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2018


President: Raymond Hoogenboom

OVERVIEW
This year Gunma JALT produced a full program of excellent presenters who covered a wide range of areas (See Programs). Average attendance at events, including the Summer Workshop, was 12, which was a good number to make events pleasant and worthwhile. 
My local duties as chapter president were to help coordinate chapter roles, maintain group communication, and help out each officer whenever needed. This year was especially demanding in that some of our officers had to vacate their positions midway. Because our original summer workshop chair relocated to another part of Japan, I took over the Summer Workshop duties with John Larson, Harry Meyer, and Sylvain Bergeron.  Also, Membership Chair moved away from Gunma during the middle of the summer and needed to vacate his position, which I have been doing since he left. The extra work itself did not trouble me as much as a lack of group participation did. It is just more fun to do things with others. And of course it is important to spread the know-how among the membership.
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 JALT2018 in Shizuoka. 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.
We were unable to have online elections this year because the application we had been using was no longer operating. We did, however, continue to hold elections at our Annual General Meeting on November 11th, 2018. For 2019, officers of JALT Gunma Chapter were chosen as follows:
  • Chapter President - Raymond Hoogenboom
  • Treasurer - Harry Meyer
  • Program Chair - Michele Steele
  • Membership Chair - Heather McCulloch
  • Publicity Chair - Stephen Howes
  • Website Editor - Phillip Bennett
  • Recording Secretary - John Larson
  • Speakeasy Editors - Richard Sampson & Steve Ferrier
  • Facilities - Lori Ann Desrosiers & Hideto Harashima
  • Social - Sylvain Bergeron
  • Summer Workshop - Raymond Hoogenboom, Harry Meyer, Michele Steele, John Larson, & Stephen Howes
LOOKING AHEAD
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 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 like us to consider: 1) having some meetings each year on Friday evenings, and 2) having some meetings outside of Maebashi, such as in Tatebayashi or Takasaki.
I am of course honored to be nominated and chosen to serve as Chapter President of JALT Gunma Chapter in 2019.

Membership: Mark Deadman, Yoko Kamo, and Raymond Hoogenboom (Report by RaymondHoogenboom)

The Membership Chair greets and takes attendance at our reception desk during monthly meetings. Responsibilities also included processing new full and local members, and renewing existing full and local members who come to the meetings, and managing the monthly membership lists.

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 & 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 rejoined are also sent.

ATTENDANCE AT GUNMA CHAPTER EVENTS
Attendance at monthly meetings has been quite good, with most meetings attracting between 10-20 participants.

2018 MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP

Month

Members

Full

Local

Total

January

40

6

46

February

38

6

44

March

38

6

44

April

36

6

42

May

38

6

44

June

34

5

39

July

35

6

41

August

36

6

42

September

36

6

42

October

34

6

40

November

33

6

39

December

33

6

39


COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS
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.

2018 ‘MEMBERSHIP-UP!’ PLAN

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

It was, as always, an honor and a pleasure to serve as program chair for Gunma JALT this year. We had some fine presentations, ranging from topics on cultural competence, to using technology to enhance classroom activities and professional development. It was especially helpful to me to get ideas from local members for presenters. I would be very happy, in planning next year's programs, to hear suggestions on presentation topics, or specific, individual speakers. I'm looking forward to another great year with Gunma JALT. – M.S.

JALT GUNMA CHAPTER PROGRAMS (2018):

2018/January 21st at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Tomoko Yoshida
“Integrating Intercultural Communication in the University Language Classroom”  [ATTENDANCE: 17]
2018/February 18th at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Kevin Ryan
“Developing Student-Led Small Group Discussion of Student-Selected and Developed Video Content”  [ATTENDANCE: 11]
2018/April 1st at Kyoai Gakuen College – Eucharia Donnery
“Drama-Based Activities in the Mixed-Ability Japanese EFL Classroom”
[ATTENDANCE: 11]
2018/May 27th at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Rab Paterson
“Presentation 2.0: Modern Presentation Skills for the Digital Age” 
[ATTENDANCE: 11]
2018/June 10th at Kyoai Gakuen College – Mary Nobuoka
“Raising Bilingual Children”  [ATTENDANCE: 11]
2018/July 8th at Kyoai Gakuen College – Natsue Nakayama
“How to Enhance Intercultural Competence in Japanese Primary School English Classes”      [ATTENDANCE:11]
2018/August 5th at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Aleda Krause
“Simple Activities to Engage Students”  [ATTENDANCE: 11]
2018/September 8th & 9th at Gunma University Ikaho Seminar House
The 29th Annual Summer Workshop (in Ikaho) [ATTENDANCE: 12]
Dr. Atsushi Iida – “Second Language Poetry Writing Research: Past, Present, and Future” and “Teaching and Assessing English-Language Haiku Writing”
John Larson – “Improving Story-Writing Skills One Sentence at a Time”
Raymond Hoogenboom – “Responding to Students’ L2 English Writing Composition: A Quandary of Options”
2018/October 14th at Kyoai Gakuen College – Jon Dujmovich
“Short and Practical Intercultural Activities for Active Learning”
[ATTENDANCE: 13]
2018/November 11th at Maebashi Institute of Technology – Asako Kajiura
“Classes for Low Level Learners: Management Techniques and Classroom Methods” [ATTENDANCE: 13]

