Perceptions of Japanese and non -Japanese college English language professors on their professional preparation and teaching characteristics in Japan

Toshiko Takahashi, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the perceptions of Japanese and non-Japanese college English language professors on their professional preparation and teaching characteristics in Japan. The participants of this study were selected from undergraduate Humanities departments with an introductory letter to professors currently teaching English in Japan explaining the purpose of the study. Data collection for this study was accomplished through a questionnaire and an interview. ^ This study sought to identify participants' (a) professional preparation, (b) teaching characteristics on curriculum practices, delivery of instruction, and instructional teaching strategies, and (c) challenges and issues in teaching English at the college level in Japan. Findings of the study revealed few differences among the responses of Japanese and non-Japanese participants. There were 5 main findings of the study: (1) Participants showed a diversity of educational background, educational degrees, and English language preparation. Thirty-two percent of non-Japanese participants have worked outside Japan as an EFL/ESL teacher, while Japanese participants have only taught in Japan as an EFL teacher. Eighty-five percent of the Japanese participants have lived in a country where English is an official language. Forty percent of the Japanese participants have received either a master's degree or a doctorate abroad, whereas 320 of non-Japanese participants received a master's degree abroad. (2) Regarding curriculum practices, although both groups agreed on the preference for developing own teaching materials, 840 of non-Japanese participants responded that they actually developed their own materials. Japanese participants utilized students' favorite books or articles for textbooks or supplementary readings. In addition, Japanese participants used more Internet-based activities than non-Japanese participants. (3) “Guided reading” and “dictation” were chosen as a more frequently used instructional strategy by Japanese participants. These strategies are related to the Japanese traditional method of the “grammar-translation” approach. (4) Both groups of participants identified “Japanese students' lack of motivation to learn English” and “lack of practices of the English language” as challenging issues in their teaching. Interviewed participants mentioned that there is a need for Japanese professors to use more English in their teaching. (5) Sixty-three percent of participants agreed that students need more exposure to good English in order to increase the scoring at the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). ^

Subject Area

Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Toshiko Takahashi, "Perceptions of Japanese and non -Japanese college English language professors on their professional preparation and teaching characteristics in Japan" (January 1, 2005). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3166583.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3166583

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