Gender in ELT in Japan – 20 January, 2024 @Kobe Gakuin University-MINT 17th floor

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Black Women, Intersectionality & ELT in Japan by Dr. Avril Haye Matsui (Aichi Prefectural University) and Am I coming out now? Building inclusive environments through strategic self-disclosure by Yaya Yao (Kyushu University)

日本における黒人女性、交差性、およびELT」Dr. Avril Haye Matsui(愛知県立大学)および「今、私は出ていますか?戦略的自己開示を通じた包括的な環境構築」Yaya Yao(九州大学)

Time & Location

2024年1月20日 14:00 – 17:00 JST

Kobe Gakuin University-MINT 17th floor , 7-chōme-1-1 Kumoidōri, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 651-0096, Japan

About the Event

Black Women, Intersectionality & ELT in Japan

In this presentation, Dr. Haye-Matsui presented her research on the lived experiences of nine Black women of the African Diaspora who work in Japan’s English language teaching industry. Using intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989, Collins & Bilge, 2016) as a theoretical lens, she reported on how her study sheds light on how Black female teachers’ sociocultural identities can impact workplace experiences and self-perceived identities in Japanese educational contexts. She discussed how these intersections provoked differing perceptions of Blackness among the participants and how this resulted in various interpretations of race and racism. Additionally, she discussed how the intersection of her participants’ race and gender influenced their experiences within their various workplaces and often their approaches to pedagogy. 

This session encouraged educators to reflect on how their own sociocultural identities impacts how, and what they teach and how they may be perceived. Time was made available for discussion, reflection, and the sharing of ideas.

Dr. Avril Haye Matsui is a lecturer at Aichi Prefectural University in Central Japan 

Her research areas are intersectionality, teacher identity, and social justice in ELT. Her PhD research explored the lived experiences and professional identity development of women of the African Diaspora who work and reside in Japan. 

Dr. Haye-Matsui is also a co-founder of the support and friendship group, Black Women in Japan, and is the founder of the Women’s Empowerment Circle. A personal and professional coaching group for women. 

She lives in central Japan with her family.

Am I coming out now? Building inclusive environments through strategic self-disclosure

Coming out as LGBTQIA+ is a lifelong process. As educators, the ways we feel able to express our layered identities impact our relationships with students and colleagues (Simons et al., 2021). This in turn has major implications for our mental health. A number of studies have explored the ways in which LGBTQIA+ educators navigate expressions of their sexual orientation and gender identity in professional settings. Fewer (e.g., Ellis, 2020; Grote, 2020; Mizzi et al., 2021; Moore, 2023; Smith, 2020) have addressed the experiences of foreign teachers in Japan. In this session, Yaya will share stories about these navigations in both international and public school settings in Japan. Interactive discussion will focus on strategic teacher disclosure as a tool for building inclusive environments and centering intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1992).

Yaya Yao (MEd, OCT) is an arts-based educator, poet, editor, and doctoral researcher at Kyushu University’s Faculty of Design. Over the past 20 years, she has taught in NGO, school, and university settings in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand. Yaya was born and raised in Tkaronto, on ceded and unceded territories traditionally stewarded by several Indigenous nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit. She is the author of Flesh, Tongue and lead writer of the Educators Equity Companion Guide.

Gender in ELT in Japan flyer