2012 Events

December 9th: Learning a Language: No Single Best Method

Prof. Shinichi Izumi, Sophia University & Prof. Andy Curtis, Anaheim University, USA

In this well-attended joint Tokyo JALT Conference held at Temple University, plenary speaker Prof. Shinichi Izumi (Department of English Language and Studies, Sophia University, Tokyo) presented on "Beliefs about Language Learning, Learning Strategies, and Confidence of EFL Learners", and Prof. Andy Curtis (Graduate School of Education, Anaheim University, California, USA; the Department of Languages and Cultures at Sabana University, Bogota, Colombia) presented on "The Origins of the 'Best Method Movement': Past, Present and Future".

October 21st: "Projects International" Project-Based Learning

John Eyles, Auckland University of Technology

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Projects International (PI) was explained in a dynamic presentation given by John Eyles (plenary speaker at JALT2012) to a receptive audience of junior high, high school, and university teachers. PI is a not for profit network of educators working to develop student's communicative / action competence to participate positively as citizens in a global society. The presentation looked at the PI philosophy and method of project based learning, reviewed past projects and led a discussion on how similar initiatives can be developed in classrooms throughout Japan. Website: http://www.projectsinternational.org

October 11th: Writing Center in India: Offering tutoring services to students with diverse backgrounds

Ranjit Rodrigues, Ashok Dange, Chowgule College, Goa, India

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This was the 2nd year to host faculty from Chowgule College in Goa to present issues related to running their highly successful writing center. Speakers Ranjit Rodrigues (director of the Writing Center) and Ashok Dange explained the results of an important study conducted through the writing center, and explained how the results of this study affects the facilitation of the center. The focus of this year's presentation was on dealing with students with diverse backgrounds. Questions such as "Should sessions be conducted in the native or target language?' were discussed among others. Issues related to running an English-language writing center in Japan were discussed as well. It was a very insightful and practical event for dealing with English education for non-native English speaking students.



September 21st: The Future of Language Learning: A New Learning Management System (special event in conjunction with Language Cloud and the US Embassy)

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Language Cloud, an education technology startup and the U.S. Embassy hosted a conference on "The Future of Language Learning". There was an enlightening and lively panel discussion (with representatives from Language Cloud, the US Embassy, the JET Program, and JALT) on the challenges and successes using technology as part of language education, and some significant predictions of how the learning experience will change with new cloud-based technologies entering the market. It was a well attended event with technologists, publishers, and educators interested in learning about these new technologies, and educators were given some great ideas on how to integrate them into their courses.


June 12th: Assessment without Evaluation: A Way Out of the Grammar-Feedback Dilemma

Professor Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University

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Prof. Matsuda's extremely well-attended seminar provided insightful and important perspective on assessing students' written work without focusing on grammar, and in fact, not marking for grammar at all. He referred to Truscott's (1996) controversial article about the efficacy of grammar feedback. Prof. Matsuda--an experienced writing teacher, researcher and teacher educator--pointed out that teachers who do assess for grammar end up penalizing students for what they cannot teach reliably. He emphasized the importance of aligning teaching and assessment and proposed assessment that focuses on formative rather than summative feedback. The session ended with a lively discussion of how this proposed solution might work in practice.  

Five lucky participants received a door prize: The "tech series" USB with valuable classroom software! See photo below.

October 11th: Writing Center in India: Offering tutoring services to students with diverse backgrounds

Ranjit Rodrigues, Ashok Dange, Chowgule College, Goa, India

Picture

This was the 2nd year to host faculty from Chowgule College in Goa to present issues related to running their highly successful writing center. Speakers Ranjit Rodrigues (director of the Writing Center) and Ashok Dange explained the results of an important study conducted through the writing center, and explained how the results of this study affects the facilitation of the center. The focus of this year's presentation was on dealing with students with diverse backgrounds. Questions such as "Should sessions be conducted in the native or target language?' were discussed among others. Issues related to running an English-language writing center in Japan were discussed as well. It was a very insightful and practical event for dealing with English education for non-native English speaking students.



