Active Learning with Nobue Inoue and Brian Southwick

Shinshu JALT is proud to present our next event.


Speakers: Nobue Inoue and Brian R. Southwick
Date: March 3rd, Saturday
Time: 13:00-15:00
Venue: Level 3, Room 5, TOIGO CENTER, Nagano City, 長野市生涯学習センター3階第5教室 (map)
Admission: Free for members, 1000¥ for non-members

Sign up for the event via the Facebook event page here


The Japanese government has in recent years placed increasing emphasis on an active
model of learning, as distinct from the conventional passive paradigm, at the primary,
secondary, and tertiary level. In classrooms informed by active design, teachers are
facilitators rather than dispensers of knowledge, while students are discoverers or creators
of meaning as opposed to empty vessels. The active classroom incorporates presentations,
role-plays, discussions and debates and minimizes lectures. The rationale for the shift is
simple: students in the active classroom acquire a sense of ownership over their learning
and thus heightened levels of academic motivation. Our presentation will describe active
learning projects undertaken in English language classes in the Faculty of Tourism
Management at Niigata University of Management and discuss the feedback we have
received from students.



Both Nobue Inoue and Brian R. Southwick teach at Niigata University of Management (NUM) and help students majoring in tourism improve their English language skills.

Nobue Inoue is a Senior Lecturer at NUM. After working as a marketing communication
specialist and a Japanese-English/English-Japanese translator/interpreter for about four years, she decided to study abroad in Canada to broaden her horizons and acquire technical knowledge. Her study abroad experiences encouraged her to pursue an academic career; and she has been responsible for developing study abroad programs intended mainly for Japanese students for the past several years. She is interested in study abroad, student motivation and second language acquisition in general, and has presented at several JALT-related conferences for the past few years. She has a postgraduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Niagara College, and is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program (TESOL) at University of Portsmouth.

Brian R. Southwick is an Associate Professor at NUM. Upon being graduated from Louisiana State University in 1999 with an MA in pedagogy, emphasis secondary English Language Arts, he moved to Niigata and, from 2000-16, served as an Assistant Language Teacher with the Niigata City Board of Education. Currently in his second year at NUM, his interests include, in addition to active learning, English-language kamishibai, or Japanese picture-card storytelling, in the dual contexts of community revitalization and early English education.


Chubu English Language Education Society Conference

About once every 10 years, the Chubu English Language Education Society Conference is held in Nagano.  The highlight at this year’s conference (for us at least, there are over 80 presentations) will be Shinshu JALT’s sponsored speaker – Dr. Naoyuki Naganuma.  There will also be presentations by local members, Greg Birch and Dr. Sue Fraser, as well as a panel discussion about team teaching.  See the abstracts below for detailed information.  Hope to see you there.
Click here for more information about the conference.

JALT Shinshu will sponsor Dr Naoyuki Naganuma at the Chubu English Language Education Society – Nagano Conference

Event: Chubu English Language Education Society – Nagano Conference
 / 第47回 中部地区英語教育学会 長野大会
Date: June 24 – 25 (Sat&Sun), 2017
Venue: Shinshu University, Faculty of Education
/ 信州大学教育学部
Admission: JALT members, non-members  1500 yen for 2-day conference

Suggested presentations for JALT members

Date: June 25 (Sun), 2017
Time: 10:50 – 12:00
Room: Library (2Fl)
Presenter: Dr. Naoyuki Naganuma, Tokai University

Designing tasks informed by CEFR and CLIL to develop cognitive and intercultural skills
Under the current discussion for the direction the MEXT committees are taking for both primary and secondary education, deep learning, dialogical (collaborative) learning, and active (autonomous) learning are developing as the three key concepts in their plan. The MEXT committee’s curriculum direction is not limited to the area of foreign language, but includes all subject areas. The idea of deep learning is often discussed with the development of cognitive (thinking) skills, which naturally require sophistication of language and content, but we may need to consider the needs of thinking activities even at the lower language proficiency level when one thinks about the role tertiary level education plays.

