Featured

Round Table discussion: Teacher Efficacy, Learner Agency

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The theme of this year’s JALT international conference in Nagoya is Teacher Efficacy, Learner Agency. Nara Jalt’s first event of 2019 is a round table event, where participants are encouraged to discuss and explore this theme. Nara Jalt is extremely fortunate to have Steve Herder and Catherine L. Oki, the JALT 2019 Conference Co-Chairs at this event.

We look forward to seeing you all there and hearing your thoughts and ideas on this topic. 

Date: Sunday, April 14, 2019

Time: 10:00-12:00

Venue:Yamato Conference Hall, Nara City (やまと会議室)https://jaltnara.wordpress.com/venues/

Fee: Free for JALT members. ¥1,000 for non-members.

JALT 2019 Conference Co-Chairs:

Steven Herder and Catherine L.Oki

Steven Herder’s Bio:

Steven has been an EFL professional for almost 30 years, teaching from elementary school to the university level, and is now Associate Professor at Kyoto Notre Dame University in Japan. He leads students in the Global English Course, as well as in his 3rd/4th-year Women in Leadership seminar. 

He is also an author and editor of two Palgrave Macmillan teacher resources, Innovating EFL Teaching in Asia (2012) and Exploring EFL Fluency in Asia (2014). Since 2010, he has been working with Suken Publishing on the high school textbook series Big Dipper Series I, II, III, DUALSCOPE II, as well as writing teacher manuals, drill textbooks, and graded readers. 

In 2012, he co-founded the International Teacher Development Institute (http://itdi.pro), an online teacher training community for teachers by teachers, with over 5000 members and a global reach into over 100 countries.Steven believes, “being a teacher means a never-ending commitment to learning”.
herder@notredame.ac.jp

Catherine L. Oki’s Bio:

Catherine L. Oki has been teaching in Japan since 2000 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts. 

At DWCLA, she serves as the English Skills coordinator, leading a team of teachers responsible for teaching pre-study abroad academic English skills classes including TOEFL iBT and IELTS preparation. She also teaches elective content courses and leads a seminar course focusing on Education and Sociology. 

Catherine is the author of the very young learner series Happy Valley. She is currently finishing a quantitative study about engagement and online Extensive Reading and is beginning research on a needs analysis for study abroad preparatory courses.

At DWCLA, she serves as the English Skills coordinator, leading a team of teachers responsible for teaching pre-study abroad academic English skills classes including TOEFL iBT and IELTS preparation. She also teaches elective content courses and leads a seminar course focusing on Education and Sociology. 

Catherine is the author of the very young learner series Happy Valley. She is currently finishing a quantitative study about engagement and online Extensive Reading and is beginning research on a needs analysis for study abroad preparatory courses.

Advertisements

JALT PanSIG 2018—A Conference Review

Review by Angela Wren

The diversity of the presentations (25 mins), poster presentations (55 mins), SIG forums (85 mins), and plenary conversations (55 mins) at this year’s conference was refreshing.

 “PanSIG is not just for university educators; it is also for eikaiwa teachers, ALTs, and public school teachers” – Conference Chair Jennie Roloff Rothmon

For educators of younger learners

Everyone is interested in what the future of English education looks like in Japan. The audience for Alison Nemoto’s popular Getting Ready for 2020 presentation included a games developer, a parent, university lecturers, elementary teachers and teacher trainers. Highlights of the new MEXT ES textbooks are that they are child-centered and focus on communicative language. It is hoped that the extra hours for English learning will provide more chances for student interaction,presentations, and more English input beyond the expected student output.

For teachers in any context

In The Role of Working and Short-Term Memory in L2 LearningPeter Wanner discussed how to keep students’ working memory free to focus wholly on language by breaking tasks into small steps, avoiding redundancy in excessive teacher talk and using memory aids such as checklists. In Steve Paton’s engaging talk Eliciting Student Answers: Finding what it takeshe shared practical ways to make teacher and student interaction “normal, friendly human communication.”

Using humour and cartoons to disarm reluctant speakers, he showed how he has students think about, “why are they here?” and learn to speak English by doing it!

For textbook or course designers

Two research presentations that took an analytical look at textbooks were Cameron Romney’s The Purpose of Images in ELT Textbooks Revisited and Chie Kawashima’s Speech Acts Presented in Japanese EFL Textbooks. The identification of the role of images in textbooks, and the evaluation of grammatical forms used in common speech acts were useful for those interested in choosing or creating course materials, rather than being directly related to teaching skills.

For task designers

Task and curriculum design is my pet interest, so I may be biased when I nominate this presentation as having the most original ideas and fresh content of the weekend. Stephen Case’s Incorporating the Best Practices of Game Design into Task Design went into depth on how the ideas from video and board games can be put into analogue format for classroom use. He broke down the concepts behind successful game design, and gave examples as well as some extensions to familiar tasks. We left inspired by new ideas and ways to use the concepts in our own “engaging, motivating and educational” task design.

