Home> Archive> 2024> Volume 14, Number 2, 2024
IJSSH 2024 Vol.14(2): 65-72
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2024.14.2.1195

Recent Challenges for Foreign English Teachers in Japan

Robert William Long1,* and Rong Zhang2

1. Department of Foreign Languages, Institute of Liberal Arts, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan
2. Department of Design Technology, Faculty of Design, Nishinippon Institute of Technology, Japan
Email: long@dhs.kyutech.ac.jp (R.W.L.); zhang@nishitech.ac.jp (R.Z.)
*Corresponding author
Manuscript received September 4, 2023; revised October 1, 2023; accepted January 19, 2024; published April 18, 2024.

Abstract—Japanese students are suffering from English learning. Data show that Japanese students fail to demonstrate desirable English proficiency despite decades-long efforts and promotion from the Japanese government. Foreign (native) teachers have helped with the development of English teaching in Japan in many respects, serving not only as teachers conveying language knowledge to students but also as representatives of foreign cultures helping students to appreciate incentives to learn about intercultural communication. The main emphasis of this study is to identify the problems with foreign English teachers in Japan to see whether there are any commonalities in the opinions of foreign EFL teachers related to cross-cultural challenges, labor concerns, workloads/working conditions, psychological and emotional well-being, which may have a negative impact on English education. The findings of surveys and semi-conducted interviews revealed that teachers’ perceptions of their teaching approaches were generally acceptable and unproblematic, and they seem to have received fair evaluation and support from their colleagues. The stress and demands on teachers were often excessive with increased administration, which consumed the energy of English teachers while not contributing to the improvement of teaching effectiveness. Although foreign teachers generally have positive outlooks on their own experience, their advice tends not to be taken seriously or given credit for their innovations or accomplishments. Cultural conflicts sometimes cause trouble for them. Foreign teachers should learn about Japanese culture and try to change their perspective in thinking to achieve a better understanding of intercultural communication. 

Keywords—foreign teacher, English teaching, intercultural communication, labor issue in Japan


Cite: Robert William Long and Rong Zhang, "Recent Challenges for Foreign English Teachers in Japan," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 65-72, 2024.

Copyright © 2024 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).


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