Clearing cultural clutter: Experiences of Japanese native speaker teachers teaching Japanese in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosopy
This thesis explores the experiences of Japanese native speaker teachers teaching Japanese in New Zealand. The main purpose of this study is to analyse and understand their experiences, to evaluate the extent to which their experiences endorse previous research in the area, and to identify aspects of their experiences that may be universal to immigrant teachers in general or specific to Japanese immigrant teachers in the New Zealand context.
This study therefore adopts a qualitative research approach. Findings emerge mainly from the analysis of interviews with twenty-five Japanese native speaker teachers and are supplemented by fifty-two written survey responses. Major themes include ways that the teachers’ backgrounds influenced their career development decision-making process; differences that teachers expected and found in teaching in New Zealand; difficulties that teachers encountered in New Zealand schools; adjustments that teachers made to fit into teaching in New Zealand; adaptation strategies that they adopted to work effectively in the New Zealand cultural environment; and the teachers’ perceptions of working well as Japanese language teachers in New Zealand.
The main findings reveal that the teachers confronted difficulties and challenges similar to those of all beginning teachers, but in their case, specific values they held enabled them to develop useful teaching strategies peculiar to them and make successful adaptations to the New Zealand teaching environment. This successful outcome was influenced by their additional learning experience of having gone through the complexity in teacher development as immigrants.
Previous research demonstrated that teachers’ experiences and their values influenced curriculum making, the teaching process and classroom organisation. My research extended these findings by describing more specifically the values and strategies that my participant teachers adopted to teach New Zealand students. In addition to the suggestions made for other teachers, several recommendations are made for future research. This study concluded that immigrant teachers need to continue their learning, utilise skills previously acquired in their own countries, and participate in the new society to make successful adaptation.
Subjectsexperiences of Japanese teachers
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