Event Reports

Event reports from our chapters and SIGs.

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  • Click on an event tile (blue italic text) to see the original event announcement
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Hamamatsu Chapter

Sunday, September 18, 2016
by Jon Dujmovich

The final AGM for Hamamatsu Chapter was held on September 18th. Final because from April 2017 Hamamatsu chapter will merge with Shizuoka chapter to form the Shizuoka (ken) chapter.

The officers elected will serve for the interm, then most have expressed willingness to continue as officers in the new chapter, provided elected by membership.

The state of the chapter is financially sound and membership over twenty. Programs were set until the merger (March, 2017). Members agreed to hold a Pecha Kucha event for the annual December "My Share" with a bonenkai to follow.

Reported by Jon Dujmovich
Sunday, June 12, 2016
Chiyu Takezawa
Sharoll Albarracin
Kaho Taniguchi
Hitomi Isono
Kei Yoshizaki
Minori Sato,
Akiko Sakamoto
Yurika Deno
Shota Furukawa
Shiori Miyaji

The Shizuoka and Hamamatsu chapters cooperated to hold Student Voices, an event was designed to showcase the learning experiences of students. It was well-attended and overall turned out to be even better than the organisers had anticipated.

In considerable detail,10 students from very diverse backgrounds explained and entertained to convey how they had become competent in English. Interestingly, every speaker approached learning English rather strategically. Each person had considered very specific ways to learn English such as: keying in on Youtube videos and music, paying attention to body language and facial expressions, focusing on the exact language needed to conduct business, by watching (corny) old American sitcoms, and more. Each speaker literally brought a unique set of experiences to the table (the audience had to come to their tables) and fielded many questions from enthusiastic attendees.

Later on in the afternoon the students moderated their own forum where the audience was able to freely ask questions about a wide range of language learning issues.

More photos are here:

Special mention to Nana Kunii, who helped out on reception. Presenter abstracts can be found here:


Reported by Gregg McNabb
Saturday, May 28, 2016
by Adam Jenkins

Adam Jenkins from Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology introduced a plethora of ways that Moodle technology, (including the Moodle online Reader created by Tom Robb) can facilitate learning. He made a point of referring to this as learning and not e-learning, suggesting that for many of our students there is little distinction between e-learning and learning. It is a point well taken since resistance to e-learning comes from boards of education, teachers and university instructors, not students. He showed how to use numerous Moodle features including online tests, online instant messaging, multimedia applications, and data analysis. He mentioned that it is possible to upload a lot of files as homework in order to use the classroom for different learning tasks.

The presentation took an unexpected turn when there was passionate discussion among those who value reading as something much more than a measure of ER language achievement. Some participants challenged the value and necessity of Moodle Reader and its testing format.

Reported by Gregg McNabb
Saturday, April 16, 2016
by Greg Goodmacher, Keiwa College professor (Shibata, Niigata) & freelance writer

Greg Goodmacher enjoys writing and sharing materials. The co-author of a number of textbooks, he led an attentive audience through a series of discussions and activities related to the various aspects of teaching materials, and how best to adapt them for optimum classroom use. Some areas to consider when adapting materials are personalisation, localisation, modernisation, adding choice, catering for various learner styles, providing more learner autonomy, encouraging higher level cognitive skills, and making language input more engaging, among other elements. Memory tasks were also focussed upon. The presentation concluded with teachers assisting other teachers in their endeavours to make textbooks more relevant and accessible to all stakeholders.

Reported by Susan Laura Sullivan
Monday, January 25, 2016
by Paul Anthony Marshall (Shizuoka University of Art and Culture)

Drawing on experience training workers on an Australian-run, Chinese-owned mine in Laos, Paul Anthony Marshall broke down his methods and research in using video and task repetition as an effective tool for improving language performance. Laotian workers, including teachers, miners, security guards and managers, were required to take intensive English lessons with the ultimate goal of transforming the mine into a Laotian-run endeavour. The workplace infrastructure and mining expertise were Australian-based, so initially knowledge and use of English was paramount.

Even though many workers were not well versed in the linguistic intricacies of their own language, it was expected some would ultimately receive instruction and instruct others on safety and practical measures around the worksite. The original language of instruction was English, therefore rapid acquisition of the same was expedient. Anthony and his students concentrated on the discourse elements of stress, repetition, pausing and stretching key words for emphasis within presentations. Students recorded and viewed their presentation, looking for these elements, conducted student self-assessment, and repeated the task. Using this deliberate form of noticing, improvement in language use in this setting was noted. The method is transferable to Japanese and other language students wishing to improve specifics of performance and communicative competence within presentations. Noticing and repetition can be beneficial in many language learning areas.

