August 27, 2016 (Saturday)
Towards a Comprehensive Understanding of EFL Team Teaching in Japan
August 27, 6:00-8:00, ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1 (2nd Floor) Locations
Social: yet to be confirmed
Part 1: Focusing on teachers: Eliminating the false dichotomy between native and non-native English speaking teachers
By enhancing the understanding of particular aspects of native English speaking teachers (NESTs) and non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs), teachers and students can come to make better sense, both linguistically and culturally, of their own experiences in language teaching and learning. In Japan, there has recently been a growing interest in teachers' and students' perceptions of local Japanese teachers of English (JTEs) who are NNESTs and foreign assistant language teachers (ALTs) who are NESTs hired through almost 30 years of the JET program. This study included JTEs, ALTs and their students, thereby adding valuable insights to the discussion of N/NESTs and team teaching in Japan. Data were collected using multiple qualitative methods at two public high schools in order to examine the perceptions of JTEs and ALTs. Findings suggest that political, cultural and educational contexts, as well as the teachers' traits as N/NESTs, crucially affected the participants' perceptions. In conclusion, I discuss the importance of eliminating the false dichotomy between NESTs and NNESTs and provide implications for language teachers, students, teacher educators and policy makers.
Part 2: Focusing on practices: Unpacking team teachers' and students' perceptions of team-teaching practices
In this study I explored the perceptions of JTEs, ALTs and their students of team-teaching practices. Data were collected from two pairs of team teachers and four of their students in two high schools via a myriad of qualitative methods, including interviews, pair discussions and focus group discussions. Findings suggest that the participants considered team-teaching practices to be: unique, because of the participation of a native English speaker in the team, and also because of the particular nature of teamwork by both teachers; open-ended, due to vague definitions; and less important than other commitments at school. The complex perceptions derived from the participants' personal experiences, contextual factors and research conditions.
Biography: Takaaki Hiratsuka is an Associate Professor at University of the Ryukyus. He received his PhD from University of Auckland, New Zealand. His research and teaching interests lie in the areas of teacher education, teacher research and qualitative research methods.
September 10, 2016 (Saturday)
Creating Supplementary Materials for Reading Classes
September 10, 18:00-20:00, ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1 (2nd Floor) Locations
Social: yet to be confirmed
Reading is a complex process that integrates numerous sub-skills, ranging from lower-order decoding skills to higher-order skills that integrate context and background knowledge into the comprehension process. Although reading instruction must aim to develop proficiency in higher-order skills, learners must automatize lower-order skills before they can access higher-order skills. I will briefly argue that commercial reading textbooks often neglect lower-order skills so it is important for classroom teachers to create supplementary tasks that address their students' needs. I will spend most of the presentation time demonstrating how to create simple supplementary reading tasks using typical word-processing software and other free or inexpensive tools available from the internet. The emphasis will be on "low-floor, high-ceiling" tasks that benefit low-proficiency learners through intensive mechanical practice, but provide higher-proficiency learners with extensive practice necessary to develop reading fluency.
Biography: Trevor Holster is a language instructor at Fukuoka University and is the Publication Chair of the JALT Testing and Evaluation SIG. He has taught English in Japan since 1996. His current research focus is on measuring the difficulty of extensive reading materials. Other research interests include vocabulary acquisition and testing, peer assessment, and speaking assessment.
October 15, 2016 (Saturday)
Behavioral Economics for Your Classroom
October 15, 18:00-20:00, ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1 (2nd Floor) Locations
Social: yet to be confirmed
Behavioural economics is the study of how psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors affect decision making. Despite its name, many of the findings uncovered in this emerging field have many practical benefits in the classroom. Just a few small changes and additions to everyday classroom activities can provide an extrinsic motivational boost that can increase engagement with the target language and in turn increase students' intrinsic motivation. This presentation will cover a number of findings from behavioural economics research, while relating each one to a number of techniques and tips the presenter has used and that teachers can use in the classroom to motivate their students. The ideas introduced can be used with students of any age and in almost any classroom context. The audience will be invited to share their own ideas and tips and to think of how they can incorporate some of the motivational techniques introduced into their current classroom routines.