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The CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) is now attracting more and more attention over the world as a reference of second/foreign language development describing skills ranging from more familiar basic communicative ones to more academic or professional ones, but what can the majority of A2 (waystage) and even A1 (breakthrough) level learners learn beyond BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills)? How can we foster their CALP (Cognitive/Academic Language Proficiency)? The CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) approach seems to be one of the possible solutions. We can design our language tasks gradually shifting the focus from LOTS (lower-order thinking skills): remembering, understanding and applying to HOTS (higher-order thinking skills): analyzing, evaluating, and creating. We need to scaffold not only their language skills but also their thinking skills to elicit curiosity and more involvement of the learners in the content they learn to activate their deeper thinking.

Another generic, non-linguistic, skill to be developed is the skill to cope with diversified society and cultures. Mutual intercultural understanding and communication are essential even among learners. The INCA (Intercultural Competence Assessment) framework describes six key competences from the points of openness (respect for otherness and tolerance of ambiguity), knowledge (knowledge discovery and empathy) and adaptability (behavioral flexibility and communicative awareness) in three levels (basic, intermediate and full). Informational and relational aspects are two sides of the same coin of language communication, and we cannot ignore the importance of rapport management when we pursue language tasks. Critical cultural awareness helps us to think more logically, and from various perspectives, while empathizing with others. Thus it is necessary to sophisticate both cognitive and intercultural competences in this rapidly globalizing world.

Naoyuki Naganuma, Ph.D., is a professor of the International Education Center at Tokai University. He got his doctor’s degree in 2006 from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. His research interests are mainly on language learning motivation and language testing, especially can-do oriented assessment to promote learning and motivation. He was a committee member of MEXT for setting learning attainment targets in the form of can-do lists in foreign language education.

Date: June 25 (Sun), 2017
Time: 9:30 – 10:00
Room: 第1室 (N101)
Presenter: Gregory Birch, Seisen Jogakuin College

Implementing the Language Portfolio for Japanese University: A Pragmatic Approach
Under pressure from university administration to document the effectiveness of an EFL university program, the author prepared a guidebook to clarify the learning outcomes for this program and a curriculum tree to specify in which classes these outcomes were to be achieved, and utilized the Language Portfolio for Japanese University (LP-J)(Framework & Language Portfolio SIG, 2009) to monitor and document student progress.

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The LP-J is based on the European Language Portfolio, which was created by the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education and linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) (Council of Europe, 2001).

The purpose of this presentation is to describe how elements of the LP-J have been implemented, and outline its primary use as a pedagogic tool to document student language learning achievements, record significant language learning and intercultural experiences, and provide concrete evidence of the students’ communicative proficiency.  A secondary goal was to promote learner autonomy through goals setting and reflection, and faculty involvement through monitoring.

The LP-J was utilized to encourage students to monitor progress in relation to program goals (i.e. Learning Outcomes). Assessment of student performance against these outcomes serves as a measure of accountability.  At this time, a key aspect of the portfolio that has not been utilized is its use as a self-assessment tool in relation to CEFR Can-do statements. The use of Can-do statements was avoided as their use implies that the existing curriculum was designed based on CEFR, and goals at each level - from curriculum to individual classes to activities - have been clearly identified and communicated to the students, agreed upon by all stakeholders, and linked to CEFR’s illustrative scales.  Therefore, it was felt that the most pragmatic way to implement key aspects of the Common European Framework of References for Languages was through a partial introduction of the Language Portfolio for Japanese University.

Date: June 25 (Sun), 2017
Time: 10:10 – 10:40
Room: 第1室 (N101)
Presenter: Sue Fraser, Seisen Jogakuin College

We have to? We want to? Tertiary-level Language Learning Motivation in Japan
Ever-increasing opportunities for worldwide interaction through business, travel, technology and social media are motivating learners around the globe to acquire English communication skills. However, is this also true in Japan? The purpose of this on-going study is, therefore, to explore and compare language learning motivation, attitudes to studying English, and perceived L2 ability among Japanese learners approaching the end of obligatory English education.
Cohorts of 2nd-year students of Education, English, and Engineering at three different universities are surveyed each year to elicit interest in and reasons for studying English, and experiences of the L2 learning process. Results are compared every three years to identify patterns in responses, in order to ascertain to what extent motivation has varied over time. Responses also reflect how recent changes in English education and MEXT policy aims of internationalisation may be influencing motivation.

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Data are interpreted in relation to motivational concepts including L2 Self System, International Posture, and Integrative/Instrumental Orientations. Differing views of those majoring in English or other subjects, as well as relationships between motivation and perceived L2 ability, are examined. Quantitative results are discussed, and qualitative examples are provided to allow for student voices to be heard. Classroom activities reported by participants as effective and enjoyable are also highlighted.