Anthony’s teaching experience was unique amongst the audience members, and his explanation and real life experience reflected the importance of effective English acquisition and use within the global community.

Reported by Susan Laura Sullivan
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Bogdan Pavily
Wendy Gough
Jon Dujmovich
Gregg McNabb
Adam Poludniak
Adam Jenkins
Michael Boyce
Jane Joritz-Nakagawa
Dan Mortali
Susan Sullivan

10 members presented at our ever-popular December “My Share” event. Bogdan Pavily joined us from Toyama and illustrated the effectiveness and excitement of fifty word stories. Wendy Gough explored how to expand writing journals from the insular to the interactive. Jon Dujmovich asked us to consider the importance of empathy in language learning, and Gregg McNabb demonstrated how controlling student reading speed helped increase student reading speed. Adam Poludniak explained how prediction exercises can encourage students to engage with material at a more authentic level, while Adam Jenkins spoke of ways to keep readers on track by using mreader (permission required from Tom Robb). Mike Boyce briefed us on what we would need if disaster were ever to hit Hamamatsu’s shores, and Jane Joritz-Nakagawa explored female representation in the content that can be used in the classroom, and whether gender representation was balanced. Dan Mortali went through some of the pros and cons of the life of an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in the Japanese secondary education system, and Susan Sullivan looked into how student-generated questions pertaining to allocated or chosen texts allow them to more fully engage with the content. Following, Santiago Cortez and Serena Samsel organized an end of year celebration enjoyed by all.

Reported by Susan Laura Sullivan
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Core Officers

Members and the core officers discussed the current state of JALT on a national level, and how chapters may have to rethink structures and operations for the overall health of the organization. As such, the possibility of Hamamatsu JALT approaching nearby chapters for potential mergers, was considered. A number of chapters in Kyushu have already taken similar measures.

The financial standing of the chapter was on the agenda, and we are in good health, yet we have low membership and attendance at meetings. Related to this, ways and means of promoting membership and creating an inspiring program for the following year were explored, such as holding a student voices event and offering workshops for teachers.

Reported by Susan Laura Sullivan
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Marie Kjeldgaard
Nicholas Bradley

Errors in language use – as opposed to mistakes – are systemic and difficult to correct and change. Marie Kjeldgaard’s (Aichi University) research focuses on three areas influencing Japanese learner errors when writing in or speaking English: differences between Japanese and English, direct translation, and English loan words. Using these ideas, Kjeldgaard isolated some possible causes of errors and presented students with short tasks designed to tackle them. Her results seem to indicate that error frequency varies by category and can decrease with direct instruction.

Nicholas Bradley (Nagoya University of Foreign Studies) addressed the increased popularity of including some form of “Culture” studies within Japanese EFL/EMI classrooms. His presentation explored many fascinating avenues, but especially dealt with various definitions of culture, stakeholder expectations, and whether the term “culture” holds any validity at all.

Reported by Susan Laura Sullivan
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
by Peter Ross

The title for Peter Ross' presentation guarantees intrigue, "Improvisational Psychodrama". In his extremely audience-centred workshop, Peter Ross demonstrated how simple stimuli such as pictures can be used to elicit stories that students develop into their very own improvisational psychodrama. First, students are presented with a stimulus and a brainstorming session is held in which several story ideas are produced by the students. Following this, students choose one of the story lines and elaborate on the content creating a framework for the drama. Next, it's action! The drama is played out by students who take turns in the various roles. Peter Ross also illustrated how the activity can lead to a deeper glimpse into the psyche when having multiple people play the "HONNE"(本音) and "TATEMAE"(建前) aspects for each character in the drama. - Sponsored by West-Tokyo Chapter

Reported by Adam Jenkins
Saturday, January 21, 2012
by Bogdan Pavliy

In this era of multimedia, it is now possible to incorporate video into the classroom. In his presentation, Mr. Pavliy demonstrated the problems of dwindling student motivation and learner anxiety. Following audience reflection and brainstorming Pavliy showed that these problems can be addressed by using materials that are both entertaining to students and stimulate students' imaginations. After explaining the theoretical basis of using video in class as an exercise in task-based language teaching while generating intrigue and improving motivation. Using examples from his teaching, Pavliy demonstrated ways of using videos (easily downloaded from Youtube) to grab students' attention and then have students engage in prediction tasks and reflect on the accuracy of their predictions. Everyone left the meeting with some great ideas on how to motivate students and tap students' creative potential using video materials.

