Teaching English for social justice: Implications from a study of Japanese students’ perceptions of EFL education

Document Type


Document Subtype


Presentation Date

Summer 6-24-2016

Conference Name

International Society for Language Studies Conference

Conference Location

Normal, IL

Peer Review



Through the examination of Japanese university students’ experiences related to their English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes, this paper explores cultural attitudes toward diversity and the role of English learning and teaching in Japan. Drawing upon discussions on native and nonnative English-speaking teachers, this paper discusses how non-language factors (e.g., race, ethnicity) affect perceptions and judgments of one’s language proficiency. In Japan where the emphasis of English learning has intensifying, native speakers are often treated as idealized figures. To explain how the idealized image of native speakers is constructed, the notion of native speakerism (e.g. Holliday, 2006, 2013; Houghton and Rivers, 2013) is explained. Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination on the basis of whether being native speakers of a certain language should be strongly discouraged. To promote intercultural communication and social justice among English speakers, this paper suggests that teaching diversity issues, including native and nonnative English varieties, should be integrated into the EFL curricula.


English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education; native speakers; nonnative speakers; native speakerism; social justice; Japan


Applied Linguistics | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Educational Sociology | International and Area Studies | International and Comparative Education | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Sociology | Teacher Education and Professional Development

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