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President: Raymond Hoogenboom

As chapter president, I mostly coordinated communication between and among officers and other members whenever necessary. My primary task was to make sure things were getting done at all ends and that everyone knew what the others were doing. I also participated in the Executive Board Meeting (EBM) in Osaka on February 6 and 7. At this meeting, members of the Board voted on a new chapter grant distribution system, which allocated approximately ¥180,000 to Gunma JALT for 2016. I did not attend the EBM on June 25 and 26 in Hiroshima. During that meeting, our group was represented through power-of-attorney by Joël Laurier, one of our program chairs. During that EBM it was decided that local memberships are to be administered financially by individual groups completely independent of JALT National. Moreover, I will attend the EBM during JALT2016 on November 27.

I also helped with planning, preparation, and execution of our 27th Annual Summer Workshop in Ikaho, which was a modest success. Thanks to our program chairs, Joël Laurier and Michele Steele, we were able to secure presenters and offer a quality program. Other members on the Ikaho team were Barry Keith (facilities), Sylvain Bergeron (budget), Stephen Howes & John Larson (publicity & newsletter), & Yoko Miyazaki (snacks). Very special kudos goes to Joël Laurier for handling participant registration and accommodations. The atmosphere was lively and positive. Everyone did excellent work, and we hope we can do it again in 2017.

The onsen resort town of Ikaho was a new location for our summer workshop. The venue — Gunma University’s Ikaho Seminar House — was not costly, yet it was cozy and practical. The staff was considerate and friendly. If we book the same venue next year, some areas to consider are more strategic placement of overnight guests into sleeping quarters in order to better distance social patter from sleeping quarters, simpler dining menu with fewer dinner plates to deal with, and a carpooling system.

All in all, I would say it was a good year for Gunma JALT. We had 11 events. Some events were large, a few were well-attended, and all were good.

I would like to help fulfill our group’s goal of implementing online elections. JALT National has advised us that they are in favor of online elections for all chapters, and that in the coming year we will be allowed to do so without constitutional amendment. However, they would like our chapter and others to update our constitutions, with regard to elections and whatever other aspects are in need of updating, in the coming year in order to be ratified and take effect affect by 2018.

Updating the constitution will require a minimum number of officers to sign on a petition to change the chapter constitution, a review of proposed changes before 2017 JALT Gunma Chapter AGM, and an actual vote on ratifying the changes during the AGM. 

With online elections, the entire membership will have the option of voting anonymously online during a decided time period before the yearly AGM. I believe online elections: 1) give all members the opportunity to cast votes, which is our right as paying members, and 2) could encourage more involvement from group members who either usually do not come to meetings at all or enjoy the group from the periphery.

Another goal I would like for our group is to elicit more involvement from membership, especially from those native to our host country, Japan. Japanese members account for nearly half of our overall full membership. Active involvement from Japanese members has been a concern among JALT groups nationwide and has been discussed at length during EBMs. Some possible reasons Japanese members might be reluctant to be involved might be linguistic and cultural. As English is the official language of JALT meetings and administration, native speakers of English are advantageous and can potentially dominate communication and decision-making. Furthermore, native Japanese university professors tend to lean toward membership in JACET, which is administered and presented in Japanese, while native Japanese primary and secondary school teachers can be involved in a their own academic societies that use the Japanese language — if they have time off from all the pedagogical, administrative, and/or extra-curricular duties of their own jobs. 

All in all, it seems the same loyal members have been stepping up over the past few years. Some of our officers may have reached their limits in terms of what they will be able to do or want to do. Thus we need more involvement in each office. It has been discussed among ourselves over the past year that there are three possible ways of doing this:

  1. A system of shadow chairs, who would first assist closely and then take over an office when the primary chair is ready to step down;
  2. A system of assistants who take on smaller roles to aid the serving chairs;
  3. A system of co-chairmanships in which each position is occupied equally by one native Japanese member and one non-Japanese member. In this model, the group might be more approachable for Japanese newcomers. Although this model could be administered at the local level, in the eyes of JALT National only one person can hold an office and should ultimately be held responsible for the performance of that office.

Membership: Barry Keith

The Membership Chair takes attendance at our Chapter's reception desk during monthly meetings. Responsibilities also included processing new members and renewing existing members who come to the meetings.

Managing Monthly Membership List
On the 1st day of each month, the most recent membership list becomes available on the officer resources page. Membership downloads the list and sends it to the Publicity Chair. The Publicity Chair updates the chapter mailing list accordingly and sends out notices and reminders of upcoming events based on the revised mailing list.

Sending Welcome and Renewal Notices
Once membership downloads the most recent membership list, renewal notices to members whose memberships had become overdue are sent out, and welcome messages to members who have recently (re)joined are also sent.

Attendance at Gunma Chapter Events
Attendance at monthly meetings has been quite good, with most meetings attracting between 10-20 participants. Our Summer Workshop in Ikaho had better attendance than 2015 in Kusatsu.

