Myshare + AGM

JALT November

Speakers: Cheryl Kirchhoff, Mark Brierley, Heather Fukase, Miguel Mision
Date: November 5th, Sunday
Time: 10:00 am – 12:15 pm
Venue: Agata no Mori Bunka Kaikan, あがたの森文化会館 (Google Map / 地図)
Admission: Free
Our November event will include the following presentations from our local members:


Online Communication Exchange Activities, Cheryl Kirchhoff
The Internet offers the potential for Japanese students to communicate with people of other cultures, yet often yields only problems and disappointment. I will explain factors that draw my college students into meaningful onlineintercultural communication.

Online support for Extensive Reading, Mark Brierley
Over the past ten years, language teachers at Shinshu University have collaborated with the IT department of the Engineering Faculty to create an online system for keeping track of students’ reading, and the Extensive Reading Foundation’s online placement test, which has been used by the students of almost 100 teachers in over 15 countries. Our latest project is investigating the creation of an ER cloud to support Extensive Reading.
Exposure to World Englishes through online recordings, Heather Fukase & Miguel Mission
English is now widely accepted as the Lingua franca because of its widespread application in business, science and politics. Students have much to benefit from listening to not just the spoken English of their teachers but also the various World Englishes now emerging. Farrell, Martin (2009) and Matsuda (2003) have all published research on the benefits of exposing learners to a mixture of English speakers.

In this current age of smartphones, it is easier than ever to gather spoken recordings from people from all over the world for the purposes of English learning through listening tasks. This presentation will demonstrate how simple the process can be and hopes to encourage others to share their recordings to create a growing pool of resources for all teachers to use.


Upcoming Annual General Meeting

Right after our November 5th event, we will hold our Annual General Meeting, where we will report on the state of our chapter and hold an election for next year’s officers. We are pleased to announce that the following members have volunteered for the positions listed below. However, please do not let this deter you from putting your name forward. All the officers would welcome your contribution, either as an assistant or replacement. If it is the former, it is a great way to learn more about the inner workings of Shinshu JALT, and if the latter, the current officers would be more than willing to serve as your mentor when you assume one of these roles. Like any volunteer position, it is time-consuming, but I can guarantee that you will find the experience rewarding.

Important notice:
We are sad to announce that Greg Birch, our beloved program chair who has been the backbone of our chapter for the past four years, is stepping down. As stated above, he is happy to serve as a mentor for anyone who is willing to serve as our new program chair. Please do consider this fantastic chance for professional development!

Volunteers as of October 13th:

President: Mary Aruga
Treasurer: Cheryl Kirchhoff
Programme*:
Publicity: Damian Gowland
Membership: Heather Fukase

*The program chair finds speakers, communicates with them and supervises arrangements for our events. They also draw up announcements to be used for publicity as well as send in reports to the JALT program database. If you have any interest in becoming the Programme Chair, or any other positions, please contact us at:

  • Mary Aruga (president) maryaruga@rs.tus.ac.jp
            or
  • Gregory Birch (current programme chair) gregorycbirch@gmail.com
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Event report: MOOCs and Professional Development

On the 24th of September, Shinshu JALT was fortunate to have Nathaniel Reed as a guest speaker for an event on MOOCs and professional development.

The day started with Gregory Birch sharing the results of his published research on the role of JTEs and ALTs throughout various schools within Nagano and Toyama prefecture. Greg’s work highlighted the differences in workplace roles within different prefectures and also levels of education. While English education policies may be trying to align role structures, the reality in the workplace is very different.

Nathaniel’s one hour presentation spent a majority of the time going through the current state of the ALT program in Japan. This included the history of the ALT program, the original intention and how the nature of the job has changed over time. His presentation also gave context to the issues currently facing the position of an ALT, from the teachers themselves as well as from the teachers, schools and administrations they work with. These include things such as culture shock, language barriers, JTEs failing to utilise their ALTs and the high turnover rate which sees many ALTs leaving only once they become experienced and proficient at their jobs.

This context served to highlight the increasing need for ALTs to pursue their own professional development, which is why he founded the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) – ALTTraining online. Nathaniel has called upon the help from various language teachers with years of experience to help contribute in creating content available for anybody to access online for free. The MOOC is already live (alttrainingonline.com) with some content available, although he is predicting all the courses and services to be ready by April next year.

Nathaniel Reed is still looking for people who may be interested to help with the MOOC in contributing content, proofreading or any other ideas that may assist the site. If you are interested please visit his website and contact him directly.