Identity, Gender and Teaching English in Japan

Author: Diane Hawley Nagatomo

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Multilingual Matters
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How do teachers who have chosen to settle down in one country manage the difficulties of living and teaching English in that country? How do they develop and sustain their careers, and what factors shape their identity? This book answers these questions by investigating the personal and professional identity development of ten Western women who teach English in various educational contexts in Japan, all of whom have Japanese spouses. The book covers issues of interracial relationships, expatriation, equality and employment practices as well as the broader topics of gender and identity. The book also provides a useful overview of English language teaching and learning in Japan.

A fascinating and insightful study of the experience and identity politics of Western female English language teachers working in Japan, which offers a detailed and absorbing portrait of the cultural, social and professional issues faced by language educators pursuing a career abroad.

Philip Seargeant, The Open University, UK

Listen to these women's voices. Feel them resonate. Learn about the many gendered constraints, attitudes and stereotypes that are limiting their potential. Think about how much the field of English language education and society as a whole stand to gain if only we could all free ourselves from the inequities so incisively exposed in these pages.

Gerry Yokota, Osaka University, Japan

Overall (these women's) narratives are varied, yet their collective resilience displayed through their stories is nothing short of admirable. This remarkably thorough text traverses historical, sociocultural and gendered discourses to present and explore the experiences of ten language teachers abroad. Graduate students and scholars interested in issues of language teaching, identity, gender, and culture will find it a valuable resource.

Journal of Language, Identity & Education 2018, Vol. 17, No. 2

It is evident that Nagatomo, as an "insider" of the Western female English teacher population in Japan, has successfully provided a powerful yet sensible snapshot of her study participants' lives that few researchers can personally access or replicate.(...) Nagatomo's volume indeed makes a significant contribution to the TESOL field for it highlights specific and real connections between identity, gender, and the profession of teaching English in Japan.

Women's Studies International Forum, 2016

Despite her personal interest in and experience of this topic, Nagatomo has made an obvious and concerted effort to remain neutral and faithfully presents various perspectives for controversial ideas. (...) These stories no doubt have relevance for any foreign woman in the industry, and would provide interesting and useful insight for their male and Japanese colleagues. To the layperson, the case studies presented here represent a window into the world of English-teaching in Japan, and an interesting look at the cultural and social experiences of the women who make up a large part of that world.

Association of Foreign Wives of Japanese, August 2016.

In her most recent book, Identity, Gender and English Teaching in Japan, Nagatomo continues to provide excellent scholarship in this field—in this instance, looking at the personal and professional identities of ten foreign female English teachers living in Japan who are or were married to Japanese men.

Journal and Proceedings of GALE 2016 Vol. 9

Diane Hawley Nagatomo is Associate Professor at Ochanomizu University, Japan. Her research interests include teacher beliefs, teacher identity, materials development and gender. Her previous publications include Exploring Japanese University English Teachers' Professional Identity (Multilingual Matters, 2012).

Glossary of Terms  

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 The Japanese Context     

Chapter 3 1980s Until Today

Chapter 4 Gender Issues Surrounding English in Japan

Chapter 5 Methods 

Chapter 6 Destination Japan

Chapter 7 Running an Eikaiwa Business        

Chapter 8 The Jugglers

Chapter 9 The Full Timers     

Chapter 10 Concluding Comments



Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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