Biography: Arthur Rutson-Griffiths is Assistant Director of the Bunkyo English Communication Centre at Hiroshima Bunkyo Women's University. He has been teaching English for six years, mostly in Japan.
July 9, (Saturday)
Language Learning and Listening:
Reducing Anxiety, Improving Ability and Assessing Difficulty
Venue: Hummingbird (Shigematsu bldg. #302) (Click here for our maps page)
Abstract: In the first part, I will talk about the impact of anxiety on foreign language learning. I personally became interested in this area of research from my experiences learning and using Japanese. Although the majority of anxiety-related research focuses on speaking, my research is on foreign language listening anxiety. I conducted a medium-sized study with 176 undergraduate students who were enrolled in compulsory EFL classes for non-English majors at four universities. In this talk, I will talk about the design of the study in both practical and theoretical terms. I will also describe the relationship between listening anxiety and performance on the one-way listening tasks based on the listening section of the TOEIC test. Finally, I will conclude with some ideas for dealing with listening anxiety in the classroom.
In the second part, I will demonstrate a listening website that I have been making for an ongoing KAKEN-funded project. Listening materials were collected from a number of sources to ensure that a variety of text types (e.g. problem-solution, discussion, interview, telephone message, news report etc.) of varying levels of difficulty. I will share preliminary results and give practical suggestions for those who are considering setting up a similar system for their students.
Biography: Adam Murray is an experienced educator who is currently teaching at Miyazaki International College. For almost a decade, Adam has been teaching English as a Foreign Language to Japanese university students. His research interests are listening instruction, materials development, and assessment. His currently the coordinator of the JALT Materials Writers Special Interest Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Social: 2016 BEER GARDEN
IMS 14 F Beer and Highball Sky Garden
Saturday June 25th 2-5pm, & Sunday 26th 10am-2pm.
The Evolution of Business Language Training in Japan
Featured Presenters: Michael Handford, Andrew Vaughan & Hiromasa Tanaka
Venue: ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 2, 2nd Floor
The aim of this event is to throw light on the various ways that Business English is being learned, taught and used in workplaces in Japan.
Drawn together will be corporate, academic and private business English teachers and researchers to discuss current teaching practices and the evolution of this field.
Biography: Featured Presenters: Michael Handford, Andrew Vaughan & Hiromasa Tanaka
Professor Mike Handford is from Cardiff University and will present via video presentation. He is planning on using data and examples from construction industry meetings, and is the co-author of the corpus based Business Advantage textbook. Andrew Vaughan is the GM of a company which customizes language/communication skills programs for Japanese and foreign-owned companies. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience about how the Japanese corporate language training field has evolved, and will bring his interests in testing and evaluation to show the return on investment in language programs. He is also the author of Get Ready for Business. Professor Hiromasa Tanaka from Meisei University has published 78 articles and books on business discourse and human resource development. He took time out before his Association of Business Communication in Cape Town presentation earlier this year to give a fascinating interview to the Business Communication SIG newsletter earlier this year (accessible from our website). So we are honored that he has time to come and discuss the impacts of corporate language change with us in Fukuoka.
May 28, (Saturday)
Students' Voices Regarding The Use Of Technology In And Out Of The Classroom
Suzy Connor (Nagasaki University)
May 28, Saturday 6:00-8:00 PM
Venue: ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 2 / 2F
1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City
In addition to traditional methods of study, the new technology greatly expands the possibilities in and out of the classroom in terms of teaching, homework and independent study. Teachers often share how they use the new technologies with each other, but what do the students think? Students at mid-level and high-level universities were surveyed via 2 separate essays about what they liked and disliked about various types of technology in the classroom, and their favorite ways to study on their own. Regarding studying on their own, it was pointed out to them that this does not include the assigned e-learning unless they liked it enough to continue using it. When reflecting on teaching practices, taking into account the students' concerns and opinions can help teachers plan a more effective classroom.
Biography: Suzy works full time at Nagasaki University and part time at Kurume University School of Nursing. Research interests include Medical English, TOEIC/TOEFL, and of course, using Harry Potter in any way possible in those 2 areas!