JALT INTERNATIONAL NON-VETTED PRESENTER
This is a system to grant a chapter or SIG member with the opportunity to present at the JALT International Conference for her/his very first time. We made a selection this year, but unfortunately that person had to withdraw some weeks after the application was entered by the deadline. Thus, we have no 1st-time presenter representing Gunma JALT at JALT2018 in Shizuoka. In the future, all officers and members should keep an eye open for a potential candidate who might like to take advantage of this opportunity for JALT2019. – R.H.

REGIONAL CONFERENCES
This year again, the Regional Professional Activities Committee (RPAC) 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.
In recent years, Gunma JALT has discussed the possibility of collaborating with Saitama JALT to make the Nakasendo Conference a truly regional one. This issue is not currently on the table, especially as Saitama JALT was not able to produce any conference whatsoever this year. All discussion with them is moot at the moment. – R.H.

Summer Workshop Chair
Barry Keith ceded chairmanship to Raymond Hoogenboom and John Larson after he had to vacate the position in order to move to Okinawa. This report is from Raymond Hoogenboom.

29th Annual JALT Gunma Summer Workshop – in Ikaho

OVERVIEW
Twelve participants took part in the 29th edition of the Summer Workshop, headlined by Dr. Atsushi Iida, Associate Professor of English in the University Education Center at Gunma University. This year’s theme was Writing in the ESL Classroom, and in addition to Dr. Iida’s two keynote lectures, there were two other presenters. (We usually have four!) Of the 12 participants (including the featured speaker), 8 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 each 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 this year was much improved, as Sylvain Bergeron and I sat with the matron to design a healthy-as-possible meal. It is advisable to visit the venue (to get re-acquainted) and meet with the staff in the weeks before the event.

CHANGES & RECOMMENDATIONS
Although, we tried to create a system of vetting at-large presentations (like we did somewhat successfully last year), this year we failed to attract even one single presenter in the end. Two very attractive early submissions withdrew in mid-summer, and another who expressed interest got cold feet. To avoid collapse, John Larson kindly stepped up and produced a wonderful writing activity on Saturday, while I tried my best to produce a discussion on writer feedback. In the end, despite the low turnout, it was a very positive, fun, and relaxing summer workshop. What’s more, the low turnout was perhaps a number that was perfectly comfortable for the size of the presentation room. 
To continue a vetted presentation program in the future will require that a slate of important dates (opening of early-bird registration, abstract submission, notification of acceptance date, and registration deadline) be decided and coordinated by the Program Chair and team. This system can work smoothly and help the presenters better prepare for their talks, if we attract presenters. I recommend that we continue to vet at-large presentations to give our participants the best workshop possible, but perhaps we should reduce the number to two if we are going to have a small-scale summer workshop in this particular venue. We might also re-adjust the time allotments for both keynote and at-large presenters. This is something that we need to discuss as a group.
As mentioned above, there is no Internet connection, neither LAN nor wireless. If presenters would like to demonstrate online resources, and lack of Internet is a problem, we might lobby Gunma University to install Internet in the future (as they have already done so at the Kusatsu Seminar House).
As with the 2017 workshop, we ran an on-line registration system set up in conjunction with the website administrator (John). Also like last year, payment was made available via bank transfer or direct payment during a regular monthly meeting. I believe most paid in cash at monthly meetings held in April, May, June, and July. Payment at the door was originally advertised at ¥2,000 extra, but the extra fee was waived by officers onsite as the only two culprits were me (the primary organizer) and Shibayama-sensei (one of our founding fathers). Larson has expressed disagreement with the extra onsite payment fee, and I agree. This and all payment matters need to be discussed.
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.