Program: Michele Steele and Joël Laurier

The Program Chairs procure presenters and venues, and they organize monthly meetings. This year’s program consisted of the following events:

- 2016/1/24 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Yuka Kusanagi
“Gundoku Workshop:  Integrating a Performing Art into Foreign Language Education”

- 2016/2/28 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Chiyuki Yanase
“Story-based approach: exploring the world of stories with your young learners”

- 2016/3/20 at Rental Space Holly in Saitama City
“Third Annual Saitama-Gunma MyShare Event”
(featuring David Gann, Joël Laurier, John Larson, Daniel Hooper/Jacob Reed, & Raymond Hoogenboom)

- 2016/4/3 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Reiko Yoshihara
“Accidental Teachers: The Journeys of Six Japanese Women from the Corporate Workplace into English Language Teaching”

- 2016/5/29 at Kyoai Gakuen College
“Third Annual Gunma-Saitama MyShare Event”
(featuring Mark Deadman, Sandra Wigmore & Florence Ito Valderama, and Jonathan DeNardis)

- 2016/6/26 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Nicole Gallagher
“Exploring Critical Thinking with my Students”

- 2016/7/24 at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Alison Stewart
“Exploratory Practice”

- 2016/9/3~4 at Gunma University Ikaho Seminar House
The 27th Summer Workshop in Ikaho
--Junko Yamanaka: “What Should Every Teacher Know about Extensive Reading?” and “Developing Critical Thinking and Language Skills”
--David Gann: “Critical Thinking Skills Instruction through Deception”
--Daniel Hooper: “Success Closer to Home: Utilizing near peer role models to empower English conversation school students”
--Ming Qu: “Japanese Teachers and Students’ Attitudes towards Peer Assessment”

- 2016/10/9 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Christopher Madden
“Using Facebook to Enhance Motivation”
“Two Videos That Could Change the Way You Teach and Live: Back to Boot C.A.M.P.”

- 2016/10/23 at Gunma University – Anne Burns
“Gunma JALT / Gunma University Action Research Workshop”

- 2016/11/13 at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Barry Keith
“Reading Faster = Better Comprehension? Evidence from a Coordinated Curriculum”

This year, Programs implemented a Google Page that the Co-Program Chairs, the Publicity Chair, and the President shared. It helped the two co-program chairs with scheduling. It also helped keep a log of scheduling. It went well but it was not consistently used.

We continued our annual MyShare events with Saitama JALT, and we also hope to continue the events for the upcoming year. 

A feedback form was developed this year to offer more opinions to the voting system for the Best of JALT selection. It seemed to go well but I was often absent and the system was not continued. I would recommend continuing it.

Our first summer workshop in Ikaho was a special treat. Michele was finally able to realize her dream of inviting Junko Yamanaka to present as keynote, and Joël did a great job procuring other presenters and organizing accommodations.  We had good attendance and the venue’s close proximity to the city gave more people the option of attending for only one day. We should continue with this venue. Due to the support of our Gunma JALT team, the event was well planned, things ran smoothly, and there were no problems.

The system is smooth running and the Gunma JALT team will remain mostly intact so I think we are in good hands. The planning of the Ikaho summer workshop will have to begin early again to ensure even more success.  Joël thinks we should approach neighboring chapters to co-host. 

Publicity: Stephen Howes

The Publicity Chair maintained Gunma JALT's e-mail contacts list as well as the distribution of notices to these members and affiliated ("Outside") members from other JALT chapters, or non-current members of JALT. All contacts were kept up to date and identical in two different platforms, Gmail and MailChimp. Gmail has been the long-standing communication device between Gunma JALT and other parties, where as MailChimp has become the preferred method of disseminating poster-style advertisements of upcoming Gunma JALT workshops, the Ikaho Summer Workshop, Gunma JALT co-hosted events, and miscellaneous announcements from our chapter and JALT National. The Gunma JALT workshops were advertised in a bilingual format, with the abstract and biographies of guests translated into Japanese by Yukari Yano and Kenji Kawai. Their professional and timely contributions were of great assistance. 

Within the MailChimp notices, there were links to Gunma JALT's specific Facebook page and the official Gunma JALT website. The Gunma JALT website is administered by John Larson, and the Facebook page can accept contributions from anyone invited to the group. As Publicity Chair, I created an event for each workshop that took place throughout the year and then posted photos from that event afterwards.  I also created a Twitter account for Gunma JALT and used that as another means of advertising workshops, sharing professional development links and communicating with the increasing number of connections to JALT, English education in Japan and education in general.  In an effort to increase public awareness of Gunma JALT workshops, I also sent through the details of workshops to the ELT Calendar website, which allows events to be embedded into subscribers Gmail account calendars

I feel as though the exposure of Gunma JALT has increased over the past year, however I would like to create more of an impact nationally to highlight the quality of the professional development at our chapter.  I would like to maintain the current format of disseminating information via MailChimp, however I would like to improve the graphic design by including more interactive features, such as polls and questionnaires.  I also think that Twitter could be a useful tool to broaden the publicity of Gunma JALT throughout Japan, hence I would like to increase the number of followers and the number of outgoing tweets sent from Gunma JALT.


