The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) has long tried to change the medium of instruction (MI) for secondary school English education. Released in March, 2018, a new course of study states that junior high school English should be taught in English. This reinforces an earlier announcement for MI in senior high schools in 2008, and now English teachers in Japanese public schools are under increasing pressure to speak English exclusively during class. However, call for an “All English” classroom has not been necessarily welcomed nor accepted by instructors. Indeed, fewer than 20% of teachers use English more than 75% in class for both junior and senior high schools (MEXT, 2019). Senior high school teachers are undoubtedly able to conduct English-only lessons, so why do they refuse to use more English in class? In order to qualitatively clarify variables that govern teachers’ decisions on the use of English, two female English teachers, each with approximately ten years of experience, were interviewed separately for one hour regarding their teaching career. The data was analyzed using Trajectory Equifinality Modeling (Valsiner & Sato, 2006). The results revealed that anticipated learning difficulties among students inhibits the teachers’ use of English because they had been assigned to schools with varied proficiency levels. It was also found that a coincidental encounter with a model teacher served as Obligatory Passage Point in achieving the Equifinality Point of English as MI.
Mitsuyo Toya, University of The Ryukyus, Japan
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
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