Teachers’ Agency and Educational Development: The Case of Secondary CLIL Teachers in Japan

Conference: The Asian Conference on Education (ACE2021)
Title: Teachers’ Agency and Educational Development: The Case of Secondary CLIL Teachers in Japan
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Kana Seki, Waseda University, Japan


Over the past decade, content and language integrated learning (CLIL) has gained attention as an innovative language pedagogy in Japanese educational contexts. Previous research has found that CLIL teachers who teach subjects in a foreign language can experience extra challenges when teaching. These challenges affect their experienced and enacted teacher agency, defined as a teacher’s sense of self and a teacher’s active contribution to shaping their work and conditions. Although teachers’ roles and agency have become central issues in education and educational research, there is little research on the resources and tensions that support or limit the professional agency of CLIL teachers, especially in Japanese educational contexts. This study aimed to understand how teacher agency is experienced by CLIL teachers working in Japanese secondary schools by analyzing the resources and tensions they perceive in their professional work. The study was conducted from October to November 2020. It employed semi-structured zoom interviews with four CLIL teachers living in major cities in Japan. Each online interview took approximately 30–40 minutes.The findings showed that the target language ability, availability of time and lack of material resources were perceived as tensions that limited teacher agency. In contrast, collegial support from the teachers’ communities, professional support from CLIL researchers and teacher versatility fostered through their previous life history were found to support teacher agency. The presentation discusses how to support and foster those teachers who make these innovations in Japanese society in the future.

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