This book contributes to the growing field of EFL teacher identity, which is now recognized to influence numerous aspects of classroom teaching and of student learning. It focuses on an under-researched, and yet highly influential group of teachers that shape English language education in Japan: Japanese university English teachers. In three interrelated narrative studies, it examines how four relatively new teachers develop professional identity as they become members of the community of practice of university English teachers; how gender impacts the professional identity of seven female professors ranging in age from their early 30s to their 60s; and how one teacher’s teaching practices and beliefs reflect her personal and professional identity.
It is rare to encounter a volume in the TESOL field written in a meticulously researched style that, at the same time, presents an introspective, reader-friendly analysis of a very complex situation. Hawley Nagatomo's book is an important addition to the burgeoning use of narrative studies aimed at uncovering the sociopolitical underpinnings of identity constructions of professional ELT educators. Although the primary focus is on female tertiary-level teachers in Japan, readers situated in different contexts will recognize themes that resonate with their own experiences as language instructors.
Andrea Simon-Maeda, Nagoya Keizai University, Japan
Exploring Japanese University English Teachers' Professional Identity is a timely book on the topic of teacher identity that should be used as a blueprint for the topic in Japan. This is a wonderful study that has been carefully and thoroughly written. Teachers and teacher educators in all contexts can learn a lot from reading this book.
Thomas Farrell, Brock University, Canada
Although the field of tertiary education in Japan has been described before by numerous observers, Diane Hawley Nagatomo's monograph is unique. Rather than being polemic in nature, this study offers a more balanced, 'thick' ethnographic account of how university language teachers construct their professional identities. This is a refreshing approach and a much-needed addition to the literature!
Gregory Poole, Doshisha University, Japan
‘Exploring Japanese University English Teachers’ Professional Identity’ is the product of a study that has its origins in formal academia, yet it is written and presented in a reader-friendly format that makes it accessible, not only to the research community and English language teachers, but also to just about anyone interested in teaching and learning about higher education in Japan...Scholars of language study, particularly, teacher trainers, will find this book invaluable, as the reflections of the participants show that a one-size-fits-all type of pedagogical training may not be effective, and that consideration of the trainee’s sociocultural, political and personal contexts needs to be considered in order to yield best practices. Researchers intending to study teachers’ identity and beliefs will find the research methodology useful and easily replicated. Finally, this book will prove extremely useful to anyone intending to consider a teaching position in Japan. From the ‘backpacker’ (Thornbury, 2002) teacher to university teachers and researchers, this book is a must-read, as it gives a better understanding of the inner workings of the Japanese education system, in particular, the workplace culture...After reading this book, I now understand these juxtaposed attitudes. I truly enjoyed reading ‘Exploring Japanese University Teachers’ Professional Identity’ from the perspective of a language scholar, teacher educator and English teacher.
Jennifer Tan, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education, Universiti Brunei Darussalam on LINGUIST LIST, 23.5053, Tue Dec 04, 2012
Exploring Japanese University English Teachers’ Professional Identity offers a fascinating picture of the current state of English teaching at the university level in Japan…The book is a valuable addition to the libraries of university teachers, as well as of those interested in studies of gender, professional identity, English teaching, narrative research, and the teaching context in Japan…Nagatomo illustrates her points in a clear, succinct, and conversational tone, creating a book that is both persuasive and easy to read.
Crystal Green, University of Jyväskylä, Finland in JALT Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, November 2013
This book makes an important contribution to research on English language teaching through a series of studies that focus on the experiences of Japanese teachers of English in Japanese universities. It offers insights into the place of English in the Japanese higher education system, and the ways in which Japanese teachers of English negotiate their professional identities within that system. The book’s complex and detailed analysis of teacher identity, though small in scope, provides an important counter to a range of negative discourses that have circulated about English language teaching in Japan. The book has much to offer teachers, teacher educators, and researchers interested in English language teaching as an aspect of university education.
Roslyn Appleby, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia in Australia Review of Applied Linguistics, Issue 36.3 (2013)
Diane Hawley Nagatomo has been living and teaching in Japan for more than 30 years. She is an Associate Professor at Ochanomizu University and her research interests include teacher and learner identity, teachers' beliefs, and EFL materials development. She has authored and co-authored numerous EFL textbooks for the Japanese market.