April 23, (Saturday)
Two shorter presentations:
"Increasing Gender Equality in the Classroom" Sara Hendricks
"Freeing up Fluency in a Silent Speaking Class" Steve Paton
ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1/2F
Afterwards:Social: Morris Hippo
"Increasing Gender Equality in the Classroom"
Although Japan is a world leader in industry, economics, and education, it lags significantly in gender equality. This study conducted at a university in Japan identified viewpoints on gender roles held by 141 freshman students. It tested the ability of classroom activities and discussions to change students' stereotypical views as well as any effects male versus female instructors might have on that change. The results show that most students have a high desire for personal and societal change. Results from stereotypical testing activities showed that students with female instructors showed significantly fewer stereotypical responses throughout the semester than students with male teachers. This information can be used to guide hiring decisions, curriculum development and classroom activities as educators strive to increase gender equality.
"Freeing up Fluency in a Silent Speaking Class"
In speaking classes with English majors, I’d become disappointed that students weren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to speak, and to learn through experience. Many students were using too much Japanese, or hiding silently behind their more enthusiastic classmates.
In the second semester, I instigated a new, experimental assessment design that would reward active participation, rather than accuracy or “correctness”. More importantly, though, I gave the students a comprehensive, organized explanation of my reasoning, hoping it would change their perception of the course.
I heard more English during the next few lessons than I’d heard in the entire first semester! My explanation had really resonated, and the students opened up, apparently no longer burdened by a concern with accuracy.
In this presentation, I’ll go through what I presented to the students, discuss why I think it was so effective, and show how I’ve applied what I learned to subsequent classes.
Sara Hendricks is interested in student motivation, helping under-performing students, and gender equality. She received her Master's Degree in TESOL from the UW-River Falls and has taught English in six countries--and gotten into even more arguments as to whether Taiwan and China count as separate countries!
Steve Paton has been teaching English for eleven years; firstly to international students in Sydney, Australia, and since 2009, at universities in Fukuoka. He’s interested in learning strategies and strategies-based instruction, and is a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator program.
Sara's lesson plans in pdf format:
March 19, (Saturday)
A Fluency-First Approach: Building Students’ Motivation and Fluency
Speaker: Akio Sakamoto
ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1/2F
Abstract: This presentation will demonstrate a “fluency-first” approach. This approach is especially suitable for students with low motivation and for those who are too afraid of making mistakes. Culturally, Japanese people are said to be afraid of making mistakes, which accuracy-focused Japanese teaching styles reinforce. The presenter will show some practical methods to break through an accuracy-only mindset to actively and comfortably push students to increases in levels of fluency and proficiency.
The presenter will demonstrate how to create a motivating learning environment where students produce both “beautiful silence” in reading and writing and “happy noise” in listening and speaking. This presentation aims to give interested teachers some ideas to encourage their students to read and listen extensively and express themselves extensively in speaking and writing.
Akio Sakamoto teaches at Fukuoka Jo Gakuin Junior and Senior High School. He has been teaching for 19 years. He has presented and given lectures at many conferences and events around Japan on his research of how to apply new and practical ideas to build fluency and proficiency. He encourages teachers and students to adopt his methods and to visit his classroom to see him in practice.
February 27 (Saturday)
Emotions in language learning: What teachers should know
Speaker: Keita Kikuchi
ACROS Fukuoka Seminar Room 1/2F
The presenter first discusses the importance of studying emotion in second language learning. He presents what he learned in his experience researching motivation and a new study he conducted recently. In this study, a questionnaire based on Dornyei (2010) was developed to study the motivational dynamics of Japanese college students to study English as a foreign language (EFL). It consists of the Ideal L2 self, the Ought-to L2 self, and L2 learning experience. The instrument in this research also measures these constructs. This research project entails three phases. In the first phase, the questionnaire data, collected in April 2015 from more than 600 university freshmen who attend several colleges in Japan, was analyzed using both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. In the second phase, five learners who participated were interviewed six times over two semesters from April 2015 to January 2016. Questionnaire data was also collected from these learners, to identify their initial motivational characteristics in April, and to observe the motivational dynamics with quantitative data over two semesters. Finally, using the Geneva Emotion wheel (Scherer, Shuman, Fontaine, & Soriano, 2013), they were asked to reflect on the emotions triggered by events that affected their motivational changes that they mentioned in the six interviews at the end of the research project.
