ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà – July 18, 2023 – Register Now!

The heat is on! Summer break is just around the corner, and Agorà is back this July with a special spotlight speaker. Professor Takaaki Hiratsuka of Ryukoku University joins us this month to discuss his research into the identity of ALTs, its impact on our personal & professional lives, and what it means for education. No matter if you’re an ALT, a JTE or otherwise, this topic is sure to be insightful for anyone involved in English teaching in Japan. So what are you waiting for — register now!

When: Tuesday, July 18, 2023, @7:30 pm JST

How to join: you will receive the link the day before the event (or on the same day!).
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Narrative inquiry into language teacher identity: ALTs in the JET program
Speaker: Takaaki Hiratsuka

For over three decades, hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals have set foot on Japanese soil as foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) through the government-sponsored Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. Although there is an apparent need for scrutiny of the lived experiences of ALTs in their situated contexts, empirical discussion and research addressing them have been remarkably insufficient, as previous studies have focused primarily on the advantages and shortcomings of individual teachers and the characteristics of their team-teaching practices. Against this backdrop, the study on which this presentation is based explored, via narrative interviews, the identities and their constructions of 22 ALTs in the JET program. It is of critical importance to understand the complexities of ALT identity because how we view ourselves, how we project ourselves to others, and how others perceive us impact all aspects of our professional and private lives, including our beliefs, emotions, development, and practices. The findings revealed that the gestalt of ALT identity is comprised of two primary categories, foreigner identity and dabbler identity, and their six incumbent sub-identities (i.e., celebrity, sojourner, English expert, assistant, greenhorn, and Japanese novice). The presentation concludes with implications for language teacher education and identity research. 

The speaker that will join us for this event is:

Takaaki Hiratsuka

Takaaki Hiratsuka is a Professor at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan, where he supervises master’s and PhD students, both Japanese and non-Japanese, in related fields of language teacher education and narrative inquiry. He received his PhD in language teaching and learning from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His recent book publications include: Narrative inquiry into language teacher identity: ALTs in the JET program (2022, Routledge) and Team teachers in Japan: Beliefs, identities, and emotions (2023, Routledge).