On teaching (in) English in Japan as foreign, female, and ‘nonnative’
This presentation is based on a duoethnographic study carried out from December 2021 to December 2022 (Hashimoto & Rakhshandehroo, forthcoming), and a second post-publication phase of the study where we focus on one of the most important themes of this research—working with diverse students. The purpose is to try to reconceptualize English education in our context through the transformation of language ideologies from the bottom up (Hashimoto & Rakhshandehroo, forthcoming; Kubota, 2020) and create and support globally-mindedness in our students. An important point of the discussion we engaged in was native-speakerism. Native-speakerism is an ideology that negatively impacts language learners’ confidence in using the target language and positions them outside the realm of English language speakers, since the ultimate goal is, for many, to speak like a “native speaker,” a goal they cannot reach since they had not been born in an English-speaking country (Matsuda, 2003; Shiroza, 2020). We argue that teacher autoethnography and sharing pedagogical practices with other teachers could potentially create spaces for engaging our students and reevaluating native-speakerist ideologies.

As described in our forthcoming paper, we are two foreign, multilingual, working women, married, with children. We both teach (in) English at Japanese universities. Our data collection started with a 90-minute video interview, which was followed by additional interviews and regularly sharing our thoughts via a Google document where we collaborated to create our narrative. We wrote about what was happening at work in regard to our “NNES” status and our interactions with students, which has resulted in more than 12,000 words of journal exchanges and more than 100 comments we gave each other. Our study shows that despite our marginalized positions in Japanese ELT, we can create spaces for our professional development, meaningful student engagement, and students’ personal growth. This study also serves as further evidence of the usefulness of duoethnography as a research method and tool for professional development.
Date: 14 December 2023, 14:00 (Thursday, 10th week, Michaelmas 2023)
Venue: Zoom webinar (online only)
Speaker: Mahboubeh Rakhshandehroo (Associate Lecturer of English, Kwansei Gakuin University Register Here)
Organising department: Department of Education
Host: Professor Simon Marginson (Department of Education, University of Oxford)
Booking required?: Required
Booking url: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkcuqorD8rHNAANbTXpfzf3iTIzBj3Fg79#/registration
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Kristina Khoo