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Help Towards More Culturally Responsive Classroom Management
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pnksweater wrote:
For discipline in the Japanese school system, the go to person is the studentís home room teacher. If he or she is heavily involved in a serious club activity (like baseball), the coach will have the greatest amount of leverage with that student. Use them sparingly. Chances are good they will discipline by tearing the student a new one. Iíve seen more kids smacked around in the staff room than I care to admit, too.
Yes, use HR teachers and sports coaches. And my personal feeling is not to worry how they handle it, as long as the situation gets resolved. This is a matter for the local culture, not western ways to dominate.

Quote:
I find Japanese students much more willing to express themselves in writing than in speaking activities.
This works only if they actually have enough writing ability. Most do not, IMO. I've them a clear purpose and make it something valuable and clearly practical or useful.

Aynnej's wrote that here were no negative consequences. So true! There is no corporal punishment and academic probation. Punishment usually centers on shame.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr_Monkey wrote:
I never said it was a conscious decision. Not all curricula are planned, overt or, indeed, intentional.



Yes, right. You never said that. Thanks for this. I think we deal with a heck of alot of unconscious decisions when we explore topics such as this. Doesn't make the issue any less valid though. Actually makes it even more interesting.

pnksweater wrote:
Quote:
I highly recommend observing some of the other classes at the school.


Yes, thank you. This is a very doable and possible effective approach to close the gap.

Actually, because I am the only teacher that does the team teaching with a Japanese teacher in conjunction with solo teaching - I do feel like I am associated, somewhat, to that Japanese Classroom Management model.


I can try an organize something. Maybe we can make a note to all the Japanese teachers that we would like to "sit in" on their classes and even participate if they want. We have quite a few free periods. We can attach schedules to the note and see who bites.

I think the students, even subconsciously, might behave outside the Japanese classroom management models more so with their English classes due to the fact that they instinctually detect, to a variable degree, that we don't have a deep and communicative role with the Japanese teachers. I think this affects accountability in all kinds of ways - right down to what gets to Mom and Dad.

Anyone else think this accounts for alot in our Japanese Classroom Management?
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Well, you did say it was "one of the primary functions of the Japanese compulsory English curriculum" (emphasis was yours). I guess that was the confusing part.
You're right. I think, I should have used the term 'outcome' rather than 'function'.
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Mr_Monkey



Joined: 11 Mar 2009
Posts: 661
Location: Kyuuuuuushuuuuuuu

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japanology wrote:
Anyone else think this accounts for alot in our Japanese Classroom Management?
The one thing I've taken home from my experience in Japanese state education (which is very limited) is that there is little accountability. Kids just don't - arguably can't - fail in Japan. Therefore, when there's someone around from outside their directly relevant social structure, they dick about.

I would also point out that Japanese society itself works to put outsiders into 'special' positions. Japan has a long tradition of importing skilled labour in order to meet local demand, at least with regards to FL education. Such imports are there to provide flexibility in the workforce, not reshape it. This is, I feel, important because it puts the imported labour in the position of being a guest with a function rather than someone who is there to facilitate change.

In my opinion, this leads to the 'Super Happy Gaijin-Monkey Shine Time' phenomenon - for many ALTs, this manifests itself in them not being taken seriously by either the JTE or the student. Obviously, this isn't true all the time, but I suspect that if you have learners who are used to this model of English teaching, and they happen to also be in the majority in the class or 'opinion leaders', the kind of outcome you describe is a possibility.
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Japanology



Joined: 17 May 2012
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again everyone for your input on this issue.

I'm doing my Master's Thesis on Culturally Responsive Classroom Management in the Foreign Language Classroom. Your input is a really big help to getting me thinking and focusing on the right areas.

Can I bounce something off you guys again?

As you know - ALTs in Japan are not responsible for classroom management. And- maybe justifiably so. They are not licensed teachers, and therefore not bound by code and responsibility to maintain safety and order as their Japanese colleagues are.

However, at my school (outside Japan )- we are licensed teachers and my documentation for my school states that I am responsible for maintaining safety, order, and a workable learning atmosphere - to me, this means - Classroom Management. However - my documentation also states that we are to avoid disciplining students on an individual basis.

So What would an appropriate culturally responsive classroom management model such as this look like?

I have resorted to holding up pictures that indicate "silence please" or "look at me please" and/or using my voice, but the result has been mixed at times and usually just steals alot of energy from classroom teaching and learning.

What do you think of this analogy?:

What if we had a school located in a neutral country with an ethnic white student and teacher population and we hired some teachers with an ethnic Japanese background because we needed their native language BUT we made it so that they cannot discipline the students - only the ethnic white teachers can.

Is this not similar to my scenario? Is it just me or does something seem off here? A part of me feels like I've been duped into consenting to my own ethnic and cultural discrimination when I think like this. Maybe I'm looking at this wrong? Any feedback on this is very welcome.



Again - Thanks for your time and input on this?
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Cool Teacher



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 926
Location: Here, There and Everywhere! :D

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite interesting sir! Is your school one of these types of schools?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihonjin_gakk%C5%8D

Wink
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japanology wrote:
As you know - ALTs in Japan are not responsible for classroom management. And- maybe justifiably so. They are not licensed teachers, and therefore not bound by code and responsibility to maintain safety and order as their Japanese colleagues are.


We're not supposed to be, but the reality is... that yeah, I am. Either because I am the only teacher (again, not supposed to happen, but it does) or because the JTE is incapable of classroom management and actively desires my input.

Not all of us are unlicensed. 99.9% aren't, but a few are. I would have been if I hadn't been concerned about what US state I wanted to teach in originally. US states are often not reciprocal. One certification does not permit you to go elsewhere, unlike Japan. And I only needed an additional few hours when I worked on my MA to complete my Texas certification, if I thought Japan cared. Which it does not.

Likewise, if Japan actually had an easy way of going from ALT -> JTE, there would be takers. As it is, I am going the hard way, and I have every intention of completing my Japanese teaching licensing process. I personally think this should be mandatory, but you know, no one cares what I think.

Quote:
However, at my school (outside Japan )- we are licensed teachers and my documentation for my school states that I am responsible for maintaining safety, order, and a workable learning atmosphere - to me, this means - Classroom Management. However - my documentation also states that we are to avoid disciplining students on an individual basis.


...That sounds like doublespeak. If you have a discipline problem "locus" (one or two students which rile up the entire class), you have to be able to call those students out individually for the good of the whole. Not being able to approach problem individuals undermines the entire point of classroom management.

Quote:
What if we had a school located in a neutral country with an ethnic white student and teacher population and we hired some teachers with an ethnic Japanese background because we needed their native language BUT we made it so that they cannot discipline the students - only the ethnic white teachers can.


I would say it was stupid. But then I already think it is. We also wouldn't hire unqualified Japanese college graduates. We would hire Japanese college graduates with degrees in education who studied "kokugo." Preferably they would be certified/licensed, but we would at least expect them to have graduated with the proper degree, to have completed student teaching, and to just in general have ideas about pedagogy.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kionon,
I am guessing that Japanology meant ALTs are not licensed teachers, as in licensed from Japan. Perhaps Japanology meant that unless one has the training, language skills, and perhaps the ethnic heritage to handle Japanese students, they shouldn't.

Yes, situations arise when ALTs are alone or simply faced with a hopeless JTE/HR teacher. That obviously needs fixing. Still, I would question the legality of an ALT disciplining students. It would be interesting to know what the policy or contract clauses state from ALT employers and BOEs.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to me that Japanology is suggesting that the Japanese students believe only Japanese teachers with Japanese teaching licenses should be able to discipline them. However, as Japanology is a licensed teacher in the country where the school is located, I imagine that it is not the case that Japanology believes s/he lacks the training or skills to handle students. Japanology's analogy is a good one. I would not expect to go to, say, a DoD school in Yokosuka that hired a licensed Japanese teacher of Japanese and then tell that licensed Japanese teacher they couldn't be allowed classroom management because they don't have a US state certification or because they're Japanese. That would be, quite rightly, stupid.

The issues with ALTs and legality stems from the same issue I harp on in every thread. Native English speakers do not have access to streamlined programs which would certify them to teach in Japanese public schools and/or home country certifications are not recognised by Japanese public schools. Until that changes, of course ALTs are (and in most cases, probably should be) legally barred from being the main teacher. The solution? ALT -> JTE/NTE, properly certified/licensed.

But of course, Japan won't do that, because it makes too much damn sense.
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Tsian



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kinon: I'm curious, is it common for a country to recognize teaching licenses issued in by another country?
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tsian wrote:
Kinon: I'm curious, is it common for a country to recognize teaching licenses issued in by another country?


