Revisiting Japanese English Teachers’ (JTEs) Perceptions of Communicative, Audio-lingual, and Grammar Translation (Yakudoku) Activities: Beliefs, Practices, and Rationales
Revisiting Japanese English Teachers (JTEs) Perceptions of Communicative, Audio-lingual, and Grammar Translation (Yakudoku) Activities: Beliefs, Practices, and Rationales
Keywords: Teacher Education, Beliefs and Practices, Japanese Teachers of English
University of Niigata Prefecture
Dr. Melodie Cook has been teaching in Japan and Canada at the university level since 1992. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Niigata Prefecture, Niigata, Japan. Her research lies in the areas of teacher education and university entrance examinations in Japan.
Research has shown that teachers beliefs about language teaching are shaped by a myriad factors, among them, their own experiences as language learners, their pedagogical training, and the contexts in which they work (Borg, 2003; Fang, 1996; Freeman, 2002; Lortie, 1975). How their beliefs influence their practice has also been studied, and it has been found that whether teachers consistently put these beliefs into instructional practice varies considerably. For example, while some research on reading and literacy instruction has demonstrated a clear relationship between teachers theoretical orientations and what they do in their classes, other research has found this relationship to be weak, with teachers tending towards inconsistency; in other words, not doing what they believed was appropriate (Fang, 1996). Contextual factors are cited as the main reasons why inconsistency tends to occur.
This research, part of a larger case study project tracking the outcomes of an overseas 4-month program of language and pedagogy designed for Japanese junior and senior high school teachers, used an adapted version of Gorsuch s (2001) questionnaire which was designed to explore the beliefs of Japanese teachers of English (JTE) about the appropriateness of communicative language teaching (CLT), audio-lingual, and grammar-translation activities. The questionnaire was given to 10 JTEs participating in an overseas pedagogical program to determine if consistency existed between their beliefs and practices prior to the commencement of the program. This study s results revealed similarities to Gorsuch s original research with regards to JTEs holding positive attitudes about CLT activities; however, it also revealed both consistencies and inconsistencies between teachers beliefs and reported practices for a number of reasons, largely relating to do with the contexts in which JTEs worked.