September 21st: The Future of Language Learning: A New Learning Management System (special event in conjunction with Language Cloud and the US Embassy)

Picture

Language Cloud, an education technology startup and the U.S. Embassy hosted a conference on "The Future of Language Learning". There was an enlightening and lively panel discussion (with representatives from Language Cloud, the US Embassy, the JET Program, and JALT) on the challenges and successes using technology as part of language education, and some significant predictions of how the learning experience will change with new cloud-based technologies entering the market. It was a well attended event with technologists, publishers, and educators interested in learning about these new technologies, and educators were given some great ideas on how to integrate them into their courses.


June 12th: Assessment without Evaluation: A Way Out of the Grammar-Feedback Dilemma

Professor Paul Kei Matsuda, Arizona State University

Picture


Prof. Matsuda's extremely well-attended seminar provided insightful and important perspective on assessing students' written work without focusing on grammar, and in fact, not marking for grammar at all. He referred to Truscott's (1996) controversial article about the efficacy of grammar feedback. Prof. Matsuda--an experienced writing teacher, researcher and teacher educator--pointed out that teachers who do assess for grammar end up penalizing students for what they cannot teach reliably. He emphasized the importance of aligning teaching and assessment and proposed assessment that focuses on formative rather than summative feedback. The session ended with a lively discussion of how this proposed solution might work in practice.  

Five lucky participants received a door prize: The "tech series" USB with valuable classroom software! See photo below.


Apr. 17th: Language and Technology: Rationale for Inclusion in the Japanese University EFL Classroom

Eucharia Donnery


Starting off the new academic year with this very well attended third event in the tech series, Eucharia Donnery shared her research findings involving Skype and CALL. She explained that by the inclusion of technology into the language curriculum, it can be a veritable wellspring for maximizing English usage in the classroom. In the workshop, participants discussed their own experiences with technology, discussing ways of overcoming the limitations of institutional facilities, and how to balance their use of technology in language teaching with more traditional methods.



March 23rd: Cooperative Learning Structures to Promote Language Acquisition

Dr. Spencer Kagan

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Dr. Kagan shared his cooperative learning strategies/structures and explained how they dramatically improve comprehensible input, frequency of language production, and a safe social environment. In this well attended event, participants experienced a number of structures. Using RallyRobin students take turns speaking to a partner. Using Timed Pair Share in pairs each student speaks for an allotted time. Structures dramatically increase language output: In contrast to calling on students one at a time, using the structures language output is increased dramatically, accelerating language acquisition.


February 9th: Mobile Audio Recording and the Web for Language Teachers

Scott Lockman


The success of the "tech series" continued with this second event. Scott Lockman introduced free web-based tools and a process for using cell phone technology. Attendees were provided with a summary and evaluation of several of the various free web-based tools and free mobile applications for recording and distributing audio, and shown how to set up and maintain the necessary accounts, and produce an actual transmission. Scott also introduced his current self-reflection project, Slices of Life (http://scottlo.com), which he hopes to publish as a free eBook for teachers interested in using audio for self-reflection.


January 16th: Building Skills and Confidence with Blogs

Christopher Shore


The first workshop was a great success! The 20 participants who attended were taken through a careful explanation of how to use a class blog to encourage learner autonomy and promote language skills development focusing on subjects the students enjoy. The example in the workshop was the use of a blog on photography in Tokyo, where students wrote reviews of exhibits at various lesser-known galleries around the city. This led to an enthusiastic brainstorming and Q&A session in which participants took home a list of potential ideas for starting their own class blogs.


Technology Series (Jan - May 2012)

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Congratulations to our four-time attendees

May 21st: Teaching 140 Characters at a Time: Twitter and the Language Classroom

Tom Edwards


In this very informative seminar, Tom Edwards described how Twitter can be an efficient means of providing students with English language material when they are outside the classroom. Attendees were given an overview of potential problems, including privacy and security, and ways to address them. This was followed by best practices for using Twitter in the language classroom. Specific examples of activities that can be used to build vocabulary and guide classroom discussions were discussed.






Japanese here please.

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