Hidden Motives: An Analysis of Online ESL Teacher Hiring Practices in Japan and Hong Kong
Law, Winnie W.
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Hidden Motives: An Analysis of Online English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Hiring Practices in Japan and Hong Kong is a qualitative research paper examines and compares two large-scale Asian English language teaching programs: Japan’s Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme (JET Programme, 2010) and Hong Kong’s Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Scheme (NET Scheme, 2013). Both government sponsored programs recruit internationally and invite participants to work within each country’s public schools while living amongst local communities and both programs utilize their online presence to attract, inform, and recruit individuals. The purpose of this research is to investigate whether the JET and NET websites are transparent with their governmental motives aside from improving their students’ English language abilities. While JET and NET websites were interrogated, the research questions were regularly revisited to determine if the two sites made any underlying motives clear to the candidates. The research, supported by academic literature, exposed the JET Programme website to be a branch of the Japanese government’s soft power campaign, whereby JET teachers were hired firstly as potential advocates for Japan and Japanese culture rather than English teachers. Conversely, the NET Scheme appeared to be solely commissioned for English language improvement as reflected by their website. Findings from the research can provide insight to applicants to help them decide if they want to participant in these programs. Without clearly understanding the background that motivates these programs, participants may unknowingly be used to support the host government’s agendas.