CONCLUSION
We did not run a post-survey this year, so we do not know how people felt about the programs and other aspects of the workshop. From my view, all the administrative tasks ran smoothly, the food was good, people had fun, and presentations were interesting.
Michele Steele has dropped the name of a prominent, academically esteemed, and very personable presenter as a possible keynote for our 30th summer workshop, if we can have it. Personally, I would be delighted. However, even producing the smaller workshop in Ikaho is a lot of work. Hosting a nationally popular presenter might call for a larger venue, which would likely be quite more work and require a larger team. One option might be to have the workshop again in the Kusatsu Seminar House, as we did for many years before JACET moved the workshop to private commercial venues in Kusatsu (before they abandoned us altogether, thus our move to Ikaho). We should talk about this.


Publicity: Stephen Howes

The Publicity Chair maintained Gunma JALT's e­mail contacts list as well as the distribution of notices to these members and affiliated ("Outside") members from other JALT chapters, or non­current members of JALT. All contacts were kept up to date and identical in two different platforms, Gmail and MailChimp.
The following data indicates the highest percentage "opened" rate for the emails sent via MailChimp for each month, preceding the workshop.

Activity Report for Workshop Emails – Percentages (%) Opened

 

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Speakeasy

Jul-18

Aug-18

Summer Workshop

Sep-18

Oct-18

Members

59.4

56.3

 

58.5

58.5

56.9

61.5

76.2

71.4

81

 

75

Non-Members

& Outside

25.4

21.2

 

30.4

32.2

33

31.3

25.4

33.1

31.4

 

31.4


Within the MailChimp notices are 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 Facebook page was also shared outside Gunma JALT to our neighbouring chapters, and withing Gunma with a teaching group external to JALT. 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 of Google`s Calendar extension.

NEXT YEAR:
If approved, I would love to carry on the role of Publicity Chair in the coming year. Although my attendance at meetings and punctuality at replying to some emails has not been up to standard, I am committed to Gunma JALT`s purpose and will endeavour to send workshop notices within a suitable time frame.
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: Harry Meyer

Through the 2017-2018 academic year, the Gunma JALT Treasurer’s duties and responsibilities included the following:

  • Prepared honorarium and receipts for invited speakers
  • Collected receipts at monthly meetings from Gunma JALT officers and reimbursed them for chapter expenses.
  • Compiled and submitted the monthly revenue and expense report to the JALT Central Office (JCO) accountant.
  • Balanced the deposits and withdrawals from Gunma JALT Chapter Shinsei.
  • Prepared sufficient amount of funds prior to each meeting or special event.
  • Attended the annual Gunma JALT Ikaho Summer Seminar 2018.
  • Received and managed participation and lodging fees for Gunma JALT Ikaho.
  • Worked with other Gunma JALT Officers to compile, tabulate and prepare the yearly (2017-2018) Chapter Fiscal end of year report.

*It should be noted that withdrawals from ATMs are no longer free and that a ¥120 service now applies. As a result, I will try to keep ATM withdrawals to a minimum from now on.

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

Gunma JALT has been quite fortunate that, thanks to Lori and Hideto, we continue to have access to free space at Kyoai Gakuen College and Maebashi Institute of Technology. Both venues are: friendly, accommodating, and generous; spacious with pleasant atmosphere; well equipped with computers, projectors, and Wi-Fi; 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, Lori, and sometimes Fujieda-sensei 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 (and Fujieda-sensei).
Moreover, thanks to Gunma University we were able to secure Ikaho Seminar House at a very reasonable cost for our Summer Workshop. This year, the reservation was done by Barry Keith and I, and I oversaw the use of Ikaho Seminar House during the summer workshop, which Barry could not attend.

Social: Yoko Miyazaki, Barry Keith, & Sylvain Bergeron (Report by Yoko Miyazaki)


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.
Barry had been bringing the coffee-making apparatus to and from his home each meeting to serve freshly brewed coffee until August meeting.  At the Ikaho Summer Workshop, Sylvan kindly took charge of making coffee.
2017 year-end party was held at Lom Wine Bar, and was attended by 13 participants.

Next Year
Since Barry moved to Okinawa and Yoko intends to step down from the position, we need someone to take the position unless we discontinue the Social Chair position itself.


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 JALT.org. 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 JALT.org, 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. 


Election

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