Cultural compatibility in educational contexts : Japanese native-speaker teachers in Australian classroom

Kato, Kumi (2004). Cultural compatibility in educational contexts : Japanese native-speaker teachers in Australian classroom PhD Thesis, School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland.

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Author Kato, Kumi
Thesis Title Cultural compatibility in educational contexts : Japanese native-speaker teachers in Australian classroom
School, Centre or Institute School of Languages and Comp Cultural Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2004
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor M. Jennaway
Y. Nagata
L. Wales
N. Gottrieb
Total pages 426
Language eng
Subjects L
420000 Language and Culture
Formatted abstract

This thesis examines the notion of "cultural compatibility" in educational contexts, specifically the compatibility. between the culture of a teacher and that of his or her students through a specific investigation of Australian classrooms. It is argued that a "culture of learning" is specific to a given classroom context, and is formed not only by the daily interaction between the teacher and students but also by the "cultures" brought into the classroom by the two parties. It is likely that a teacher's "culture" is based on his or her own educational experience, and if there are areas of incompatibility between the two cultures, there may be detrimental effects on teaching and learning. It is also argued that since the effectiveness of teaching is likely to depend on the teacher-student relationship which is formed largely through the interpersonal actions of the teacher, a teacher's lack of knowledge and experience in the local classroom culture may be a major hindrance to effective lesson management.

This thesis examines the specific case of the classroom communication difficulties experienced by Japanese native-speaker (Japanese language) teachers beginning to teach in Australian classrooms, and identifies a number of factors that influence these teachers' classroom performance. Through a detailed comparative examination of the classroom performances of Japanese and Australian teachers, some of the specific teaching strategies perceived to be relevant to Australian classrooms are identified. In this respect, this research identifies certain constituents of the investigated culture (or "culture of learning"), which are inherently invisible and ambiguous in nature. At the same time, it illustrates the complexity of a culture of learning by relating the classroom issue to the wider (economic, political and social) context of Japanese language education.

The approach used in this research is identified as qualitative and ethnographic at both macro and micro-levels, and this approach is well suited to integrating the multiple perspectives of a range of informants and the linguistic data obtained through classroom observation. At the same time, this research is underpinned by the researcher's recognition of the particularity of the investigation, informed by the notion of "producer, process and product" (Myerhoff and Ruby, 1982). It is recognised that the researcher's own self (selves), identity and subjectivity are a legitimate and essential part of the entire research process, and therefore the nature of this inquiry is necessarily reflexive. This approach also defines the informants not as the objects of study but as "co-producers ", who reply to the questions posed with their particular "voices " . As the researcher is also recognised as a partial insider of the studied community, the investigation is defined as a process of "self-learning" and "self-development" as much as a professional investigation . It is emphasised that particularity rather than generalisability is the strength of this research and that the outcome (or product) is an egalitarian, polyphonic dialogue rather than a mere record of events………………………………

Keyword Cultural compatibility
cultural learning

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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