Based on the results of this study, the presenter will discuss what teachers should know about the emotions in language learning. Since participants are invited to discuss and share what they have observed on this topic throughout the presentation, active participants are welcomed.
Keita Kikuchi holds a Master of Arts degree in ESL from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and a Doctorate in Education from Temple University. He is currently an associate professor at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan. His most recent publication is “Demotivation in Second Language Acquisition: Insights from Japan (Multilingual Matters: 2015).”
January 10, 2016 (Sunday)
Inspire or Perspire? Getting Students Speaking
Speaker: Andy Boon (Toyo Gakuen University)
Venue: Seinan Community Center, 2F meeting room, Nishijin, Fukuoka City
Social: D. Kajahna (Indian)
This presentation will introduce the audience to a number of strategies that can help break the silence in the Japanese classroom and get students engaging in meaningful communication. Audience members will be asked to try out a number of tried and tested speaking activities and also be encouraged to share their ideas for getting students talking to one another in the L2.
Inspire is a listening and speaking course with additional content reading designed to create a richer speaking experience. The spectacular National Geographic photos and video provide enduring images that inspire learners to discover the world in all its brilliance.
Andy Boon is an associate professor in the faculty of humanities at Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo. He has been teaching in Japan for over 17 years. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Aston University. He has been an active member of JALT since 2004, has presented at numerous conferences, and has published several articles on teacher development, motivation, and methodology. He is also co-author of Inspire; a 3-level listening and speaking coursebook (Cengage Learning, 2013-14).
2015 Bonenkai, December 5
at Plaza del Sol in Daimyo
December 5, 2015 (Saturday)
Internationalized tertiary education
Speaker: Chris Haswell (Kyushu University)
Venue: Tenjin, Office Hummingbird (Tenjin Nishimo bldg. 6F room 602 - above LAWSON)
This presentation covers recent efforts by MEXT to internationalize Japanese education through the use of English. The current language education policies in Japan mandate over 10 years of English language education. Within this context, the number of international students in Japan is at its highest level ever and projected to continue rising, as universities and other institutions of higher education view foreign enrollment and investment as the answer to falling domestic intake. The policies of MEXT are by no means unique, and these actions are in fact somewhat behind those of their Asian neighbours, but they clearly indicate MEXT’s intention to follow worldwide trends in education and sociolinguistic behaviour.
Set against this backdrop of rapid internationalization of language education and enrollment policies is the globalization of the language being used to facilitate these goals – English has developed far beyond a language controlled by a handful of countries into a global lingua franca, affected by its contexts of use. Models used to describe the language have become outmoded, and an understanding of how the language is used and changed by its users is becoming increasingly important for all stake-holders in the language.
This presentation situates the internationalization of Japanese language education in the global context of English language use development. It is intended to provide both a grounded academic background to the current state of this process and a forum for the exchange of practical ideas to assist students, teachers, and others in the industry with the knowledge they need to make the most of their opportunities in this fast-developing sociolinguistic field.
Chris Haswell has been living and researching in Japan for the last 15 years. He has presented research in Japan, Korea, The Philippines and Cambodia, and published work on the internationalization of language education in Asia and the modeling of English use globally. He is currently working at Kyushu University in Fukuoka.
November 28, 2015 (Saturday)
How Classroom Assessments Can Improve Teaching and Learning
Speaker: James Dean Brown (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa)
This presentation will grapple with the issues involved in using classroom assessments to improve teaching and learning. I will begin with several key questions: What is learning? And, how does assessment relate to learning? I will go on to argue that the key is to link assessment to teaching, classroom activities, and learning, and vice versa. In much more detail, I will show how all of this can be done in five steps: planning assessment (including knowing your options, matching assessment to learning, and promoting learning with assessment); writing items (including creating the best possible items, writing enough items, and checking the items again); compiling the assessments (including organizing the items, creating scoring tools, and proofreading the complete assessment procedure); using the assessments (including planning the administration, giving students feedback, and using the feedback yourself); and improving the assessments (including analyzing the items, checking reliability, and checking validity). I will end by discussing with the audience how they now feel they can best link assessment to teaching, classroom activities, and learning, and vice versa.