Findings include indications that despite a stated desire to communicate with foreigners, there is a decline in interest in travelling or studying abroad and in seeking out opportunities for international exchange. The gap between the ideal L2 self and the actual L2 learner may thus suggest a trend toward insularity rather than intended globalization. Identifying what learners enjoy in L2 classes and what inspires them to study has implications for establishing and sustaining motivation, which in turn may inform curriculum planning, materials design, and classroom methodology on what is appropriate for tertiary-level English education.

Date: June 25 (Sun), 2017
Time: 13:30 – 15:30
Room: 第2会場   (N201)
Presenter(s): Peter Ferguson, Nara University of Education; Simon Woodgett, Fukui Prefecture Board of Education

Teaching and Assessment with ALTs

Thirty years have passed since the JET Program started. When we observe English classes now, various roles of ALTs can be identified. For example, the ALT is used as an assistant and acts based on the JTE’s direction, or sometimes the ALT is the main teacher with the JTE assisting students’ comprehension of English. In many situations the current TT (team-teaching) system works well; so what are these good points? On the other hand, in some situations the present TT system does not work so well; so what are the problems and the solutions?

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We can improve the current TT situation, by giving all ALTs an independent role in covering aspects that they are uniquely suited to that perhaps the JTEs are not, and vice versa. Making the best use of both ALTs and JTEs, by having them work together mutually and interactively, should be the ideal of a new type of TT. Our goal is to point out the merits and problems of the current TT system, propose possible solutions for the problems and give useful hints/ideas/examples to further expand the positive aspects. This presentation will not be a lecture or a one-way presentation; we would like to encourage the audience to engage in group-discussions in order to share and co-create some new ideas relating to the themes that we will address.

➀ Making CAN-DO Lists to Share the Goals between JTEs and ALTs
Haruhiko Naito (Asahi Junior high school)
This presentation shows the merits of goal sharing between JTEs and ALTs. Last year, we started making CAN-DO lists to share the goal of each unit and criteria for the evaluation with students. However, we did not make them with the ALTs. The ALTs suggested some good activities for classes, but sometimes the activities are not focused towards the goal of unit set by JTEs because the goals hadn’t been shared with the ALTs. 

Based on this situation, we are making two kinds of CAN-DO list with ALTs now. These are “Grade CAN-DO” and “Unit CAN-DO”. “Grade CAN-DO” shows the goal of each grade by term and unit. “Unit CAN-DO” shows the goal of each section within each unit. Through making CAN-DO lists with ALTs, we can share the goals and we can make teaching plans and activities that work towards these goals. In addition, understanding the goal will allow for more tailored feedback from ALTs and JTEs for the students. In my presentation, I will introduce our CAN-DO list, how we can make them with ALTs, and how we use them in class.

➁ Effective Use of ALTs in the Classroom – In Regards to Oral Assessment, Student Motivation & Creative Communication
Simon Woodgett (Fukui Board of Education)
After collating feedback and research from teacher-training sessions, I have identified the most common concerns of each party involved in TT, which in brief, is as follows: Many ALTs feel underutilized and unsatisfied in their current roles. Many JTEs, on the other hand, feel overburden and over pressured, whereas many students feel they learn English only to pass tests and not in order to develop it as a useful tool for international communication. 

Addressing these concerns, I will explain and show the success story of my experience introducing a new system for oral assessment in TT class, as well as the importance of making students active agents in their own English language progression. This will be followed by some audience-interactive examples of how to encourage students to communicate in a more creative and effective way beyond their current language level.

➂ Effective Team-teaching for Improved Student Achievement
Peter Ferguson (Nara University of Education)
TT should be a collaboration of abilities and backgrounds with the sole aim of improving student learning through effective classroom practices. TT provides a number of benefits, both real and perceived, not only for students, but for the teachers as well. In other words, effective TT should have an impact on both the students and the teachers involved. However, TT requires teachers, especially JTEs, to take up two teaching methods and styles. This can be difficult for many teachers for a variety of reasons. But if teachers are willing to be flexible in their teaching methodologies, there are a number of benefits – both professionally and personally – that can be gained. 

