Borderlands and Border Crossing: Japanese Professors of English and the Negotiation of Translinguistic and Transcultural Identity
Rudolph, Nathanael John
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Recent scholarship in the field of ELT posits that critical constructions of the Native Speaker/Non-Native Speaker and Native English Speaker Teacher/Non-Native English Speaker Teacher binaries in the ELT literature have oversimplified and essentialized categories of teacher identity (e.g., Menard-Warwick, 2008; Park, 2012) and as a result cannot account for contextualized negotiations of borders of linguistic and cultural identity around the world. In the interest of addressing this issue, the following study explores the lived experiences of four Japanese professors negotiating their translinguistic and transcultural identities in the field of English language teaching (ELT) in Japan, and how through these experiences they have arrived at challenging who they might be or become as English language learners, teachers and users. Employing narrative inquiry and the use of semi-structured interviews, the study attempts to provide a sociohistorically-situated account of participants' lived experiences conceptualizing and negotiating borders of being and becoming as English language learners, users and teaching professionals. In doing so, the study attempts to examine the interplay of local and global discourses of identity implicated in the construction and perpetuation of borders within ELT in the Japanese context. The study seeks to encourage dialogue in the ELT research and teaching community both within and beyond Japan, related to how these discourses might adversely affect learner, teacher and user identity and contextualized language teaching. In addition, the study attempts to contribute to debate within ELT scholarship regarding who "non-native" teachers might be or become and the roles "native" and "non-native" teachers might play in globalized ELT.