James Dean Brown ("JD") is currently Professor of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. He has spoken and taught in many places ranging from Brazil to Venezuela. He has published numerous articles and books on language testing, curriculum design, research methods, and connected speech. His most recent books are: Developing, using, and analyzing rubrics in language assessment with case studies in Asian and Pacific languages (2012 from NFLRC); New ways in teaching connected speech (2012 from TESOL); New ways of classroom assessment, revised (2013 from TESOL); Practical assessment tools for college Japanese (2013 with K. Kondo-Brown & Tominaga from NFLRC); Mixed methods research for TESOL (2014 from Edinburgh University Press); Cambridge guide to research in language teaching and learning (2015 with C. Coombe from Cambridge University Press); Teaching and assessing EIL in local contexts around the world (2015 with S. L. McKay from Routledge); Developing courses in languages for specific purposes (2015 with J. Trace & T. Hudson from NFLRC); Introducing needs analysis and English for specific purposes (in press 2016 from Routledge); and two others that are currently in the works.
October 17 2015
Speaker: Barbara Sakamoto
Title: Creative Teaching for 21st Century Learners
There's a lot of talk these days about including 21st century skills in language classes. What are these skills, and do they have any place in a language class where teachers have limited contact time, and the priority is, still, to teach English? In this workshop, teachers will learn teaching techniques to help their learners become strong English users and also critical and creative thinkers. By making every moment of class time count, teachers can help students succeed, on exams and in future jobs. Teachers can build both the traditional four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and the 21st century 4Cs (communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking) in every class.
The secret is building a strong English foundation, so that teachers can spend most of your class time using language to develop the more advanced (and more fun!) integrated skills in student-generated projects. We'll explore simple teaching techniques to do this and look at actual student projects. Teachers will have a chance to try out techniques and activities, so come prepared to participate.
After the presentation:
食堂空間 和楽 (Shokudokukan Yawaraku)
Address: 3-3-14 Tenjin, Chuo-ku (2F Hotel Ascent Fukuoka)
Date: September 26th (Saturday)
Speaker: Alexey Kukharuk
Title: Obstacles to professional development in Japanese schools and universities
After-meeting social event:
Venue: GRAND CHINA (Chinese buffet)
ACROS Fukuoka B2F, 1-1-1, Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Obstacles to professional development in Japanese schools and universities
With professional development (Faculty Development) finally reaching tertiary institutions and the focus of education shifting from teaching to learning, Japanese schools and universities face several difficulties regarding the implementation of effective professional development programs. This presentation is part of a larger study, undertaken by the presenter during the post-graduate course at the University of Manchester, which explored obstacles to professional development (Faculty Development) at a Japanese national university.
This presentation is a literature review which introduces several challenges for professional development in Japan. Namely, the presentation discusses attitudes to teaching among school and university educators and problematizes the concept of “good teaching” as a standard for teaching. The second half of the presentation introduces what are observed to be common attitudes to professional development in schools and universities and elaborates on the related to those attitudes concept of reflection.
The presentation includes group activities in which the participants will be able to share their experience with and views on some of the above-mentioned points. It will conclude with the implications of the discussed issues for professional development of teachers in Japan – both in the view of the presenter and those of the participants.
Alexey Kukharuk works as an English instructor and a facilitator at Fukuoka Communication Center where in addition to teaching, his responsibilities include but are not limited to interviewing job applicants and managing the professional development of both new and current instructors. The author’s primary research interests lie in professional development and teacher learning as well as education quality.
CLICK BELOW for Alexey's bibliography and references (pdf file).
