JALT West Tokyo Chapter - Two presentations

Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 1:15pm to 4:00pm
Event Speaker: 
Greg Birch
Andy Boon
Fee for JALT members: 
Fee for non-JALT members: 
1,000 yen
Contact or Queries: 

Presentation 1 - (13.30-14.30)

Framework for Task-Based Learning (Greg Birch)

2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Dr Jane Willis’ (1996) A Framework for Task-Based Learning. The strong form of TBL promoted in this excellent book and others (Skehan, 1998), where tasks serve as the central pedagogic unit of both a lesson and syllabus, has not been adopted in Asia for a number of reasons (Carless, 2007; Urano, 2015), and few commercial textbooks have deviated from following a traditional syllabus (e.g. structural = grammar) and methodology (e.g. PPP = Presentation – Practice - Production). Tasks are, however, an essential activity type for developing fluency. Using the task types and framework suggested by Willis (1996) as a starting point, I will demonstrate how a weak form of TBL, namely Task-supported Language Teaching, can be used to supplement a commercial textbook written primarily for university students interested in Business English. In a workshop format, we will examine a variety of unfocused tasks - tasks that provide learners with opportunities for using language in general communicatively (as opposed to focused tasks which are designed with a specific linguistic feature in mind (Ellis, 2009: 223)), and discuss suggestions for implementation that enable teachers to focus students’ attention on form (e.g. grammar, lexis) during the task- and post-task phase. The goal of this workshop is to enable teachers to use tasks that supplement commercial textbooks in order to develop students’ communicative ability.

Gregory Birch, a Professor at Seisen Jogakuin College and Program Chair for Shinshu JALT in Nagano, Japan, holds a MSc Degree in TESOL from Aston University and a MA in Japanese Language and Society from Sheffield University. He has presented and written articles about Task-Based Learning and studied under Dr. Jane Willis. Other research interests include teacher training, teaching and curriculum evaluation, and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme.

Presentation 2 - (14.45-15.45)

Project-based teaching: Getting students researching (Andy Boon)

Project work can be a powerful means of empowering students to take their learning beyond the borders of the classroom, to determine interesting puzzles or problems, to seek answers, and suggest change. This workshop will examine the process of engaging students in semester-long projects from equipping them with the necessary research tools to having them deliver the end-product via various media in the final class. It will also describe students’ reactions to the overall learning experience.

Andry Boon is an associate professor in the faculty of Global Communications at Toyo Gakuen University. He has been teaching in Japan for over 18 years and holds a PhD from Aston University. His research focuses on learner support and discovery in non-judgmental environments. He has been an active member of the Japan Association for Language Teaching since 2004, has presented at numerous conferences, and has published articles on teacher development, motivation, and methodology.