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Teaching Young Learners: English for Elementary School Education

Sunday, June 23, 2019

This event will provide participants with practical teaching ideas for Foreign Language Activities for 3rdand 4thgraders, and English as an Official Subject for 5thand 6thgraders, officially starting from 2020 academic year. With the speakers who are teaching English at elementary schools, we would like to discuss and better ways to teach English effectively in elementary school education. We hope this event will help to gain a deeper insight into professional development for teachers teaching English in elementary schools.

Speakers:

Presentation 1. Julie Rhodes (Kawai Town Board of Education) & Masayuki Takano (Nara Prefectural Tomigaoka High School) 

Presentation 2: Wakana Chihara (Kori Nevers Elementary School, Osaka)

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019

Time: 10:00-12:00

Venue: Nara Women’s University

https://jaltnara.wordpress.com/venues/

https://goo.gl/maps/g7xPwDM4sa3BorGVA

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

Presentation1: 

English has become the lingua franca of many aspects of modern life. From the macro—international diplomacy, scientific literature, technology, business—to the micro—international friendships, and personal travel. Children now live in a more internationally connected world, and English is an increasingly important subject in Japanese schools at all levels.  However, since the introduction of English as a main subject for elementary schools, there have been many questions about how to approach teaching it. Many home room teachers (HRT) are English language learners themselves, with little to no English teaching training. Understandably, many HRTs have anxieties about how to teach a challenging subject they are generally inexperienced with.  Through this presentation, we will address some of these concerns and give teachers of all levels practical strategies for teaching English actively and communicatively, as well as ways to give students more learning autonomy. Ultimately, we hope to illustrate how giving students more agency can lead to increased engagement, and a more effective English classroom that meets the needs of a globalized generation.

Presentation2: 

Phonics has been taught to children who are learning how to read and write in English. Learning phonics helps children to connect a letter or letters to a specific sound which leads to individual reading and writing. In phonics, there is a synthetic approach that teaches the isolated phonemes (sounds) first, and the phonemes are blended together (synthesized) allowing children to read on their own.

Jolly Phonics is a synthetic phonics approach which has a multi-sensory method which is fun for the children and for the teachers themselves. In this presentation, participants will be able to experience the Jolly Phonics method.

Biography:

During her years as an English teacher to both America immigrants and Japanese primary and secondary school students, Julie Rhodes has developed a passion for student-centered teaching methods.  She is perusing study in communicative language teaching for ESL and EFL learners, as well as literacy intervention for native English speakers. She currently lives in Nara prefecture, where she teaches at the preschool, elementary school, and junior high school levels. 

After finishing his Master’s in TESOL, Masayuki Takano is currently teaching English to high school students in Nara Prefecture. His academic interests includes  teaching pedagogical grammar for communicative competence and professional development of language educators.  He also taught Japanese for a year in University of Guanajuato in central Mexico. 

Biography:

Having grown up in Puerto Rico and the US, Wakana Chihara has always had an interest in bilingualism. After working in public elementary schools in Hirakata City as a JTE, she is currently teaching English to elementary school students in a private school in Neyagawa City.

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Teaching Young Learners: English for Elementary School Education

Sunday, June 23, 2019

This event will provide participants with practical teaching ideas for Foreign Language Activities for 3rdand 4thgraders, and English as an Official Subject for 5thand 6thgraders, officially starting from 2020 academic year. With the speakers who are teaching English at elementary schools, we would like to discuss and better ways to teach English effectively in elementary school education. We hope this event will help to gain a deeper insight into professional development for teachers teaching English in elementary schools.

The abstracts of the presentations and biographies of the speakers will be updated soon. 

Speakers:

1. Wakana Chihara (Seiwa Gakuen, Kyoto)

2: Julie Rhodes (Kawai Town Board of Education) & Masayuki Takano (Nara Prefectural Tomigaoka High School) 

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019

Time: 10:00-12:00

Venue: Nara Women’s University

https://jaltnara.wordpress.com/venues/

https://goo.gl/maps/g7xPwDM4sa3BorGVA

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

Using Literature in Language Teaching

Do you seek new ways to bring more of the world of literature into your language teaching practices? If so, then this collaboration between Nara JALT and the Literature in Language Teaching SIG (LiLT) is for you. Three speakers (two from LiLT and one from Nara JALT) share their expertise and experience on using literature in language teaching and enrich our access to the perennial, but often challenging world of literature.