July 2015 event
Date: Saturday, July 11th, 2015
Speaker: Branden Kirchmeyer (Sojo University)
Title: Done in 60 Seconds: Bottom-up listening tasks for beginners
Location: NEW LOCATION- Office Humming Bird
(in Tenjin on Showa Dori, between Oyafuku-dori and Futata; map
"Done in 60 Seconds: Bottom-up listening tasks for beginners"
Geared towards teachers with beginner-level or reluctant students, this interactive presentation focuses on the integration of brief but frequent bottom-up processing (BUP) activities into larger, more meaning-focused instruction. Twenty-four activities will be demonstrated, each of which serve to promote BUP skills, reinforce target language needed for more communicative tasks, and/or increase learner engagement. CALL tie-ins will also be discussed, and experimental online (Moodle) BUP tasks currently under development for an upcoming research project will be shown. Attendees will be invited to participate as students, and to share any relevant experiences which may contribute to the conversation.
May 2015 event
Date: Sat May 23
Speaker: Jon Dujmovich
Title: "Multicultural Me: Expanding horizons for intercultural communication"
Location: Seinan Gakuin University Community Center 2F (map)
After-meeting social event:
Venue: D.Khajana, Fujisaki
"Multicultural Me: Expanding horizons for intercultural communication"
Utilized in various settings for adults & university students, down to J.H.S. 3rd grade students, the activities and program within Multicultural Me provides students with an opportunity to develop intercultural and second language competency, in a manner specifically tailored to the challenges of the Japanese context.
The Multicultural Me module for intercultural communication blends task-based learning (TBL) and content-based approaches for language learners. The central aims of the module are: To deepen cultural self-realization; broaden awareness of social diversity in daily life; develop and express empathy; enable learners to open multiple channels for communication; and provide a language framework for expressing one’s identity as well as showing interest in others.
In this workshop the presenter will demonstrate and discuss the Multicultural Me activities, grounding in intercultural communication theory, methodology, and ESL pedagogy. The presenter will provide opportunities to experiment with ideas and activities in a workshop format while demonstrating how activities can be adjusted for learning stage appropriateness. Participants will be able to incorporate the ideas and activities from this workshop into their classes, and immediately apply them to their lessons.
April 2015 Event
Date: Sat April 25
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Speaker: Ian Brown (Matsuyama University)
Title: "Blended Learning with Student Smartphones and iPhones"
Location: Seinan Gakuin University Community Center 2F (map)
After-meeting social event:
Venue: Wara Wara (Nishijin Ekimae-ten)
"Blended Learning with Student Smartphones and iPhones"
Blended-learning, the mix of face-to-face teaching and CALL, has grown in popularity with the rise of CALL and computers. However one impediment has always been the need for computers and computer labs. Now with the spread of smartphones and iPhones reaching saturation point, students have effectively powerful Internet connected computers in their pockets, ideal for blended learning in any classroom. With students these days having more access and familiarity with mobiles over computers, Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is rapidly developing, even overtaking computers in language learning. This workshop presentation will demonstrate some of the ways to use students' mobile devices in the language classroom. The mobile phone use is centred around class 'Home' sites, mobile friendly LMSs, containing class information and links to online activities. The presentation will demonstrate the setup of such a home site and then show how class information, and some activities such as tests, audio links, discussion boards and voice recording of presentations or dialogues can be used in the classroom through the smartphones and iPhones. The mobile device use supplements the face-to-face teaching in a blended learning approach and can be used in conjunction with any regular textbook. It is only used when technology has advantages in language learning over traditional methods and these advantages will be highlighted and demonstrated in the presentation. Rather than being the distraction to learning in the classroom that disturb teachers, students' smartphones and iPhones can be a boon to learning!
JALT Business Communication SIG event in Fukuoka
The Evolution of Business Language Training in Japan
June 25th and 26th
Call for submissions open until March 31
JALT2016: Transformation in Language Education
42nd Annual International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning & Educational Materials Exhibition
Friday 25th to Monday 28th November, 2016
Pan-SIG Conference 2016
MAY 20-22, 2016 IN NAGO CITY, OKINAWA, JAPAN