Ellen Head

Miyazaki International College.

I am from Britain and have lived and worked in Japan since 2000. At Pan SIG 2021, I will be presenting a poster about how my personal reading of some books by Black authors during 2020 helped me to teach a global issues class, and I will be presenting with Tsurii Chie at the Learner Development forum about the impact of native speakerism on learner autonomy.


#BLM in Fragile White Classroom

How can stories, delivered through movies or words attract students and support the development of a more nuanced understanding of the world? This poster presentation focuses on a personal “critical incident” between a white British teacher and Japanese students. The presenter describes how her personal reading encounters with YA authors like Angie Thomas, Alex Wheatle and Brittney Morris, led to a new perspective on racism. With this new perspective she noticed how the Japanese students’ interpretations of the information in their old text book sounded as if they were expressing a racist point of view, even though the textbook author’s intention was to highlight social injustice in the USA. Was that due to their low language level or to stereotypical thinking about race, or both? Disentangling the linguistic aspects from the attitudinal aspect was difficult and uncomfortable. However, as JBP Gerald (2020) suggests “uncomfortable conversations” should not always be avoided. Hearing JBP Gerald’s lecture at Kyoto JALT in 2020 encouraged this teacher to show part of the movie “The Hate You Give” to the class. Discussing the ethical issues raised by the movie produced deeper reflections from students. It is hoped that after attending this presentation fellow educators will be inspired to read and teach more literature and movies by Black authors and directors.

Challenges in Multilingual Learner Development

Sat, May 15, 18:00-19:30 JST

Connecting with the theme of “Local and Global Perspectives: Plurilingualism and Multilingualism,” this forum will feature presentations that explore the development of linguistic diversity in learners’ lives and environments, whether within formal education or in the wider world. What affordances and constraints do learners face in developing their linguistic repertoires beyond a simple binary of first and second language? What challenges do they face as multilingual learners and users in participating in different communities and in becoming more autonomous? What peculiar trajectories do learners’ language biographies take, and what dilemmas, questions, or puzzles do they have? Why? In this Learner Development SIG Forum at PanSIG 2021, we would like to explore the challenges and benefits of learning and using multiple languages from diverse perspectives. The forum will feature timed rounds of interactive presentations followed by reflective writing and discussion. Presenters and participants will also be invited to contribute writing and related multimedia resources to the LD SIG’s newsletter, Learning Learning.