In a case study research project where a Western researcher is observing Japanese university students in their own classrooms in Japan being taught critical English writing by Western teachers, certainly the issue of cultural sensitivity is crucial. I feel it is my duty as a Western researcher to try to be as objective as possible to be able to have a better understanding of the social phenomena that is learning English writing in a Japanese university. One idea is to try situated qualitative research - to try to understand the situation from the students' point of view (Atkinson, 2005). Another idea is to 'remove' myself from my own prior knowledge and prejudices. As a research methodology, this 'innocence' (or ignorance?) is otherwise never really possible, since my own life experience will always affect my understanding of what I observe (Berger & Luckmann, 1966). Both of these ideas lead to dilemmas of great philosophical proportions - of trying to understand a cultural scene that is not my own.
|Journal||The Journal of Asia TEFL|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2005|
Mckinley, J. (2005). A Western Researcher in a Japanese University Writing Classroom: Limited or Advantaged? Cultural Sensitivity and the Debate on Japanese Students' Critical Thinking. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 2(3), 139-146. http://www.asiatefl.org/main/main.php?inx_journals=5&inx_contents=383&main=6&sub=5&submode=3&s_title=