Our March meeting features three speakers from the JALT FLP and LD SIGs.
The Framework & Language Portfolio (FLP) SIG members focus on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), the European Language Portfolio (ELP), amongst other tools, and their relevance for language education in Japan. The Learner Development (LD) SIG members are concerned with bringing together concepts and research in English and Japanese to develop more autonomous and effective learners and teachers.
Classroom Diary and Reflective Learning
By Maria Gabriela Schmidt
This presentation gives an example on how to let monitor and reflect students’ on their learning and to get them involved in the evaluation process. The pedagogic approach suggested here tries to facilitate the learning/ teaching process by adapting CEFR-inspired techniques for classroom teaching. First, a so-called “classroom diary” is introduced, to give the students at the end of each lesson some minutes to take notes. Second, tasks were integrated in the classroom teaching with self- and peer-evaluation of the students. Finally, to include students in the overall evaluation, a final self-evaluation sheet was used. These measurements are intended to scaffold the process of learning and teaching and make it more transparent to the students. Feedback of students will be provided and discussed.
Speaking in Circles – Learning to Manipulate Speech
By Morten Hunke
This presentation will exemplify how suprasegmentals – stress, intonation, and rhythm – are core concepts in the presenter’s teaching at any language proficiency level. As will be shown, they can (often) be woven into the fabric of any foreign language classroom fairly easily. Many of the activities introduced are quite simple and pretty commonplace in foreign language classrooms all around the world. Others are a little more time consuming to implement: 1 and 2-minute speeches, scaffolded dialogue expansion – using generic textbook bases and featuring several cycles of (audio) recordings – haiku/tanka, performances with progress recordings, kamishibai et al. The presentation will aim to zone in on easily applicable activities that can help any teacher anywhere to help any student to engage with how they sound when speaking – beyond segmental pronunciation and not depending on the type of speech/interaction they are aiming for. (A significant proportion of the activities presented are going to form the backbone of a new seminar offered from autumn 2017 at Aoyama Gakuin University.)
Self-Directed Learner Training
By Mathew Porter
Language is a tool for communication, and identifying what you want to do with language can provide a path for improving language ability. However, students often describe their language learning goals using vague or generic language that makes it hard for them to achieve tangible results. I will explain goal-setting in relation to self-directed language learning and introduce some activities for analyzing needs and setting goals. I will also discuss two projects that illustrate considerations teachers must make to support students in their selection of materials for achieving their goals. The presentation will conclude with some observations about the challenges of explicitly instructing students in self-directed learning.
"In order to make sense of abstract thought, humans have developed a rich facility for metaphor. These metaphors are loaded with meanings to be unpacked and interpreted. Research into education has a strong tradition of metaphor analysis, utilising metaphors for education to categorise differing attitudes towards the learning process. Work such as this suggests the potential of metaphors as a shorthand for attitude systems. If this promise can be realised then researchers will have a powerful tool at hand.
In this presentation / workshop, the presenter will introduce metaphor in an accessible way, and describe a mixed-methods study which sought to examine the possible connection between learners’ metaphors for language learning and their perspectives and attitudes, with a particular focus on learner autonomy. Participants will have a chance to discuss the research methodology and connections to their own practice, as well as some innovative activities to try in the classroom."
Despite its obvious importance, listening as a language skill can often lack the focus placed on the other areas of language such as speaking, reading, and writing. Learning to listen actively can greatly improve a student’s ability to achieve understanding. This workshop aims to help participants explore the concept of active listening in language teaching. Through a series of interactive activities participants will see what it is to listen actively and how effective it can be as a teaching tool. Finally the workshop will present some interesting ways in which this concept can be applied in the classroom.
In this task-based interactive presentation, I wish to highlight some problems in grammar-based, teacher-centered, and context-poor instruction that is still prevalent in English education in Japan and show directions for change that hopefully enable us to teach English in English for greater students’ benefits. More specifically, I will discuss the importance of paying attention to form in relation to meaning and function and helping students to see the connections among them if we wish for them to develop balanced communicative proficiency in English. I hope that the audience will get some theoretical ideas as well as hints for practical applications for more effective language teaching through my talk.