Presentation by MATESOL alum highlights inclusivity

March 5, 2024
Caitlin Herz '26

On March 1, Masaki Oda, Ph.D. ’85 visited Saint Michael’s to present on his experience teaching English. Oda received his master’s degree from Saint Michael’s MATESOL program (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

He is a professor of applied linguistics and serves as the Executive Director for Higher Education at Tamagawa University in Japan. He is also the founding director of the university’s Center for English as a Lingua Franca.

Masaki Oda (Photo by Caitlin Herz ’26)

Oda’s lecture titled “ELT and Mass Media: What can professional communities do to help learners?” explored how news stories around the world propagate narratives about English language teaching, narratives often detrimental to effective teaching. Examples include the popular belief that languages are best taught by native speakers and the idea that the four basic skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) should be taught separately within the language curriculum.

Oda presented a “to do list for ETL professionals” with a bulleted list of tips for potential English language teachers. The three bullets were:

  • Do what we can do, step-by-step
  • Constant reflection and collaboration
  • Accumulation of knowledge and information

Oda also emphasized the changing perceptions of the English language mean that “native speakers don’t own English anymore.” Oda said the English language should be accessible to anyone, and being a native speaker does not mean you are entitled to think you have more knowledge than someone who is not a native speaker. He said that anyone can teach English, and the dialect of the language is different across all areas of the world.

Oda said his experience with the MATESOL program at Saint Michael’s guided him to become more educated on the skills needed to teach English. He emphasized the importance of the universality of language.

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