I'm sure it's not. But it also is uncommon to put foreigners in public school classrooms. If you're going to do it, it seems reasonable to me that they be certified either in their home countries or in the countries they are teaching in.

LOGIC.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kionon,
Do you understand what training and education a JTE goes through? It doesn't assume just because that person is Japanese that they know how to deal with students' psychology and social problems, so it gives them just that education/background.

You don't have that even with your foreign credentials.
Most ALTs certainly don't.
Your command of Japanese is less than perfect, by your own admission, and it's probably better than most ALTs'.

Think about it. It's not the students who perceive that teachers with J education should be disciplining them.

J parents who hear about foreigners disciplining their children in public schools will probably not like it, nor should they.

Whether it's in your contract or not, please tell us what Interac's policy is on this (that is directed to any Interac employee).
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Do you understand what training and education a JTE goes through? It doesn't assume just because that person is Japanese that they know how to deal with students' psychology and social problems, so it gives them just that education/background.


I've looked over a description of the curriculum more than once. I think the links are even posted on here.

Quote:
You don't have that even with your foreign credentials.


I don't have adolescent psychology? Yes, I do. I refuse to believe the claims of Japanese essentialism that would have us believe Japanese students are somehow unique, and not just, you know, teenagers.

Quote:
Most ALTs certainly don't.


Almost all don't because they have no education background.

Quote:
Your command of Japanese is less than perfect, by your own admission, and it's probably better than most ALTs'.


And probably never will be perfect. Not without years of full time study.

Quote:
Think about it. It's not the students who perceive that teachers with J education should be disciplining them.

J parents who hear about foreigners disciplining their children in public schools will probably not like it, nor should they.


I concur it is, or at least includes J parents. Do not agree they should have an issue with foreigners disciplining their children. If the foreigners are unqualified, certainly, but it is the lack of qualifications which is the issue, not the ethnicity/nationality of the teacher. The problem with ALTs, including myself, disciplining Japanese students is that we do not have certification/licensing. The solution is to change that.

Japanology has certification. Japanology should be able to discipline his/her own students. That just seems obvious to me.

Quote:
Whether it's in your contract or not, please tell us what Interac's policy is on this (that is directed to any Interac employee).


In my interview this was discussed at length. There is nothing that can be officially done by the ALT, but firm Japanese or certain looks are acceptable. I can't say I've seen this policy written down, but that's what I was told. It's not like even Japanese teachers are allowed to punish in ways which amount to much more, the Constitution has been interpreted as classroom time is a right. The child would need to be extremely disruptive, and I've only seen that twice, and they both involved extreme violence.
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ssjup81



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 572
Location: Tendo, Yamagata, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Most ALTs certainly don't.
Kionon wrote:
Almost all don't because they have no education background.
I actually agree with Glenski on this one. I do feel that most ALTs don't have that background because when in the classroom, it's not our job to discipline the students...that's the job of the JTE, so I'd assume that it's rare for the opportunity to even come up where an ALT has to do any type of disciplining. When getting the job I currently have, during the interview, of course weaknesses had to be discussed. I openly admitted that I haven't much experience with classroom management in a Japanese classroom setting since I was never given the responsibility of doing any type of disciplining. It was encouraged for the Homeroom teacher to take care of that type of thing.
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Kionon



Joined: 12 Apr 2008
Posts: 226
Location: Kyoto, Japan and Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ssjup81 wrote:
Glenski wrote:
Most ALTs certainly don't.
Kionon wrote:
Almost all don't because they have no education background.
I actually agree with Glenski on this one.


I'm not disagreeing with Glenski. I am agreeing with him. We're just disagreeing on why we agree.

Yes, ALTs are unqualified. They are unqualified because they do not have the proper education or training, nor any certification/licensing which would make the claims that they do. Ethnicity/nationality is immaterial. I had two French teachers who were French. One from Paris, one from Marseilles. They worked at a public school. I am not sure if they had Texas certification, but they certainly weren't Texans. And even if they were eventually naturalised US citizens, they weren't at the beginning, and wouldn't have changed the fact they were educated in France and were ethnically French (and had quite the accents, and Mr. Moula seemed to speak English worse than I speak Japanese...). Was he certified? Yes. Probably Texas, but if not, France. Did I respect him? Sure as hell did. Did I like him? No.

You're an ALT, did you go to school to be a teacher in your home country? Most likely, you did not. And if you did, do you not find the restrictions on your role to be uncomfortable?
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