Alec Lapidus’s Multiliteracies: Comics and Sociocultural Theory was another presentation which focused on practical teaching ideas and the theory behind why it works. His use of comics to fill in the gaps of knowledge, both culturalandlinguistic, of newly-arrived refugee students in an ESL context, could also be adapted to the Japanese EFL context. He demonstrated how to use comics in diverse ways such as visually expressing new grammar points or exploring social issues with lower language level students.

For educators exploring alternative career pathways and language school owners

The Lifelong Language Learning SIG’s Career Design in the Lives of Teachers forum from Gregory Strong, Charles Browne, Joseph Dias and Blair Thomson covered topics as wide reaching as building a portfolio career, wealth accumulation, achievements through volunteering and long term financial planning.

Grant Osterman’s School Ownership: The Unbiased Reality and John Gayed’s Driving Traffic to Your School via Google were both helpfulpresentationsfor anyone considering whether starting a private language school is feasible and desirable in their situation.

For educators with an abundance of energy

The Speech, Drama and Debate SIG Forumfeaturing speakers Gordon Rees, Jason White, Vivian Bussinguer-Khavari, Chris Parham, Cynthia Gonzales, Rachel Stuart and Angela Wren, included drama activities which got us all moving, a different take on drama using radio plays, a debate curriculum, and debate skills for SHS, JHS and even ES students. Despite it being the last time slot of the day, it was a popular forum with a decidedly Kansai presence, full of ideas, energy, enthusiasm and creativity.

The onsite JALT and student volunteers, and of course the behind-the-scenes planning volunteers, did a great job putting on an event packed with ideas for all educators. The presenters and participants of this year’s JALT PanSIG Conference were knowledgeable and welcoming, and made the event worthwhile. With thanks to all involved for another successful conference.

Are you listening? Responding to the challenges of diversity

Mehran, who, along with another Iranian speaker, had mesmerized the Nara Chapter audience with their talk about the beauty of Iran a year before, shared with the audience this year her realities of harassment around gender and nationality. Her personal accounts of the “microaggression” she experienced since she left her country revealed how people, in general, are ignorant of others and stuck into stereotyped ways of judging others. This would lead to irrational fear, anger, insult or even pity toward others. The painful path she had to go through has made her an activist and change-agent, serving as a wake-up call to all of us in the fight against macro and microaggressions. Yokota warned us that we could easily become both victims and offenders of any sort of harassment and misconduct. She emphasized how dangerously a snowball effect can happen and how important it is to deal with the initial stage of a potential incident. The audience also had a chance to look at and discuss the recently implemented JALT Code of Conduct <https://jalt.org/main/jalt-code-conduct&gt;. We all agreed that the JALT Code of Conduct should be a prototype of our professional behavior toward any human rights issues and thus permeate us. The following end-of-year dinner party further strengthened our bonds of friendship and made us look forward to another exciting year for the chapter.

Are You Listening? Responding to the Challenges of Diversity

Date: December 16th (Saturday)

Time: 13:30 – 17:00

Venue: Takemaru Hall, Ikoma City

Speakers: Parisa Mehran (Osaka University), Gerry Yokota (Osaka University

Cost: Free for JALT members, 1,000 yen for non-JALT members

This final event in the 2017 Nara JALT Program is dedicated to professional development, and particularly to the issue of diversity in our workplaces and communities. The recent implementation of the JALT Code of Conduct has highlighted the need for JALT to formalize the values that help to make it an inclusive and supportive professional network. As members of JALT, it is important we recognize and share those values, especially at times when they are challenged. Along with an overview of the Code of Conduct, this event features direct voices on the realities of harassment, and experienced views on how we can respond. The presentations will be followed by the annual Nara JALT End-of-Year Dinner Party.

Continue reading “Are You Listening? Responding to the Challenges of Diversity”

English Language Teaching through Japanese Eyes

Date and Time: October 1 (Sun) 13:00 – 16:30

Venue:  Yamato Conference Hall, Nara City

Speakers:

Hideyuki Kashimoto (Shijonawate High School)

Michi Yonezaki (Konan Women’s University)

Tetsuro Nishiyama (Todaijigakuen Junior & Senior High School)

This Nara JALT event features Japanese speakers specializing in English language teaching. Three Japanese presenters in various teaching contexts with different career backgrounds will share their practical teaching activities and ideas, and their current teaching projects. The audience will have the opportunity to ask any questions or seek teaching advice on completion of all the three presentations.

(日本語版はこちらまたはスクロールしてください。)

Continue reading “English Language Teaching through Japanese Eyes”