 

Event Speaker: Kevin Stein, Mark Scott, Lorraine Kipling
Fee for JALT members: Free
Fee for non-JALT members: 1,000 yen

Date: December 15 (Sat.) 3:00 PM-5:00PM
Venue: Nara Visitor Center & INN
(3 IKENO CHO, NARASHI, NARA, JAPAN 630 – 8361
3 Ikeno ChoNara-shi, 奈良県630-8361)
Literature_Stock-Photo

The JALT2018 Four Corners Tour—Nara

Four Corners Tour Nara 2018The Four Corners Tour presents high-profile speakers from the JALT international conference to the four corners of Japan. This November, the Four Corners Tour stops off in Nara with two invited speakers, presenting versions of their JALT2018 talks tailored towards a more interactive setting. Judith O’Loughlin from the USA will present strategies for fostering resilience in young learners, and Thongsouk Keomany from Laos will present the impact of using L1 in teaching English grammar. If you are unable to make it to JALT2018 in Shizuoka, or even if you are going but wish to see these presenters up close, then you will not want to miss this event.

Date: Nov 18 (Sun)

Time: 10:00 to 12:00

Venue: Nara Visitors Center and Inn

Cost: JALT members free; non-members 1,000 yen

 

  1. First Presentation: Three Strategies for Fostering Resilience in Young Learners

Speaker: Judith B. O’Loughlin

Abstract:

For young learners, whether traditional newcomers or students with limited literacy, to become resilient, schools must create “havens of resilience” (Henderson, 2013) helping learners discover their own internal strengths, the “I Have, I Am, I Can” (Grotberg,1995; Davis, 2014).

Learners discover how to draw on three resiliency strategies to develop their internal strengths and external resources to succeed emotionally and academically in the English language classroom and beyond. Resilience isn’t a specific program or curriculum, but a process. In the “I Have, I Am, I Can” model, learners are able to develop and recognize the unique strengths they possess.

The presenter describes the model, connecting to the conference theme of addressing diverse student populations and helping to create an inclusive learner-environment. She provides numerous examples of “I Have, I Am, I Can.” Component examples described and participants will have an opportunity to reflect on the three strategies, practice with and create their own examples, as well as, share with colleagues.

Bio:

Judith B. O’Loughlin has taught ESL at K-12, adult education, and graduate university ESL/ELD/bilingual endorsement programs  As a consultant, she focuses on standards-based curriculum, differentiated instruction and assessment, collaborative team-teaching, newcomers with interrupted education, and advocacy and policy impacting ESL/ELD/bilingual educators and their students.  She is the author of chapters in several edited books, including Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Mathematics, Grades 3-5 (Corwin), the Academic Language Accelerator (Oxford) and co-author of Students with Interrupted Formal Education:  Where They Are and What They Need (Corwin). She is one of the TESOL “50 at 50” recognized leaders in the field, as nominated by her peers in 2016.

 

2. Second Presentation: Inclusivity and Heartfelt Education for ALL Lao People

Speaker: Thongsouk Keomany

Abstract:

The speaker will enliven you with his natural charm, wit and warm heart as he talks about his students, experiences,  and his work in the English Department at the National University of Laos. Hearing about how he has assisted with over 180 amazing visits of mainly JALT members to Laos under the Lao Program (THT Laos), you the audience will be moved by his spirit for life.  He will firstly offer a general perspective on the unique education  context in Laos, particularly in relation to inclusive education, before giving us an introduction to the National University of Laos, where he has worked for 22 years. In addition,  he will speak specifically on inclusive education in NUOL and the various programs, activities and policies he has worked  on related to supporting impoverished and special needs learners. Finally,  he will offer information on LaoTESOL, a unique TESOL event, for Lao teachers of English and invited presenters. He will finish with information on how to apply to be a presenter at the conference. He feels strongly that high standards of education can only be achieved by teachers who work guided by their hearts and spirits.

