Sessions / Interactive poster session
Discuss your poster for 40 minutes
Teachers Helping Teachers (THT) works to help fellow educators and students in and around Asia. To accomplish this, THT provides teacher-training workshops that exhibit practical and teacher-friendly approaches to language education that are informed by current research in the field. This poster describes the activities of THT in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, where THT offers a series of workshops every September that are tailored to the needs of instructors in the Kyrgyz context. Topics addressed by the presenter include the state of teaching in Kyrgyzstan, our partnership with the English Teachers’ Association (FORUM), our university host institutions throughout the country, suggestions for prospective participants, and what to expect from taking part. The presenter hopes that the information in the poster will inspire more Japan-based language instructors and researchers to involve themselves in opportunities to develop their careers through working with other educators in Asia.
The rate of women entrepreneurs in Japan is abysmally low compared to other nations. In fact, Japan ranks last among OECD countries, and data indicates that a mere 17% of Japanese women declared to have knowledge about starting or growing their own business. The current situation indicates the need for learning materials that not only introduce the topic of entrepreneurship to all students but also showcase female models of business success. To this end, the presenters have created a series of experiential learning materials centered around a strong female character, Mirai Takahashi, who is in the process of launching a business start-up with the guidance of her mentor, Catherine Sakamoto. Through Takahashi’s successes and failures, students experience the risks and rewards of starting their own company. The purpose of this session is to highlight how the presenters are currently using these materials and to introduce a series of academic studies regarding how material design can influence perceptions of entrepreneurship, gender equality, and digital transformation in business. The presenters will describe their current efforts to gather both quantitative and qualitative data for these studies and share their initial results. Active participation from audience members is strongly encouraged.
Creating equal educational opportunities for learners with disabilities was initiated by The Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities in 2016. JASSO (2020) estimates that the percentage of students with disabilities in post-secondary education has increased from 0.44% to 1.17% since 2014. Those students, however, remain under-supported in language education. Tonooka (2015) estimates that only 28% of university language classes offer support for students with disabilities in Japan. The Act of 2016 places responsibility of providing reasonable accommodation for learners with special needs on language teachers by merging their classes with those of non-disabled learners. This change has brought on a “destabilization in the practices of the typical teacher” (Goodley, 2014, p. 104) on one hand, and a shift in the notion of disability from impairment towards inaccessibility to learning resources on the other. This poster session will highlight various learning differences and a diversity of learner needs including communicative, physiological, and psychological differences in language classes. Presenters will share their insights into reconceptualizing accessibility in language learning. The goal is to facilitate discussions on raising awareness of how teachers can best support learners with special needs. Participants are welcome to share their experiences concerning accessibility in language learning.
To participate in the global conversation on combating climate change, Japanese university students need to be able to utilize their English language skills across a range of contexts. However, for most, their experience using English is typically limited to the classroom. Therefore, this study seeks to enhance the voice of Japanese university students by first analyzing a series of recent speeches by Swedish climate-change activist Greta Thunberg, transcribed in her book, “No one is too small to make a difference”. Being of a similar age and also speaking in a second language, Thunberg is an ideal public speaker for students to model. This research study consisted of two phases. Initially, a structural analysis of her speeches was conducted, exploring the established organizational frameworks front-loading and back-loading, as well as common message framing techniques attribute framing, goal framing, and loss/gain framing. Secondly, an examination of the persuasive discursive techniques used in her speeches was conducted, focusing on established rhetorical devices such as tripling, bookending, doubling, contrasting, and negative questions. This presentation will document the wide range of techniques (organizational and rhetorical) used by Thunberg and discuss how they can be used by Japanese university students seeking to move beyond generic English language classroom presentations.
Engaging students in online exchange has numerous positive effects; one is to keep students connected to the international community (Blake, 2000). This presentation focuses on how CEFR A1- to A2-level English learners engage in authentic communication with native English speakers through an online application during the pandemic as part of a two-month project. The purpose of this presentation is to share the project’s classroom practice and the effectiveness of its online communication exchange for speaking development and cultural understanding. In this project, university students learning English in Japan exchanged a video with students learning Japanese in the US. The main language used in the video was English. However, the topics included intercultural aspects, such as sharing stories about their favorite heroes. At the end of the project, the post-test speaking test showed increased gains in English learners’ fluency, accuracy, complexity, and lexical diversity, as the English learners may have picked up native terms from their video exchange partners. This presentation also provides feedback and comments from students from both countries and highlights issues that may arise during the project to assist future project organizers who are interested in conducting an international video exchange project.
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.
