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President: Raymond Hoogenboom

This year Gunma JALT produced a full program of excellent presenters who covered a wide range of areas. Attendance was up and down, averaging at approximately 13 participants per meeting. Whether or not we had many in attendance, we had great meetings and fun times.
My local duties as chapter president were to help coordinate the roles with each other, maintain group communication, and help out each officer whenever needed. 
My JALT-wide duties were to attend Executive Board Meetings (EBMs) in Gifu in February and Tsukuba in June, and I will also attend the Chapter Presidents Meeting, the EBM, and the Annual General Meeting at JALT2017, again in Tsukuba. Also connected with JALT-wide duties were to communicate urgent matters to our community whenever necessary and encourage our members to vote during the AGM in order to meet quorum for validation of meeting. Finally, I kept up with the EBM-Net flow as much as possible, but perhaps not good enough. I promise to try my best to stay on top of matters both locally and nationally.
I also have attempted, with perhaps a bit of success, to break ground in the area of online selection of our officers through use of an application called Ballotbin. Fifteen of our members voted online, and four additional members voted during our chapter’s Annual General Meeting (November 12). A total of 19 members voted in the election. This is a slightly more than 40% of the membership. Officers voted in for 2018 are as follows: Chapter President - Raymond Hoogenboom; Treasurer – Harry Meyer; Program Chairs – Barry Keith & Michele Steele; Membership Chairs – Mark Deadman (National) & Yoko Kamo (Local); Publicity Chair – Stephen Howes; Facility Chairs – Hideto Harashima & Lori Ann Desrosiers; Summer Workshop – Barry Keith; Website – John Larson; Speakeasy – John Larson; & Recording Secretary – John Linville.
The online election process will hopefully be developed and carried out more efficiently in 2018.

In 2018, I hope we can maintain quality programs, continue our great publicity, attract more members and non-members to meetings, increase local and full membership, and maybe try new things such as bringing the International Conference to Takasaki or just collaborating with neighboring chapters. To do this we will need a greater active core of volunteers, however. 
I also would like to develop online elections and do the constitution adjustments necessary to better reflect the modern era.
Finally, I would love to start: 1) having some meetings each year on Friday evenings, and 2) having some meetings outside of Maebashi, such as in Tatebayashi or Takasaki.

Membership: Mark Deadman and Yoko Kamo

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.
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.

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 monthly meetings has been quite good, with most meetings attracting between 10-20 participants.

Number of current National Members as of December 2017: 42
Number of current Local Members: 4

2017 Annual Membership Report (Members)
Month                     Members
            National Local Total
January     45         5         50
February     45         2         47
March     44         2         46
April             42         2         44
May             44         2         46
June     41         2         43
July             43         2         45
August     40         2         42
September  41         3         44
October     42         4         46
November   41         4         45
December   42         4         46

2017 Attendance at Meetings
MEETING    National       Local   Non-Members TOTAL
JAN 22     11          3     3                         17
FEB 13     10                1     1                         12
MARCH -------------------- No Meeting --------------------
APRIL 23     10         1     0                         11
MAY 14     12         3     2                         17
JUNE 11 -------------------- In Saitama --------------------
JULY 16     13         1     0                         14
SEPT 9, 10  14         2     5                         21
OCT 15     13         1     3                         17
NOV 12     10         4     0                         14
DEC -------------------- No Meeting --------------------

The JALT central membership command center has had really big problems this year with issuing timely membership lists, delaying the sending of notices to members in our chapter. It seems to be getting better, but they have had a lot of trouble.
It has been quite time-consuming to issue reminders and thank you messages at the start of each month. We have preferred to issue these on an individual basis to add a touch of friendliness to the process, but have had to mass-issue them sometimes. We shall endeavor to do this much more in 2018.
Renewal notices have largely been sent ahead of time, we are trying to issue them with at least two months notification before the end of the members current expiry dates. People rarely reply, and it is difficult to know if they will resign. We don’t want to appear too pushy, so we haven’t issued too many reminders to ‘expiring’ members.


