New Faculty Publication: Chapters in “Team Teachers in Japan: Beliefs, identities, and emotions” – Dr. Chris Carl Hale and Dr. Tomohisa Machida

Dr. Chris Carl Hale and Dr. Tomohisa Machida of AIU’s English Language Teaching Practices Program have authored chapters in the new book Team Teachers in Japan: Beliefs, identities, and emotions. Please read on for a summary of each of their chapters.

Dr. Chris Carl Hale: “Negotiating the expert/novice positions in language teacher professional development”

In the educational literature in Japan, there has been steady interest in the professional dynamics between Japanese teachers of English (JTEs) and assistant English teachers (AETs). While much has been explored in terms of how this power dynamic is displayed in classroom settings and in relation to content delivery (Hiratsuka & Okuma, 2021; Johannes, 2012; Miyazato, 2001) as well as articulated through observations and interviews with both AETs and JTEs reflecting on the “expert/novice” orientation (Miyazato, 2009), there is a gap in the literature involving how these teachers interact with one another in professional development settings away from their classrooms and their students. It is important to remember that JTEs are professional, trained educators, while AETs are primarily “professionalized” by nature of their being native (or highly proficient) speakers of the English language. Despite most lacking any formal teacher-training, the AETs language prowess often provides them access to the “expert” position in the AET/JTE teaching dynamic (Miyazato, 2009). In the professional development setting, however, where teaching experience and training should be regarded as prerequisite for access to the “expert” position, teachers’ identity formation and maintenance vis-à-vis expert/novice positioning is much less understood. In these settings, professionals are expected to cooperate and work together on tasks designated by the trainers, however, in these settings, issues of identity and power are further complicated, as Leki (2001) reminds us, because “group work evokes issues of power—the power to define others and force them to behave in ways consonant with that construction” (p. 61). Using the methodological framework of conversation analysis (CA) as a primary tool, this paper reports on-going research examining JTEs and AETs participation in professional development settings where the power dynamic is intended to be collegial and equal. The findings show JTE’s and AETs actively negotiate the expert and novice positions, and in particular, both make linguistic moves to avoid assuming (or being assigned) the expert identity, both in terms of the professional training activities in which they engage, but also in the English language itself.


Johannes, A. A. (2012). Team teaching in Japan from the perspectives of the ALTs, the JTEs, and the students. TEFLIN Journal23(2), 165-182.

Hiratsuka, T. & Okuma, K. (2021). “I can teach alone!”: Perceptions of pre-service teachers on team-teaching practices. The Language Teacher, 45(3), 11-15.

Leki, I. (2001). “A narrow thinking system”: Nonnative‐English‐speaking students in group projects across the curriculum. TESOL quarterly35(1), 39-67.

Miyazato, K. (2009). Power-sharing between NS and NNS teachers: Linguistically powerful AETs vs. culturally powerful JTEs. JALT Journal31(1), 35-62.

Miyazato, K. (2001). Team teaching and Japanese learners’ motivation. The Language Teacher25(11), 33-35.

Dr. Tomohisa Machida: “Developing JTEs’ confidence towards team teaching”

This study explored how Japanese classroom teachers developed their confidence about team teaching with ALTs by alleviating their language anxiety. After implementing English language education at elementary school in 2020, Japanese classroom teachers are expected to team teach English with foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) in a classroom. Forty classroom teachers at public elementary schools participated in a five-day in-service training seminar. The teachers (1) learned their language anxiety levels, (2) practiced teaching skills, (3) experienced successful English communication with native and near-native English speakers, and (4) taught English in team teaching in the training sessions. This resulted in them reducing their language anxiety and having greater confidence in team teaching by understanding their own strengths as non-native English-speaking teachers. It was also found that the classroom teachers still had reduced levels of language anxiety at six months after finishing the training. Findings indicated that with this lower language anxiety, Japanese classroom teachers began to effectively engage in team teaching with ALTs, which helped them gain and sustain confidence in team teaching.