While plurilingual/multilingual speakers enrich their conversations by drawing from various languages, challenges abound. Two common obstacles plurilingual/multilingual speakers in Japan face is the use of Wasei Eigo or “English-based terms created in Japan,” (Gollin, 2013). While these words may “sound like English,” they often have different meanings from the words from which they were derived or may not even exist in the English language. Another pitfall concerns the appropriateness of words or phrases that may be acceptable in one culture but not in another. This presentation will offer a list of thirty Wasei Eigo terms encountered both in and out of the classroom over the past two years as part of a research project. While no means a comprehensive list, the terms shared will likely increase a teacher’s awareness of Wasei Eigo-based words and phrases in the ESL classroom. Wasei-Eigo based activities and materials such as an illustrated version of “Concentration” and Wasei-Eigo journals will be introduced and shared.
The Duolingo English Test (D.E.T.) is an online, on-demand English proficiency test. This test measures the language ability of test-takers across the four skills of reading, listening, writing and speaking, in a blended manner, where all skills are assessed in a single test. This test is typically much shorter than other proficiency tests and it can be done in the examinees’ own homes using their own computers. The adaptive nature of this test means it adjusts its questions based on the preceding (correct or incorrect) answers enabling it to measure competency rapidly and accurately.
Given the current Coronavirus pandemic, taking language proficiency examinations at test-centers is often not a viable option. Therefore, the D.E.T. may appear to be an affordable, convenient alternative to more traditional tests. However, despite its apparent advantages, it is not without its complications, so it should not be considered a panacea to the deficiencies of conventional testing.
This presentation will introduce teacher and student experiences of the D.E.T. based on information gleaned from questionnaires and interviews. It will elucidate the advantages and disadvantages of the test and also propose best practice guidelines for others wishing to employ this test in their own contexts.
Task-based Instruction (TBI) may be one of the most popular approaches used today for developing communicative competence in learners. Despite its popularity and pedagogical advantages, critics often question its socio-cultural suitability with learners in Asian contexts, such as Japan. Much of the discussion, however, seems to have centred on the views of theorists and teachers, often failing to incorporate evidence-based learners’ perspectives into the discussion.
This presentation reports the findings of an action research project, which investigated learner perceptions of Task-based Instruction (TBI), with the primary aim to examine its socio-cultural appropriateness in the Japanese EFL context. The study employed a hybrid form of task-based and textbook-focused instruction in English classes at the tertiary level. An online survey was administered to collect student feedback, which was examined qualitatively using thematic analysis. Results will be presented in both textual and graphical form and pedagogical implications drawn from this study will be discussed.
Interaction in the foreign language classroom can present learners with socially ambiguous situations, often compelling them to work with unfamiliar classmates. Such an environment may produce unsettling, or even anxiety-provoking experiences. To date, the primary focus of research on anxiety in the EFL context has been on the impact of foreign language anxiety. However, as interaction-centered approaches gain greater prominence, attention should be given to the role that social anxiety plays in student attitudes towards language learning. This study adopted a mixed-methods approach to examine the impact of an interaction-focused, oral communication curriculum on first-year university students’ perceptions of social anxiety. Analysis of pre- and post-test survey data (n = 385) revealed that, contrary to expectations of increased anxiety, learners experienced a significant reduction in feelings of unease over the course of a 15-week term. Qualitative data indicated multiple factors that helped mediate feelings of anxiousness, including affordances provided by the curriculum, improved interpersonal relationships, and transformations in the learners themselves. The results suggest that repeated interaction between learners which is focused on meaningful language use and low-risk self-disclosure can help to build social bonds that ease learners’ feelings of social anxiety.
In recent years, the importance of STEM education has been gaining increased attention. To thrive in the new technology-driven society, tomorrow’s graduates require excellent technical capabilities and well-refined soft skills. In Japan, STEM students face the additional task of improving their L2 competency. This poster will outline the development, implementation, and participants' impressions of a 15-week STEM English course for non-English major, Japanese university students. The course was developed to allow students to apply STEM content knowledge to improve communication skills, team-work, and higher-order thinking skills. The course covered five units, with each unit requiring two to three weeks to complete. The units included i) STEM Fundamentals, ii) The Scientific Method, iii) The Bernoulli Principle, iv) Parabolic Motion and v) Global Water Resources. The pattern for each unit was as follows: Lesson 1 - the main content and principles of the topic were introduced; Lesson 2 - students were tasked with planning and completing a simple hands-on experiment related to the main topic; and Lesson 3 - students reported their experiment findings to their peers through oral presentations.