1. Stay ahead of membership expirations, issuing renewal notices at 3 months, and 1 month before the due date.
2. Continue to send individual notices, for renewals and resigning.
3. Drum up support from existing members to promote the chapter to co-workers and friends.
4. Encourage more Japanese part-time teachers to attend events, many of whom are members but rarely attend. 
5. Work with the Promotions Chair to advertise and promote our group.
6. Use social media to promote ourselves, asking national members to forward/post events on their homepages if they don’t mind.  
7. Appeal to the 260 members on Facebook to become regular members of the actual chapter itself.
8. Organize some light-hearted events in 2018 to encourage membership, or cement current membership. Ideas such as hiking, walking, and other outside activities, as per April worksheet about health and study.

Program: Michele Steele, Joël Laurier, and Barry Keith

This year we tried to reduce costs in presenting our events. We did well in this domain, by contacting SIGs and asking them to provide us with speakers. The SIGs would provide the presenter and pay for their travel. Gunma JALT would pay the local presenter price to the presenter and pay for their lunch. This is a successful formula that works for both the SIGs and the chapter.

Although the Summer Workshop in Ikaho is under the purview of the Programs team, this year the event was headed by Barry Keith (see Barry Keith report below). This year we had a theme (pronunciation) that went extremely well. With the plenary speaker giving one theory-based and one practical presentation, and the other four presenters giving short presentations based on the same theme, this was a very focused workshop. I recommend doing the same for next year. It would be nice to have a local presenter as the plenary to help promote our own members.

2017/1/22 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Richard Sampson
“Exploring Motivation with Students”
2017/2/12 at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Samuel Nfor
“Improving Pronunciation through an Applied Drama Project”
2017/4/23 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Steve Jugovic
“Insights from NeuroELT for you and your Classroom”
2017/5/14 at Maebashi Institute of Technology
Fourth Annual Gunma-Saitama MyShare Event
1) Jun Harada – “Revising Is Fun”
2) David Gann – “Rescuing a Dying Class: How to Utilize Card Trick Videos with Supporting Online Language Learning Resources to Develop 4-Skills Competence”
3) Kevin Miller – “Correlation Between Extensive Reading and Intuitive Grammatical Confindence”
4) Fuad Olajuwon – “English Self-Study: How Interactive Programs Boost Learning Imperatives”
2017/6/11 at Rental Space Holly in Saitama City
Fourth Annual Saitama-Gunma MyShare Event
1) Harry Meyer – “A Short Workshop for Intercultural Relations”
2) Yoko Kamo – “Using Kobanashi in a Beginner Level English Classroom”
3) Daniel Hooper – “Self-Access Learning in Eikaiwa: Attitudes, Reflections and Challenges”
4) Yoko Miyazaki – “An Activity Exploiting L1”
2017/7/16 at Kyoai Gakuen College – Anna Husson Isozaki
“Getting Into the Zone (of Proximal Literacy Development)”
2017/9/9~10 at Gunma University Ikaho Seminar House
The 28th Summer Workshop (in Ikaho)
1) Dr. Yasushi Sekiya – “Goals and models in pronunciation instruction for Japanese EFL learners in the era of English as an international language” and “What EFL teachers in Japan should know about pronunciation instruction - Towards informed practice”
2) Hideto Harashima – “What lies behind the differences of phonetic behaviors of the Japanese and the English Languages?”
3) Antonija Cavcic – “Za Katakana English (and why it won’t go away)”
4) Daniel Hooper – “Apps4efl: Engaging online tools for practicing pronunciation and listening (and everything else!)”
5) Yoshimi Ochiai – “Engage Your Students with Pronunciation Activities”
2017/10/15 at Maebashi Institute of Technology
Lee Thomas & Kayvon Havaei-Ahary – “Adapting Kagan Structures for Japanese Secondary School English Classes, Part 1: The Three-Step Interview”
2017/11/12 at Kyoai Gakuen College
Stephen Howes – “Developing a Writing Program in the High School & Junior High School Context”

This year, with a determined focus to find a presenter to take the non-vetted presented slot offered to every JALT chapter, we finally found someone. This is a system to give someone their first chance at a JALT International conference. We should do more to promote this to Gunma members.
This year, we also received interest for this presentation slot from non-Gunma JALT members. I recommend we only give this slot to Gunma JALT members to help promote our local talent and to help increase membership, even if it only one person a year.

