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Contemporary roles of foreign English teachers in Japanese public secondary schools: An exploratory study



WRITTEN BY: Nathaniel David Reed   ADDED: Aug 21, 2015


This study discusses the roles of Native English Speaking Teachers (NESTs) in
contemporary Japanese society through existing literature, and the results from
questionnaires. Ever since the largest wave of NESTs started to work in Japanese public
secondary schools in 1987 their roles have never been satisfactorily specified. NESTs
are officially employed to offer students opportunity to improve their communicative
ability. However, their roles are shaped by complex professional and societal factors.
Professionally, they are part of a long chain of authorities starting at the government
level through MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology),
and down to the Japanese Non-Native English Speaking Teachers (NNEST) they teach
with. Socially, forces stemming from Japan’s social history and rapidly evolving
contemporary society mould their roles. This dissertation discusses the responses of 171
NESTs and 28 NNESTs under the paradigm of a changing society that aims to maintain
traditional practices out of touch in the modern world. To assist Japan in achieving its
‘internationalisation’ goals it is suggested that the continued separation of NEST’s
assistant status should be modified to that of an English teacher of equal status.


Download the rest of the essay in PDF here!



Nathaniel has recently finished an MA in linguistics, and his dissertation explored ALT roles in public secondary schools here in Japan. He has graciously allowed us to post his work here, and is interested in helping others with personal teaching development. Please share your thoughts below so we can begin building a community. -and if you feel like sharing, send your own works to !





This page was last modified on Monday, September 28, 2015 03:52:33 PM