Foreign teachers of English in Japanese universities typically aim to establish task-based, student-centered EFL classrooms in accordance to their modern liberal SLA teacher training. Unfortunately, most Japanese freshmen university students have limited, if any, exposure to this type of classroom. Instead, students are familiar with “Confucian,” traditional style teacher-centered classrooms that often focus on test prep, rote memorization, and grammar translation. This context of liberal systems interacting with traditional systems is referred to by Liu and Fisher as “one community two systems” (2010). The challenges teachers face as they attempt to convince incoming students to adapt to a completely new classroom paradigm are further complicated by established educational frames in which the foreigner in the classroom has typically been an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) who is often associated with games rather than serious learning. This presentation will describe the concept of “one community two systems” as it applies to Japanese university English communities before discussing strategies teachers can take to transition students to a new type of classroom while establishing themselves as legitimate classroom authorities. The “surviving and thriving” strategies discussed will include the meta use of educational past narratives to expose and deconstruct current classroom framing to create new frames, the continuation of aspects of pre-established frames, and piggybacking on localized authorities. In short, this presentation aims at raising awareness of the difficulties inherent to Japan’s “one community two systems” EFL contexts, while presenting strategies for overcoming students’ enculturated resistance to a smooth implementation of modern EFL practices.
Evan Regis Cacali, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
Renato Germinario, Asia University, Japan
Stream: Learning Environments
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