Treasurer: Sylvain Bergeron

During the 2015-2016 academic year, the Gunma JALT Treasurer’s duties and responsibilities have included the following:

  • Attended monthly meetings regularly
  • Prepared honorarium for invited speakers
  • Collected receipts at the monthly meetings from other Gunma JALT officers i.e., Social Chair, Program Chair
  • Compiled and submitted a monthly revenue and expense report to the JALT Central Office (JCO) accountant 
  • Maintained regular contact with the JCO accounting section and pair branch treasurer
  • Balanced the deposits and withdrawals from the Gunma JALT Chapter bank account
  • Prepared a sufficient amount of funds prior to each meeting or event
  • Attended the annual Gunma JALT Summer 2016 Workshop
  • Received and managed participation and lodging fees from Gunma JALT Summer 2016 Workshop participants
  • Prepared all necessary funds and participants’ receipts prior to the Gunma JALT Summer 2016 Workshop event
  • Compiled and tabulated the yearly Chapter Fiscal Year Budget Report with fellow Gunma JALT officers (May 2016) 

Next Year: 
Keep bringing improvements to our chapter’s registration, fee and payment procedures with regard to the Gunma JALT Summer 2017 Workshop. 

Facilities: Hideto D. Harashima and Lori Ann Desrosiers

  • Kyoai Gakuen College – 5 events
  • Maebashi Institute of Technology – 2 events
  • Gunma University – 1 event
  • Rental Space Holly, Saitama – 1 event
  • Gunma University’s Seminar House in Ikaho – 1 event

Social: Yoko Miyazaki, Renée Sawazaki, and Junko Hoshino

For each monthly meeting, Social Chairs prepared coffee, tea, and snacks for the break time because we believe that these coffee breaks helped enhance communication among attendees.  At least one Social Chair attended each monthly meeting, set up the snack table, cleaned up the leftovers and emptied the garbage.  One social Chair has the duty of keeping hot water pots at home so that they can be taken to the venue when Gunma JALT has meeting at places other than Kyoai Gakuen College. 

Social keeps coffee, tea and snacks at home with hot water pots.  If  Social Chairs think that coffee, tea, and snacks are not enough, they will make additional purchases.  He or she will give the receipt to the chair of an account. 

Social Chairs also attended at Ikaho meeting.  To celebrate the end of the calendar year, social chair organized a formal dinner party at the beginning of December.

Newsletter: John Larson

Newsletter Editors received and reviewed papers submitted to Speakeasy, contacted authors and worked with them to edit their submissions. Edited submissions were then published online and input into the template for physical publication at the end of the year.

The primary challenge for Speakeasy has always been, and continues to be, a lack of submissions. In order to overcome this, two ideas have been proposed. The first was to strongly suggest to presenters at our Summer Workshop that write-ups of their presentations would make lovely additions to Speakeasy. The second was to publish submission online as they are received and promote them via social media. It is still not known whether these two ideas will generate enough interest for Speakeasy to make it’s December publication deadline.

This year volunteer proofreaders (an idea submitted at the 2015 AGM) have made editing submissions much smoother. Hopefully this system will continue in the future.

Recording: John Larson

The Recording Secretary attended and summarized Gunma JALT meetings. These summaries are sent to JALT National for publication in TLT and are also uploaded to our website. 

Proposed: Change Bylaws to reflect reality (suggested by Joël Laurier)
Starting July 2015, summaries of previous meetings are no longer in the print version of TLT (noted in 2015 report). Currently in Gunma JALT Bylaws Section II, Subheading 6, the description for Recording Secretary reads, "The Recording Secretary shall be responsible for recording the minutes of the Executive Board meetings and the Annual General Meeting. He/she is also responsible for reporting on regular meetings and other activities and having those published in "The Language Teacher”. Proposed that the underlined text be deleted.

Luckily, the Japanese version of our Bylaws has no mention of "The Language Teacher” and so does not need to be amended.

Website: John Larson

The Website Editor maintained Gunma JALT’s website. After each meeting was announced, a new webpage for that meeting was created with all the necessary information. The same information was used to make an event in the JALT Event Calendar. After each meeting finished, the webpage was updated with the meeting summary. Also, a meeting report was created on All told, there were about 20 updates to the webpage this year.


The election this year was full of ideas about the future, both big and small.  Our officer positions were decided unanimously as follows:
President: Raymond Hoogenboom
Membership: Mark Deadman, Yoko Kamo
Program: Michele Steele, Joël Laurier, Barry Keith (Ikaho)
Publicity: Stephen Howes
Treasurer: Sylvain Bergeron
Facilities: Hideto Harashima, Lori Ann Desrosiers, Barry Keith (Ikaho)
Social: Yoko Miyazaki, Junko Hoshino, Barry Keith (Barista)
Newsletter: John Larson
Recording: John Larson
Website: John Larson, Stephen Howes