This year the Regional Professional Activities Committee has been coordinating events across Japan to offer regional events. The goal is to further develop collaboration between JALT chapters and other groups. The idea is to have regional events to help chapters have bigger events and pool their resources, while avoiding the doubling off efforts that might occur in some parts of the country.
The Gunma JALT has discussed the possibility of possibly hosting the 2018 Nakasendo conference to make this conference a truly regional one. As this conference and the Ikaho workshop are held around the same time every year, the concern is that hosting two conferences would deplete our resources. The biggest fear is that, as the Ikaho workshop is the later of the two, it would aversely affect our workshop. 


Twenty-two participants took part in the 28th edition of the Summer Workshop, headlined by Dr. Yasushi Sekiya, Director of the MA TESOL program at Kanda University of International Studies. This year’s theme was teaching of pronunciation and In addition to Dr. Sekiya’s two keynote lectures, four other presenters shared their expertise and techniques in teaching pronunciation. Of the 22 participants (including the featured speaker), 11 stayed overnight at the Ikaho Seminar House. This facility is owned by Gunma University, so the cost is very reasonable, which allows us to run an economical event (¥10,000 yen for lectures, lodging and 2 meals). The advantages are cost and location in a quaint hot spring resort, but there are a few drawbacks, e.g. no air conditioning, no Internet connection, and the room can be a bit cramped when full. The evening meal was poor, so we need to work with the staff to make sure we get a healthy but satisfying meal.

One change this year was that at-large presentations were vetted by a team of reviewers. This means that a slate of important dates (opening of early-bird registration, abstract submission, notification of acceptance date, and registration deadline) must be decided and then coordinated by the Program Chair and team. This new system worked relatively smoothly and helped the presenters better prepare for their talks. I recommend that we continue to vet at-large presentations to give our participants the best workshop possible.
As mentioned above, there is no Internet connection, neither LAN nor wireless. Some presenters wanted to demonstrate online resources and the lack of internet was a problem, so we should lobby Gunma University to install Internet in the future (as they have already done at the Kusatsu Seminar House).
Another first for the 2017 workshop was an on-line registration system set up in conjunction with the website administrator. This worked well enough, but can be improved next year. In addition, payment was made available via bank transfer or direct payment during a regular monthly meeting. The bank transfer is the least popular payment method, though several participants wired money in advance. Most paid in cash at a monthly meeting held in April, May, June, and July. Payment at the door was also accepted but at ¥2,000 extra.
Regarding receipts, the Treasurer prepared them in advance and this makes registration go smoothly. We might consider removing the cost of meals from the package, as people who are reimbursed by their institutions cannot generally claims meals. Another issue is: do we want to offer a one-day fee? Note that Gunma University collects a ¥1,000 facility for those who do not stay overnight. It is easier for the Treasurer to have the money wired into the bank account because then the money does not become cash on hand.

According to the post-survey, respondents were satisfied, they enjoyed the event, found it stimulating and useful, and thought that it ran smoothly. Apart from the Internet problem and the poor quality of the evening meal, this workshop was a success.

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.
Within the MailChimp notices, there were links to Gunma JALT's specific Facebook page, Gunma JALT's Twitter feed and the official Gunma JALT website. As Publicity Chair, I created an event for each workshop that took place throughout the year and then posted photos from that event afterwards.  Other members were also able to upload photos directly to this page as valuable evidence and feedback.  The Twitter account for Gunma JALT was used 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 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

Throughout the 2016-2017 fiscal/academic year, the Gunma JALT Treasurer’s duties and responsibilities have included the following:

With Membership, noted regular attendance at Gunma JALT monthly meetings 
Prepared honorarium and receipts for invited speakers
Collected receipts at the monthly meetings from 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 (due on the 10th of the month)  
Maintained regular contact with the JCO accounting section and pair branch treasurer – c/o Brett Milliner, Treasurer, JALT Yokohama Chapter (as of April 2017) 
Balanced the deposits and withdrawals from the Gunma JALT Chapter Shinsei Bank account
Prepared a sufficient amount of funds prior to each meeting or special event
Attended the annual Gunma JALT Ikaho Summer 2017 Workshop
Received and managed participation and lodging fees from Gunma JALT Ikaho Summer 2017 Workshop participants via online and onsite payment methods 
Prepared all necessary funds and participants’ receipts prior to the Gunma JALT Ikaho Summer 2017 Workshop
Compiled, tabulated and prepared the yearly (2016-2017) Chapter Fiscal Year Budget Report (online and hard copy) with JALT Gunma Chapter President (May 2017)

