“It is very hard for teachers to make changes to policies that have become so solidified”: Teacher resistance at corporate eikaiwa franchises in Japan

| June 4, 2014
Title

“It is very hard for teachers to make changes to policies that have become so solidified”: Teacher resistance at corporate eikaiwa franchises in Japan

Keywords: 

Author

Kyle Nuske
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA

Bio

Kyle Nuske is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include critical pedagogies of language teaching, teacher training, collaborative teaching, and language learning as a site of intercultural contact. kylenuske@gmail.com

Abstract

This qualitative survey study investigates the phenomenon of teacher resistance among Japanese bilingual (JB) and English native speaker (ENS) teachers at franchised eikaiwa gakko (English conversation schools), a significant venue of language teaching in Japan. Resistance is depicted in terms of the avenues through which participants attempted to subvert or avoid aspects of eikaiwa teaching that they found objectionable or unsatisfactory. Furthermore, the implications of participants’ actions for the disruption or perpetuation of corporate eikaiwa franchises’ problematic ideological tenets are discussed. The factors that catalyzed instances of resistance included profit-centric company policies, social isolation, unfulfilling teacher roles and workplace environment. Resistance was enacted through furtive forms such as feigned ignorance and false compliance as well as attempts to directly amend policies through official channels. Generally, ENS teachers enjoyed privileged access to these means of resistance due to their exemption from social pressures and business obligations to which JB teachers were held accountable. Overall, respondents’ resistance resulted in isolated disruptions of corporate franchises’ profit-making schemes but culminated in few substantive or enduring changes to their policies and practices.

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Category: Quarterly Journal