PAC7 at JALT 2008

"Shared Identities: Our Interweaving Threads"

31 October – 3 November, 2008

National Olympics Memorial Youth Center

Synopsis of the GALE Forum Panel Discussion

Four international researchers enlighten us with reports on their research:  in East Timor, expatriate gender and racial relations expose the persistence of colonial relations and power; in Cambodia, an English language retraining program for ‘entertainment’ women prepares them for reintegration into society; in Australia, a sociolinguistic analysis of Japanese women’s pilgrimage for language learning, travelling and careers in tourism; and from Japan, an examination of the limits of thought towards gender and sexuality in language education.



Teaching Hotel English to Cambodian 'beer girls'

Tourism and the hospitality industry are booming in the town of Siem Reap near the Angkor Wat temple complex in northwest Cambodia. However, despite the increase in employment opportunities the majority of hotel employees continue to be male, as they have attained the required education levels.

In 2006, the international development organisation SiRCHESI, launched a hotel apprenticeship program to improve employment prospects for women in the local hotel industry. The program is designed specifically for women working as ‘beer girls', who promote and sell beer in beer gardens, restaurants, and Karaoke bars, and drink with their ‘clients’ in order to make their commission. As such, they experience marginalisation and discrimination within Cambodian society. An objective of the apprenticeship program is to help end the exploitation of these women through the teaching of Khmer literacy, English literacy and occupational English, and industry relevant skills.

This paper will report on the multimodal pedagogical approach used in teaching the English language component, discuss some of the challenges faced, and reflect on the broader impact of the language program on these women’s life chances and long-term career opportunities.

Neela Griffiths, ELSSA Centre, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


This paper considers ‘gender trouble’ as a dimension of English language teachers’ experiences in international development work. I argue that international development contexts have tended to reproduce the patriarchal regimes of an earlier colonial era and provide a challenging context for a (mostly) feminised language teaching profession. Just as colonial space, away from the safety of ‘home’, was primarily constructed as a domain of masculine endeavour, so too contemporary development missions, particularly in areas designated as politically unstable, produce a masculine domain that marginalises ‘unruly others’ defined by gender and race.

Drawing on interview data, the paper explores the experiences of white Australian women working as English language teachers for international development projects in East Timor. Despite the emphasis on gender equity in development rhetoric, the women’s experiences suggest that the male dominated international development community, influenced in part by an international military presence, produced a neo-colonial space in which women were perceived as an anomaly. In this context, white women became objects of expatriate male desire and surveillance, their mobility constrained by the threat allegedly posed by indigenous male violence. The intertwined gender and racial relations established by these expatriate discourses testify to the persistence of colonial relations of power in contemporary enterprises of development and language education.


The possible problematic of queer pedagogy and/or Gender, Sexuality and Japanese Language Education

(Claire Maree, Tsuda College maree@tsuda.ac.jp)

Critical approaches to gender and language learning have alerted language educators and scholars to issues related to language education and gender such as ‘access,’ ‘agency,’ ‘gender performativity,’and ‘critical pedagogy’ (Pavlenko & Piller 2001). What will it mean to bring attention to issues of sexuality? For, as queer theory has shown, much previous research has presented gender as heteronormativity, and much work remains to be done on the complex intertwining with normative accounts of gender with compulsory heterosexuality. 

As Pennycook has shown, we must attend to questions of difference in any critical approach to language teaching/learning, however, it is never enough to merely widen the circle of identities to include more diverse representations of being. Pennycook advocates that we “engage” with difference to involve the restrictions enforced by token inclusivity. This approach is one that is echoed we could consider is central to discussions of queer pedagogy. For example, Britzman advocates a pedagogy “that refuses normal practices and practices of normalcy, one that begins with an ethical concern for one’s own reading practices, one that is interested in exploring what one cannot bear to know, on interested in the imagining of a sociality unhinged from the dominant conceptual order.” (117) To engage in this process, we are urged to â€œengage the limit of thought.” (107-108). What are the limits of thoughts toward gender and sexuality in Japanese Language Education? In this paper, I will follow this line of questioning to discuss critically the possible problematics of queer pedagogy and/or Gender, Sexuality and Japanese Language Education in Japan.

Works Cited

Britzman, D.P. “Is there a Queer Pedagogy? Or, Stop Reading Straight” Stephen J. Ball (ed.)

Sociology of Education: Major Themes Volume 1. London; New York: Routledge. 2000

Pavelenko, Aneta, Adrian Blackledge, Ingrid Piller, Marya Teutsch-Dwyer 2001. Multilingualism,

Second Language Learning and Gender. Mouton.

Pennycook, Alistair. 2001. Critical applied linguistics: a critical introduction. Lawrence Earlbaum

MAY 2008

Seventh Annual Pan-SIG Conference 2008

Gender Awareness in Language Education

Saturday 10:00 – 10:45 Room Z25 (Changed to Sunday 16.00-16.45 Room Z27)

Utilizing popular TV dramas as materials for raising gender awareness

Tatsuhiko Paul Nagasaka, Tsuda College (qwq00526@nifty.com)



Saturday 11:00 – 11:45 Room Z25

English for self-fashioning: Case studies of three Japanese women

Yoko Sabatani, Temple University (yksaba@ce.mbn.or.jp)



Saturday 13:00 – 13:45 Room Z21

Should we strive to be gender-unbiased/neutral?

Blake E. Hayes, Ritsumeikan University


Saturday 15:15 – 16:00 Room Z25

Constructing gender in junior high school textbooks: observing process and product.

Thomas Hardy, Keio University (thomas_merlot@yahoo.com)


Saturday 16:15 – 17:00 Room Z25

Enhancing the non-traditional academic career path in Japan

Kim Bradford-Watts, Kyoto Women's University (Kyoto University wundakim@yahoo.com)


Sunday 9:00 – 9:45 Room Z25

So where are the working women? A discussion of gender roles in high school textbooks

Fumie Togano, Hosei Daini High School (toganofumie@hotmail.com)



Sunday10:00 – 10:45 Room Z25

Lessons from bilingual speech for the language classroom: The gender factor

Oana Maria Cusen, Ritsumeikan University (oana_maria_c@yahoo.com)


Sunday 13:00 – 13:45 Room Z25

Gendered patterns in classroom interaction

Yuki Matsuo, Ritsumeikan University (yukimatsuo814@hotmail.com)


Sunday 14:00 – 14:45 Room Z25

En(d)gendering “communicative competence�

Tamarah Cohen, Kansai Gaidai University (tamarahc@hotmail.com)


Sunday 15:00 – 16:30 Room Z25

Sexual harassment in Japanese higher education

Steve Silver, Kwansei Gakuin University (sgsilver@gmail.com) & Salem Hicks, Kyoto Women’s University


Sunday 16:30 – 17:00 Room Z25

Diversity in the classroom

Salem Hicks, Kyoto Women’s University (salemhicks2@yahoo.com)

       Hosted by JALT.  Design by Turn Left Hosting