Bio:

Thongsouk Keomany was born in Louangphabang Province, in the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic. He has studied in Laos, Singapore and Japan and is currently working on his PhD at the University of Malaysia. He works at the National University of Laos, where he has been teaching under and post graduate students, for 22 years. For several years he was Head of the Department of Academic Affairs and now he is the  Deputy Head of the English Department, in charge of International Programs in the Department, the LaoTESOL Co-ordinator, the  LAN project Academic Advisor,  and a member of the Inclusive Education Committee in the Faculty of Letters. He is also the author of, English Language for Lao Students, Books 3-12. These texts are used in all primary and secondary schools throughout Laos. He specializes in planning, evaluation,  and curriculum design. He believes that the principles and maxims of teaching  from,   to UNKNOWN, can help his learners improve their ability to study, particularly in inclusive classrooms.

 

Teaching Foreign Languages: Diversity and Inclusion

With the 2018 JALT International Conference approaching, this Nara Chapter event explored the conference theme, Diversity and Inclusion, at a local level. There were two talks presented by three speakers.

In the first presentation, Akiko Mokhtari, a Japanese teacher of Chinese and English languages discussed her students’ diverse or different perspectives on both languages. To most of her students, Chinese is a new language and they have no fear of losing face by making mistakes or comparing their language performance with that of others. Simply put, it is fun to learn a new language, and a basic command of around 20 sentences of a new language takes learners into an adventure of the language, making them feel proud of their achievements and improvements. Therefore, the majority of Mokhtari’s students demonstrate their positive attitudes towards learning Chinese unlike those learning English, who exhibit their unwillingness or hesitation to communicate in English. Mokhtari interpreted the attribution of such differences as “Chinese = freshness” and “English = familiarity” because her students learned English for at least six years in secondary education. However, this “familiarity” can be diversified into other states such as “boredom,” “plateau,” and “convention.” As a Japanese teacher of English myself, this was a good opportunity to reflect on my own teaching. Mokhtari also discussed “native teachers” and “non-native teachers,” referring to advantages and disadvantages of both parties. Probably this dichotomy can alreday be antiquated in language teaching where the first speaker of a language is not necessarily the best teacher. Students’ learning needs, objectives, styles, and teachers’ teaching backgrounds, methodologies, practices – these are all diverse. Language teachers may need to adopt “diversity” in all respects and devote themselves to their services.

In the second presentation, Hiroko Shikata and Aki Matsunobu talked about their newly established NPO branch, SUPER OSAKA (教育支援協会大阪; Supporting Union for Practical-use of Educational Resources, Osaka). It was founded in November, 2017 as an NPO branch of Tokyo-based SUPER (教育支援協会). One of the main services that SUPER OSAKA provides is Hokago English. Hokago English is after-school English classes, where maximum 20 children from various backgrounds – including children from low income families, with learning difficulties, and with physical or mental disabilities – come and learn English in a supportive and inclusive environment in their local communities. Hokago English accepts any child except those who become physically violent towards other children. A video clip taken at one of their six teaching venues was shown. In the clip a pupil was lying on the floor away from the other pupils who were sitting on the floor and listening to the teacher. Matsunobu said, “We wait until children are ready to study with others. I don’t think those children apparently unfitted for learning in a group are troublesome. In a way, we all have something troublesome in ourselves.” Hokago English charges 2,200 yen for three 40-60 minute lessons a month. Most of the fee covers venue rental fees, study materials, and minimal pay to teachers with almost nothing left for SUPER OSAKA. Shikata said, “It would be impossible to run the class for free even though I understand some parents struggle to allocate the money for their children.” Shikata and Matsunobu strongly believe that any child should be given opportunity to learn and a place in their communities where they feel included. Lastly Shikata said, “We used to have old busybody-like adults in our neighborhood, but they always hoped for sound growth of children in their neighborhood. This is what we want to be.”

The event ended in a friendly and pleasant atmosphere. A photo of all the speakers and participants was taken as a usual ritual before leave-taking. This reunion with my chapter members and friends made me realize how fortunate I am in being a member of Nara Chapter.

Reviewed by Motoko Teraoka