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LINGUIST List 21.4478

Mon Nov 08 2010

Diss: Applied Ling: Nagatomo: 'An Investigation of the Professional...'

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        1.     Diane Hawley Nagatomo , An Investigation of the Professional Identity of Japanese Teachers of English in Japanese Higher Education

Message 1: An Investigation of the Professional Identity of Japanese Teachers of English in Japanese Higher Education
Date: 07-Nov-2010
From: Diane Hawley Nagatomo <dianenagatomogmail.com>
Subject: An Investigation of the Professional Identity of Japanese Teachers of English in Japanese Higher Education
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Institution: Macquarie University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Diane Hawley Nagatomo

Dissertation Title: An Investigation of the Professional Identity of Japanese Teachers of English in Japanese Higher Education

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)
                            Japanese (jpn)

Dissertation Director:
Stephen Moore

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation reports on three studies that investigate the professional identity of Japanese teachers of English in Japanese higher education. The initial research questions that guided this study were (1) What are the teaching practices and beliefs of Japanese teachers in higher education, and (2) Do Japanese teachers of English in higher education identify as English language teachers. If not, what do they see themselves as? These questions were revised and refined according to the foci of the
three separate studies.

Study 1 investigated, through a series of interviews, the professional identity of four Japanese university teachers who are at the onset of their careers. Narrative data drawn from interviews was analyzed using Wenger's (1998) Theory of Identity as a theoretical framework. The study found that the participants engaged in the same types of professional activities: in teaching, in the workplace, and in the wider social context. However, how the participants utilized their imagination of and how they aligned with these areas of engagement differed, and it was these differences that
distinguished their individual professional identities.

Study 2, also a narrative study, investigated the impact of gender upon the professional identity of seven Japanese female teachers ranging in age from their early thirties to their early sixties. This study used Gee's (2000) four perspectives of identity: as its theoretical framework. The study found that the participants' gender permeated all other aspects of the participants' professional identity. A strong relationship between gender and English language study, without which the participants' would not have become university English teachers, was also established.

Study 3 is a case study of one teacher who is at the onset of her career. The aim of this study was to uncover how classroom teaching practices reflect personal and professional identity. The data was collected through three classroom observations and five interviews. The study found that the participant's deep interest in literature was at the heart of professional identity as a teacher of English. Her belief that the key to successful language learning lies in a 'deep' understanding of the materials was
reflected in her lessons, where she taught virtually every sentence in the texts in great detail.

These three studies found that there is a conflict between the participants' identities as specialists in an English-related field, and their identities as teachers of English language. How the participants manage this conflict depends upon various issues, including their personal inclination toward teaching, their personal experiences, as well as the social context in which they live and work.

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