Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Maria L. Thomas-Ruzic

Second Advisor

David S. Rood

Third Advisor

Mark A. Knowles


Colonialism has defined the past two centuries of English Language Teaching. Within the past half-century, researchers have identified this trend as problematic and have explored a number of new language teaching methods and approaches. The dominant approach used in the recent past and present is Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Researchers have argued, though, that this approach still has remnants of a colonial mindset creating divisions and mismatches between teachers and their students, especially within EFL contexts (Holliday 1994, 2005; McKay 2002). This environment neglects local knowledge and students' autonomy - two important pieces of effective teaching in the rapidly globalizing world. In this global context, the emergence of English as an International Language and World Englishes is gaining traction with researchers and teachers alike (Kachru 1986, 1992, 2006; Matsuda 2009, 2011; Sharifian 2009). English teaching in Japan can help contextualize these arguments. Currently, Japan's Ministry of Education employs many native-speakers of English (Assistant Language Teachers - ALTs) to teach alongside Japanese Teachers of Language (JTL) in the school system. ALTs are often encouraged to utilize the CLT approach, yet they experience `perceptual mismatches' with their students due to linguistic, cultural, and pedagogical reasons. These views were reflected in the interviews of 6 ALTs who were part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Through these interviews, the ALTs' anecdotes support researchers' and methodologists' call to create a more inclusive pedagogy and an increase in cultural awareness for more effective English language teaching.