Gunma JALT Ikaho Summer 2018 Workshop
Keep making improvements to our chapter’s registration, online and onsite payment procedure. There may be a need to hold a discussion with chapter officers regarding the possibility of imposing a cancellation fee for no-shows.

Facilities: Hideto D. Harashima, Lori Ann Desrosiers and Barry Keith

Gunma JALT has been so lucky over the years in that, thanks to Lori and Hideto, we have had access to free space so many times at Kyoai Gakuen College and Maebashi Institute of Technology. Both venues are friendly, pleasant, accommodating, generous, spacious, centrally located in Gunma, and easily accessible by train and automobile. Both facilities have allowed us to use their computer and overhead equipment for our presenters. That we never have to pay enables us to save money that can be used to bring in presenters and publish Speakeasy, as well as to hold a small reserve of funds for times in need. Hideto and Lori have made themselves available to be on the premises or have made sure someone else was there. We owe so much thanks to Kyoai and MIT, and to Lori and Hideto.
Moreover, thanks to Barry we were able to secure Ikaho Seminar House at a very reasonable cost for our Summer Workshop. For this we owe thanks to Gunma University and to the efforts of Barry as our Summer Workshop Chair.

Social: Yoko Miyazaki,  Junko Hoshino and Barry Keith

For each monthly meeting as well as at the Ikaho Summer Workshop, Social Chairs prepared coffee, tea, and snacks for the break time. We believe these refreshment breaks help to 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 meetings 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.
As always, the selection and variety of snacks were interesting and delicious. Sometimes we were treated by Yoko to homemade items, fresh fruit and other special treats. Furthermore, Barry has begun brewing coffee from freshly grinded beans. He has been bringing the coffee-making apparatus to and from his home each meeting.
Finally, to celebrate the end of the calendar year 2016 Junko Hoshino organized a formal dinner party at Vino Vino in the beginning of December 2016. The 2017 year-end party was held at Lom Wine Bar, and was attended by 13 participants.

Newsletter: John Larson

75 copies of Speakeasy 28 were printed in late December and distributed in January and February to all members by hand and by post. By all accounts it was received well. 

Speakeasy 29 currently has one finished academic submission from Fuad, two more in process from Antonija and Steve, and a fourth from Hideto is still in the works. Ray found a willing participant for our new Correspondence section, and I have asked Michele to write something for our non-academic piece. As always, it will be a race to the deadline, but there is still hope we can get it to the printers before New Year’s. 

Recording: John Larson

The recording secretary attended and posted a summary of each meeting on Gunma JALT’s website and on The content of the reports closely follows the text sent by the presenters for the sake of convenience and consistency. The reports on our local website are a great resource and record of Gunma JALT’s history. The reports fed to National are another story. Due to an unfortunate overabundance of caution, it is no longer possible for local members to access most parts of, and the burden of posting reports there will have to fall to a National member in the future. To date, Stephen has kindly filled in. Furthermore, as these National reports are completely inaccessible once input, it is difficult to see any value in inputting them whatsoever.

Website: John Larson

The webmaster updated the site twice for each meeting, once advertising it, and then again reporting on the meeting in question after it was over. This year there was also an online component to Ikaho with the website serving as a portal for reservations and payment information. Upgrading our current website to the next-generation Google Sites platform is still a goal but is still on hold until Google delivers migration tools promised by the end of this year. Manual migration would be quite a task. 


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, Barry Keith (Ikaho)
Publicity: Stephen Howes
Treasurer: Harry Meyer
Facilities: Hideto Harashima, Lori Ann Desrosiers, Barry Keith (Ikaho)
Social: Yoko Miyazaki,  Barry Keith (Barista)
Newsletter: John Larson
Recording: John Linville
Website: John Larson, Stephen Howes