Students’ Views on JTEs and AETs

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Kyoko Miyazato, Hakuoh University


Team teaching (TT) is a challenging teaching approach, mainly because team teachers have restricted autonomy as a result of sharing classes with each other. Conflicts and difficulties are prevalent even when the two teachers are from the same culture. TT between a JTE (Japanese Teacher of English) and an AET (Assistant English Teacher), especially, bring about tremendous difficulties due to differences in status (teacher-in-charge versus assistant), linguistic proficiency (non-native versus native speaker), and cultural proficiency (cultural native versus cultural non-native). However, from the learner’s perspective, TT can be effective because it may lessen the learner’s stress and anxiety in native speaker (NS) classes with the language and psychological support of a JTE. In order to examine students’ perspectives on TT focusing on the roles of JTEs and AETs, group and individual interviews were conducted with 31 students in three high schools in Japan in addition to TT class observations of three TT pairs. Results show that not only the AETs’ “authenticity” and “exoticness” but also their activity-based instruction contributed to the students’ positive images of the AETs. However, the AETs’ lack of the local language skills created distance between the students and the AETs, and politically, students had a perception of AETs as unimportant outsiders. As for the JTEs, their roles as language, cultural, and psychological mediators were appreciated.