Diversity and inclusion have become forefront topics of discussion in academic and professional institutions in recent years. As educators, we are responsible for creating environments where a diverse population of students can communicate beyond differences and learn from each other. While this educational mission is widely recognized, we have not sufficiently examined the extent to which a culture of diversity and inclusion has been fostered and actually practiced within our professional community, whose demographic composition can be seen as showing disproportional representations of “native speakers.” According to the Japan Foundation survey conducted in 2015, 77.3% of Japanese language instructors in North America were “native speakers” of Japanese. This is the largest percentage of all the world regions.
Given the circumstance, critical reflection on our training, recruiting, and professional development practices is urgently needed. To this extent, the proposed session aims to provide space for candid and constructive dialogues by posing the following questions: