her students, but this should not be surprising given the title of her video.

More sympathetic concerns (18%) were about her cold, apparently made evident in a video she made prior to this one. At least 16 YouTubers expressed their happiness to see that she had recovered. On the flip side of sympathy, 11% of concerns were about her language skills, with YouTubers pointing out the grammar mistakes she made on the video. And 9% of concerns were about her teaching skills, echoing the concern about her attitude. YouTubers here made the assumption that her negative attitude made her a bad teacher.

Relating Experiences

Many comments were of YouTubers relating to kanadajin3’s experience, especially English language teaching experience (28% of the subset). Many of these relating experiences are other (former) ELTs in Japan whereas others were positive reactions to her experiences, in which they found her descriptions of teaching English in Japan “fun” or “awesome” regardless of the video’s title.

9% of the subset compared her ELT experience to their language teaching experiences in other countries (such as Brazil and Mexico) or periods of time in Japan. Another 9% found her descriptions of Japanese culture similar to theirs or their friends’ descriptions. As suggested by the title of her video, most of these were negative descriptions.

Wait…There’s More!

While writing this blog post, I’m realizing that I could probably write a 10-20 page paper on the 617 comments of just this one YouTube video, and there are hundreds if not thousands of videos on teaching English in Japan.

One of my favorite subcategories, which is found in the categories of concern and relating experiences is a theme which I coded as “difficult.” This is where the YouTubers either come to the conclusion or use her video as evidence that teaching is hard. I would like to share screenshots of these comments as well as other comments above, but searching through the 617 comments for them is difficult too.

Actually it’s not that difficult, it’s just tedious. As part of my data collection process, I recorded in reverse chronological order where each comment appeared. Research like this is time-consuming to track, log, code, and describe each comment. It took me about 6 weeks for this one video, and I know there must be a faster way of collecting YouTube comment data. In my next post, I will share specific examples of some of these categories plus more.

Another thing that I did not do was collect and code the responses to some of the comments. In my collection process, I highlighted the comments that received at least one response. I noticed that some responses had at least 10 responses, and a few had more than 30 responses. It would be interesting to also investigate them and analyze the discourse of those responses, some of which may behave more like conversations.

Finally, I’d like to add that as of this posting her video has had 1,430 comments, which is 22 more since I started collecting data 6 weeks ago. I did not include those 22 new comments in this collection process. I wanted my data set to represent the number of comments for each video in mid-August 2016. I realize, however, that kanadajin3 can also delete comments as well, and I believe she may have deleted at least one that I collected and coded. The YouTuber’s control of comments is another interesting aspect of this research process.

Do you think videos like these help the English language teaching profession in general? .Stay tuned for more analyses and discussions on this topic, and let me know if you’d like more. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s