Teaching at the Japanese Studies Centre, Monash University (2014)


My teaching philosophy emphasises the development of inter-cultural communicative competence. Inter-cultural communication represents the key pedagogical and theoretical basis of teaching and research throughout the Japanese Studies program at Monash University and I am proud to continue this teaching tradition through my own work. Developed by Jiří Neustupný, an inter-cultural communicative approach to the study of Japan emphasises embedding the social scientific study of culture within a transnational approach that privileges an engaged and critical awareness of cultural difference (and similarity). Crucial to this awareness is the development of socio-cultural linguistic competence and a familiarity with how Japanese language use is embedded within a variety of cultural contexts. My teaching aims to foster students’ critical awareness not only of Japanese language and culture but also their own cultural background(s) and traditions, challenging students to evaluate the applicability of their own experiences to understanding the experiences of others. My teaching approach aims to “provincialise” the cultural experiences of my students, broadening their horizons and developing respect and empathy for others.

My teaching focuses upon revealing the practical applicability of theory to students’ everyday lives and educational experiences. I am committed to a teaching philosophy which is theoretically rigorous, encouraging students to draw upon relevant critical theory to reflect upon and question the world around them. I particularly encourage students to challenge the normative assumptions which structure our understanding of the world and I strive to provide my students with a set of tools which will allow them to imagine new ways to approach culture, politics and even the scholarly tradition itself.

As a teacher and student mentor, my teaching philosophy has been firmly influenced by my research commitments to the use of digital technologies. My work at the University of New England, Australia, involves delivering exclusively online lecture and tutorial content, and I have become interested in digital teaching pedagogies. My work with queer individuals in the Japanese context has also given me sensitivity to teaching students with diverse, multi-cultural backgrounds. As a speaker of French, Japanese and Chinese I particularly relish engaging with international student cohorts, providing support not only with academic expression but also in transitioning to living in a new society.