Assistant Foreign Language Teachers in Japanese High Schools: Focus on the Hosting of Japanese Teachers

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Greta Gorsuch, Texas Tech University

For both political and social reasons, the learning of English as a Foreign Language in Japanese secondary schools has become the focus of a variety of new educational policies applied at a national level. The backdrop of this article is the JET program, which in 1998 employed 5,361 assistant language teachers (ALTs) from various countries for the purpose of team teaching in Japanese junior and senior high school foreign language classrooms. The article focuses on Japanese teachers of English (JTEs) and their responses to team teaching with ALTs, particularly in terms of JTEs' perceptions of their own English speaking skills and English language learning experiences. Drawing from the questionnaire responses of 884 JTEs in high schools in nine randomly selected prefectures, the author also outlines patterns in assignment of ALTs in both academic and vocational high schools, providing a more complete picture of the JET program.