Reported by Adam Jenkins

Hiroshima Chapter

Sunday, July 10, 2016
by Brett Walter

Dr. Brett Walter of Hiroshima University’s Institute for the Promotion of Global Education opened this presentation by describing how an Atla’s Complex often works against language teachers. Thinking they need to hold up all the instructional weight can lead to lessons heavy with highly controlled drills that do not put appropriate communicative load on learners. Emphasizing that language does not exist merely to be practiced grammar point by grammar point but to be applied in a meaningful and communicative manner, the point was made that too often drilling robs learners of meaningful input and the chance to produce meaningful output. After reviewing some SLA history and describing the various types of drills that are commonly found in textbooks and/or employed in language classrooms, workshop participants were then offered the opportunity to try adapting some of these drills to make them more communicative in nature. Finally, participants were allowed to get truly creative and develop novel communicative activities that emphasized a grammar point.

Reported by Aaron C. Sponseller
Sunday, June 19, 2016
by David Paul (Plenary)

Teacher Journey’s 2016 was held at the YMCA in Hiroshima on June 19th. Organized in conjunction by the Teacher Development SIG and Hiroshima JALT, the all-day event had a total of 18 presenters plus an outstanding plenary from Hiroshima legend David Paul. Drawing on his vast experiences in Japan as a language teacher, language school owner, and founder of ETJ, Mr. Paul’s plenary offered those in attendance a chance to pick and choose the topics they wanted him to speak on. From stories about developing trust over a game of shogi, to lamentations on the profit motive in education, the plenary was exemplary. The 18 presenters came from all over the country and shared elements of their journeys as language learners, teachers, and materials developers. Total attendance was a modest but extremely diverse 40. An eclectic group of presenters who have taught and learned in a wide variety of contexts shared amazing, insightful, and memorable stories about their respective journeys. According to a post event survey participants and attendees were all very pleased with the quality of the event. Thank you to everyone who worked hard putting this event together, and thank you to the YMCA for being gracious hosts!

Reported by Aaron C. Sponseller
Sunday, April 17, 2016
by Arthur Rutson-Griffiths

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 increase students’ extrinsic motivation and engagement with the target language. This presentation covered 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 that were introduced can be used with students of any age and in almost any classroom context. Hiroshima JALT members that attended were introduced to social proof, loss aversion, anchoring, the Ikea effect and the egg theory, commitment and consistency, deadlines, gambling and rewards, and honour codes that can help us maintain motivation in our classrooms.

Reported by Ariel Sorensen
Sunday, March 6, 2016
by Dawn Kobayashi

The Hiroshima JALT chapter was treated to a workshop about how to introduce drama in your classes. The workshop was based on how to adapt the book “Hi, friends”, commonly used in elementary school classes, to get the students up, moving and motivated. This textbook is visually appealing and has some listening activities, but has a limited vocabulary and may result in passive students.
MEXT recommends that elementary school English lessons should allow students to experience the joy of communication, actively listen to and speak in English, and learn the importance of verbal communication. Dawn showed us how these recommendations can be implemented using drama, even at young ages. Although these activities were originally intended for elementary school students, we found that they could be adapted to any ages and we enjoyed trying them out ourselves.

Reported by Ariel Sorensen
Sunday, February 21, 2016
by Jordan Svien

In February Jordan Svien gave a presentation on some of the essential aspects required in order to facilitate students’ critical thinking skills in an English-only environment. First he outlined some of the current definitions of critical thinking. This was followed by a list of principles that he used to create his current curriculum. These principles included: Learner engagement, Inquiry based learning, Global topics theme units, Opinion sharing, Skill building, Project based assessment, Tech in the classroom, Media usage in the classroom and Recycling and reflection.
After detailing these principles, Mr. Svien gave us an inside view of how these principles were applied to the curriculum in which he is teaching. These principles were outlined with an eye towards the evolving needs of the students. Finally, some hints at how these principles and procedures can be adapted to other curriculums, as well as some of the challenges and limitations to applying such a program were introduced.

Reported by Ariel Sorensen


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