No Identical Paths to Japanese High School Teachers’ Teaching English in English: What the TEM Analyses Tell Us


The Trajectory Equifinality Modeling (Valsiner & Sato, 2006) is an analytical method to identify the path taken by those who have reached a goal such as teaching English in English (TEE). The current research individually interviewed three female high school teachers in Okinawa, Japan, and investigated what events occurred and influenced them to carry out TEE using this TEM approach. Japan recently undertook a major reform to the course of study by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). This has brought increased pressure on secondary school English teachers on top of the previous guidelines published in 2008 that stated that high school English classes should be taught in English. Still, a 2019 survey by the MEXT reports the reluctancy among many English teachers to conduct TEE even with their sufficient proficiency. Therefore, the current research aims to discover what are enhancing/discouraging factors towards the English-only classroom in Japan. The participating teachers were alumni of the university where the author teaches. They were classmates and all teaching at public high schools in Okinawa with more than 10 years of teaching experience. TEM analyses on their 60- to 90-minute interviews illustrated their journey towards the Equifinality Point of TEE. Among the various Bifurcation Points such as “studying abroad”, “graduation”, “teaching workshop”, and so on, the inevitable “school transfer” was a key factor in promoting/demoting their TEE. Their Obligatory Passage Points varied; however, the research showed common, strong influence by practitioner teachers including each other.

Author Information
Mitsuyo Toya, University of the Ryukyus, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: OCE2020
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon