Iwate-Aomori JALT:

Teaching English in Japan: Understanding Identity Development Through Teachers' Stories.

Date: Sunday, January 31st, 2016 Time: 1:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Speaker: Diane Nagatomo (Ochanomizu University)

This presentation for Iwate JALT will be divided into two parts. First, I will describe the results of my recent study that investigated the personal and professional identity development of English teachers in Japan who have chosen to reside here as permanent migrants. Most teachers come to Japan because of a desire for a temporary overseas adventure, but some decide to make Japan their permanent home and English language teaching their career. In particular, my research focused on foreign women who are married to Japanese men. These women must deal with the racially motivated employment constraints that affect all foreign EFL teachers in Japan, but unlike their male counterparts, they must also navigate gendered waters that primarily view women as wives and mothers. The participants of my larger study are women ranging in age from 25 to 64, and they have lived, worked, and taught in various contexts. My talk at Iwate JALT, however, will focus mainly on one participant who has been living in a conservative and remote rural area in Japan for twenty years. Through "Victoria's" narratives obtained from multiple interviews, I will describe the twists and turns of her personal and professional journey in Japan, which began with her teaching as an ALT on the JET program. Using Gee's (2000) theoretical lens, I will describe Victoria's resistance in accepting gendered and racial identity characteristics ascribed to her by others, and how she resourcefully turned them into achieved identity characteristics of her own making.

The second part of the presentation will be a workshop, where participants will be invited to analyze and discuss their own personal and professional identity development using the four perspectives from Gee's theoretical framework. Participants will hopefully become more aware that their own personal and professional identity development is the result of interaction with numerous people,not only with students, colleagues, and school administrators, but also with teachers' own families and with members of the local community as well.

Bio: Diane Nagatomo has been living and teaching in Japan since 1979. She is an associate professor at Ochanomizu University and her research interests include teacher and learner beliefs, teachers’ professional identity. She has written many EFL textbooks for the Japanese market and her first monograph, Exploring Japanese English Teachers' Professional Identity, was published in 2012 by Multilingual Matters. Her forthcoming book, also published by Multilingual Matters, Identity, Gender and Teaching English in Japan, will be available from April 2016.

Organization: Iwate-Aomori Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Iwate-Aomori JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1,000 yen (500 yen for students)

Venue: AIINA (map)

Location: Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan


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