On Saturday, November 21 at the JALT2020 conference, the TD and CUE SIGs held their tenth joint forum, “Forms and Functions of Community in Education”.
The forum was conducted online via Zoom, and the format was slightly different from past years. Five members from the SIGs spoke in turn about their experiences in creating community.
First, Mathew Porter of Fukuoka Jo Gakuin Nursing University described a community among nurse educators in a nursing department at a Japanese university. Wendy Gough of Bunkyo Gakuin University spoke about the importance of mentors, and how to find or become one. Peter Brereton of International Christian University shared his experience in establishing a group of reflective practitioners which helped to more deeply connect his university with its associated high school. Daniel Hooper of Kanda University of International Studies shared the importance of action logs in adjusting to a new community during his transition from a small eikaiwa to a private international university. Dawn Lucovich of Nagano JALT and The University of Nagano spoke about the principles necessary to create a community of practice and how they can be implemented at JALT.
After the presenters spoke, there was a brief moderated discussion in which participants discussed in breakout groups how they might implement the ideas expressed to foster community in their own teaching contexts, and then shared some final thoughts with the full group. Please look forward to more collaboration with the CUE SIG on future forums!
On Tuesday, December 3, the TD SIG hosted a forum titled – Using Video in Language Teacher Education. The forum took place at Toyo University in Tokyo and was attended by approximately 15 people from a variety of different teaching contexts. The forum featured three speakers, Dr. Steve Mann from the University of Warwick, Robin Skipsey from the British Council, and Davey Young from Rikkyo University.
Dr. Mann opened the forum with a presentation that provided an overview of video uses for teacher development, and he gave some examples of different tools that could be used for implementing video projects. Following this, Robin Skipsey introduced the audience to a British Council project in which video was part of a cascade teacher training model. Robin talked about how trainee teachers used video to reflect on their own teaching practices, try new activities in their classrooms, and pass on useful approaches to others.
The final presentation saw Davey Young talk about how lesson observation videos are used to maintain quality assurance in a unified course at Rikkyo University. Through making recordings of lessons, both teachers and program managers were able to collaboratively assess how objectives were being met, for example.
As well as presentations, the forum also featured interviews. The TD SIG’s coordinator Matthew Turner asked questions to Robin about the content of his presentation, with Steve asking questions to Davey about his talk. Through the interviews, both the audience members and participants were able to interactively explore themes in more detail. The forum culminated in a discussion between the panel, led by questions from the audience.
On Friday, 19 July, professor Nick Ellis from the University of Michigan delivered a talk titled – Understanding Language and Learning: Theoretical, Methodological, and Cultural Developments in Applied Linguistics, at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. The event was hosted by JALT’s Tokyo chapter, and we were happy to co-sponsor the event alongside the West Tokyo and Yokohama chapters. Professor Ellis is an esteemed and notable scholar in the field of cognitive linguistics, as well as other related areas, and opened his presentation by taking the audience on a journey through his lengthy career. Professor Ellis then described important changes, trends and insights regarding second language acquisition research, and their implications for researchers and research. Focussing primarily on quantitative studies into cognition and language learning throughout his talk, professor Ellis concluded by discussing the expectations of scholars currently working in the field, by explaining about the open access and open data movements in modern academia, and the increasingly demanding rigours of conducting reliable, significant and empirically sound studies. Professor Ellis also talked about some of the figures in our field who are best placed to bridge the gap between researchers and teachers, and also offered some ideas on potential areas that need further investigation and research. We would like to thank Nick for his presentation, the hosts at Rikkyo university, as well as the three chapters who co-sponsored this event.
This year marked the eighth annual Teacher Journeys Conference, and the Teacher Development SIG, in collaboration with the JALT NanKyu Chapter, organised the Teacher Journeys x SUTLF Conference. The conference was held on Saturday, June 29th at Sojo University in Kumamoto, and was housed inside the recently built Sojo International Learning Center (SILC). The aim of the conference was to explore the winding but meaningful paths teachers take towards greater self-awareness and improved classroom practices.
The featured speakers were Christopher Hale of Akita International University and Fumi Takegami of the Prefectural University of Kumamoto. They spoke on the topics: ‘Educating the Educators: Exploring the Experiences of Teachers Enrolled in an American TESOL Program in Japan’ and ‘Reconceptualizing Practice: Implications for Teacher Development’, respectively.
Through the combined efforts of the day’s many presenters, conference attendees learnt about varying aspects of English pedagogy, the efforts teachers make in the classroom, the challenges they face and overcome, and how their varied encounters impact their professional aspirations and students’ motivation. The evening culminated in a networking dinner with the organisers, presenters and conference attendees.
The Teacher Development SIG and JALT NanKyu would like to thank all our presenters, invited guests, host (Sojo University), and the conference attendees for coming and taking part. To our members: thank you for your continued support. We are look forward to seeing you again at JALT National!
On Wednesday, March 20th, the Teacher Development SIG hosted a workshop on Teacher Identities and Emotions in partnership with Rikkyo University. Sam Morrisof Kanda University of International Studies first spoke on“Frustration Regulation in Japanese University English Language Teaching”. Through group discussion, he led the audience to understand the meaning of frustration and its negative and positive roles in teaching. He also outlined in detail several strategies to deal with frustration when such feelings arise.
Next, Christina Gkonou of the University of Essex delivered a talk entitled“Understanding Shifts in Language Teacher Identities and Emotions”. She outlined the relationship between our students, our colleagues, and ourselves with our identities as teachers as a central hub. Christina shared the important message that emotion and identity are not formed personally within ourselves, but socially and dynamically in our greater teaching contexts. The sessions lasted approximately three hours in total, and were attended by about 30 people.
The Teacher Development SIG would like to thank Christina and Sam, along with Rikkyo University for such an engaging event! Check out their talks below.
Teacher Journeys 2018 and Call for Co-Sponsors Next Year
On Sunday June 3, TD held its biggest annual event, Teacher Journeys, at Rikkyo University with co-sponsors Tokyo JALT. The conference was attended by about 50 people, and featured plenary talks by Dr. Christina Gkonou of the University of Essex, and Dr. Tomohisa Machida of Akita International University, along with sixteen presentations in four sessions throughout the day. Look forward to proceedings of the conference to be published in ETD in the coming months.
Currently we are looking for chapters to partner up with for Teacher Journeys 2019. Please get in touch with program chair Mike Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to bring the conference to your area next year.