Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

First Advisor

McPherron, Paul

Abstract

Currently, the complexity of concepts of globalization--taking place in a variety of ways in the local economic, cultural, and political flows, and in the notion of World Englishes-- has been widely discussed (Saxena & Omoniyi, 2010). With the recent interest in internationalization, one of the issues in research on English teaching is expected and/or perceived roles of native teachers and non-native teachers in English language classrooms (Braine, 1999). In order to meet demands of international trends, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET Program) was established by the Japanese government in 1987, and it has played an important role by importing "internationalization" into actual classrooms in an EFL country (McConnel, 2000). Despite the long history of the JET program, very little research has been done on the program itself and related issues (e.g., McConnell, 2000; Miyazato, 2009; Fujimoto-Adamson, 2010). This study drew from a teacher-based perception of the Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) and Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) roles, and it illustrated how English teachers, including both JTEs and ALTs, act locally in the globalized/globalizing classroom while negotiating the governmental expectations for the JET program. Following the examples set by ethnographic research conducted in language teaching environments (e.g., Watson-Gegeo, 1988; Canagarajah, 1999), classroom fieldworks were conducted at three high schools in Hokkaido from May to August in 2010. More specifically, this research employed multiple data sources: participant observation, audiotape recording, interviews and questionnaires, which delivered thick descriptions of concrete reports from these sources (Richards, 2003; Canagarajah, 2006; McKay, 2006) for investigating the grounded perspectives and the practice of the JTEs and ALTs in the classrooms. The findings showed that the macro-level expected roles from the policies were not always directly projected onto the micro-level perceived roles, and there was emerging role at the micro-level as evident in the JTEs' role as guides to entrance examinations. In addition to this, through the classroom observations, this study revealed the perceived roles of JTEs and ALTs are negotiated in the classrooms in various ways. The JTEs sometimes played the perceived roles of ALTs and vice versa depending on the classroom pedagogical contexts, which were sometimes influenced on the power relationship between them. Those findings of the negotiation of roles in the classrooms led to the conclusions that the power of JTEs and ALTs is not something those teachers have a priori, but was negotiated through the interactions of JTEs and ALTs in the actual classrooms. The notion of power is dynamically implicated by language practice, which will be dedicated to the future study of English classrooms in Japan. Also, this study will contribute to casting a light on potential improvements to the JET Program before their quarter-century anniversary.

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