Okayama JALT- June Meeting
We will have two presentations at the June meeting.
THEME: Social Emotional Learning (skills for the 21st century)
TOPIC: Non-cognitive factors
PRESENTER: Arnold F. Arao
Despite its inception almost a decade ago, the movement to integrate students with special needs has became a salient issue for educators in Japan, particularly those tasked with foreign language instruction. Integration or mainstreaming has received renewed focus due to the increasing numbers of diagnoses as well as initiatives to include families in discussions of their children’s education. This has coincided with a renewed effort by the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) to promote language learning as a means of “cultivating Japanese with English abilities”. Language educators in the general population are faced with new challenges in the classroom for which they have no training and about which they are provided little direction.
Students with special needs are being systematically denied the language education they deserve, arising not from a lack of ability on their part, but a lack of knowledge on the part of educators. In particular, students with special needs who are mainstreamed face daunting obstacles as they attempt to keep pace with their peers. Further, students in the general population are facing and failing academic challenges. More and more, students are opting out of pursuing academic goals citing lack of motivation and engagement. In addition, many students engage in risky behaviour that takes them further from expected developmental trajectories and may even place them at risk for the development of psychopathology. What is required is a refocus by educators on classroom strategies that benefit all students in multiple domains.
Recent research weighs in heavily on the impact of non-cognitive factors on student outcomes in terms of life skills and academically and are in fact considered as essential if not more so than intelligence in determining positive outcomes.
TITLE: Teaching “Culture”
PRESENTER: Jon Prevatt
AFFILIATION(S): teaches at Okayama University, Fukuyama University, and Kawasaki Medical School
The presenter will discuss the concept of “culture” in language learning and teaching. Culture, language, and identity are intertwined and consciously or not are of interest to the language learner and teacher. Despite its inherent significance even agreeing on or defining “culture" can be tricky. Can unpacking the concept of culture help teachers better understand and serve the language needs of students and support learning. What are the pedagogical implications and does culture fit in? What about the context in which one teaches? The presenter will discuss these issues and introduce some practical applications for classroom study and share some of his ESL/EFL teaching successes and failures as they relate to “teaching” culture and the never-ending need to make language learning and teaching more meaningful.