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The Uniqueness of EFL Teachers: Perceptions of Japanese Learners
TESOL Journal (2010)
  • Joseph J. Lee, Ohio University

Building on the work of Borg (2006), this paper reports on a study of Japanese EFL learners’ perceptions of some of the unique characteristics of EFL teachers that distinguish them from teachers of other subjects. The data were collected by means of a questionnaire to which 163 college-level EFL students in Japan responded. The responses to the questionnaire were analyzed to identify the characteristics which are exclusive to the province of EFL teachers. The results of the study indicate that these learners perceive EFL teachers to be unique along four central dimensions: the complex nature of the subject matter, the content of teaching, teaching approach, and teacher personality. The findings also suggest that the particularity of the sociocultural and educational context may ultimately influence how EFL teachers and their work are conceptualized by learners in crucial ways. I conclude by arguing that if language teacher education is to provide a more nuanced explanation of the uniqueness of EFL teachers and teaching that may be meaningful and relevant to teachers and students working within particular contexts, the voices of all stakeholders involved in EFL education need to be included in the dialogue on just what it means to be an EFL teacher.

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Citation Information
Lee, J. J. (2010). The uniqueness of EFL teachers: Perceptions of Japanese learners. TESOL Journal, 1(1), 23-48.