By Glenn Toh
This publication units out to discover and speak about the curricular, pedagogical in addition to cultural-political concerns in terms of ideological contradictions inherent within the adoption of English as medium of guide in eastern schooling. Situating the japanese adoption of EMI in contradicting discourses of outward globalization and inward Japaneseness, the booklet opinions the present development, during which EMI in basic terms serves as a decorative and promotional functionality instead of a strong academic intervention.
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Extra info for English as Medium of Instruction in Japanese Higher Education: Presumption, Mirage or Bluff?
As will be seen in this chapter, these struggles are not innocent or innocuous figments of cultural sensitivities or pruderies, attributable merely to petty or paltry prejudices against the predominance of a foreign language that the Japanese are not accustomed to using. On the contrary, the equivocations, contradictions and double-talk among Japanese politicians, the business elite or other interested stakeholders about the English language and its position in Japanese society are evidence of the nation’s struggles with the language—traceable to ongoing dilemmas over the cultural politics of what it means to be truly Japanese (Aspinall, 2011, 2012; Hashimoto, 2007, 2013; McVeigh, 2002; Seargeant, 2009; Yamagami & Tollefson, 2011).
This decidedly modest cohort of students appeared to be disproportionately small in number compared to the two dozen or so overseas professors, who joined the faculty with impressive qualifications and ample teaching experience. The top-heaviness of the new faculty was apparent for many to see, even though within a short period of three years, the original number of overseas professors was halved by way of repeated spates of resignations (see Chap. 10). The reasons for these resignations were numerous and motley: unforeseen vacillations and turnarounds in management decisions regarding EMI and the teaching of EAP, admission of students who were rather too weak in English even for expert EAP teachers to remediate, unsatisfactory employment or contractual conditions, unscheduled changes in senior management, toxicity of internal politics resulting in jealousy, bullying and harassment, and a sundry of problems not dissimilar to those vividly captured in McVeigh (2006) in his description of institutional seizure—incompetent or indecisive administrators, departmental fault lines, divisions among staff members and petty instances of bigotry or prejudice against foreigners at the hands of their local colleagues.
I was told that I would be teaching Reading for academic purposes. The professor showed me to his office and led me through his course website. The website was an elaborate labyrinth of course notes, course materials, course readings, student tasks, evaluation procedures, assessment criteria and assignment questions. I was told that my EAP reading lessons would be scheduled earlier in the week, to take place before his psychology lectures. Before each lecture, I was told that my responsibility would be to go through important psychology vocabulary to prime students on the weekly lecture content by taking them through designated sections of the course notes and course readings.