Why are two heads better than one? By having two English teachers in the classroom they can demonstrate effective communication skills/strategies, properly demonstrate the use of non-verbal communication, increase the lexical input and provide varied sources of input for students. TT also enables teachers to be less reliant on the textbook, which brings language learning to life for the students. All of this could possibly lead to improved student motivation and student achievement. 

The main goal of TT is to improve students’ English language development in the classroom. This presentation will focus on how TT can be an effective method to improve student L2 acquisition.



Event Report: Developing literacy through CLIL for young learners + Luna’s BBQ


Chiyuki’s presentation began with a brief introduction to CLIL and inviting an open discussion on what people thought it involved. While there were many rough ideas, Chiyuki explained two approaches to CLIL: hard – which is more content driven and soft- which focuses more on language learning through content. A third and more preferrable option exists which she dubbed “comfortable CLIL”, which synergizes both approaches.

An important factor in CLIL is selecting material that is interesting for students and can elicit further thinking and language use. Forutnately for the participants on the day representatives from Macmillan brought a variety of books that demonstrated learning material that was well illustrated and designed specifically for CLIL style learning. Many of which Chiyuki highly recommended.


The main segment of the presentation was a group activity where participants were asked to design a unit around the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk”. CLIL lesson design involves the use of the four C’s – Cognition, Culture, Content and Communication. Groups had to take these into account when designing lessons and their answers varied significantly with each group – from learning about planting seeds to acting out an alternative ending.

As the presentation wound up and people’s stomachs started to grumble, participants headed to the nearby Susugi river to enjoy a barbeque hosted by Luna International and Macmillan. Given the success of the day Macmillan has agreed to make this an annual event, ShinshuJALT would like to deeply thank all the people who made the day possible. We look forward to the same success next year.

Barbeque photos courtesy of Dragon Photography by Mike George

Practise, Create, Motivate: English through Drama

On Feb 19th, Shinshu JALT will host a special event for teachers interested in learning how drama techniques can be utilised in the EFL classroom to get students speaking.  Due to work commitments, our original speaker is unable to attend. Rather than miss this opportunity to get together, long-time contributor, Dr. Sue Fraser – a Best of JALT recipient, has kindly offered to share her expertise.  (In turn, Greg has promised to be nice to Sue for the next 13 days, which also provides a bit of drama and some serious acting skills).  Take a look at the abstract (and Sue’s credentials) and you will agree that this will be well worth your time.  Looking forward to seeing you there.
Practise, Create, Motivate:  English through Drama

conferencelogoSpeaker: Dr. Sue Fraser
: Feb 19th (Sun), 2017
Time: 10:30~12:30 pm
Venue:  Matsumoto City Tourist Information Office 2F  (One block south of Matsumoto Castle.) 松本市市民活動サポートセンター
Google Map
Sponsors: Japan Association for Language Teaching: Shinshu Chapter 全国語学教育学会  信州支部

Practise, Create, Motivate:  English through Drama

Workshop:  10:30 – 12:30 Speaker: Dr. Sue Fraser

‘Drama’ is not simply ‘acting’. When employed in educational settings, Drama encompasses a wide range of activities to encourage creativity, interaction, confidence-building, and communication skills and strategies; thus motivating learners to become involved and express themselves. Drama in FLT has diverse uses for grammatical and phonological practice, developing presentation skills and overall fluency, and encouraging critical thinking and intercultural awareness.

In this workshop, a range of activity types involving Drama, adaptable to various FLT classroom contexts, will be experienced and analysed: from one-off warmers, to ideas for textbook adaptation, to creative performance projects. Active participation is expected!

Dr. Sue Fraser teaches at Seisen Jogakuin College, Shinshu University, and Nagano National College of Technology (Kosen), and tutors on Birmingham University’s distance-learning M.A. in Applied Linguistics/TESOL.  She has applied her life-long performing and academic involvement in Theatre and Drama to EFL teaching, teacher training and materials writing.  She has published on varieties of spoken English, Drama and learner autonomy, spoken and written fluency, and L2 learning motivation, and co-authors various Japanese university entrance exam preparation textbooks.

Admission:  JALT members free.  Non-members: 1000 yen.  
Inquiries: Gregory Birch (
See events calendar for latest details.
Signup for the event via facebook here.

JALT National Pre-Conference My Share + Annual General Meeting (AGM)

JALT National Pre-Conference My Share +
Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Date: November 12 (Sat.), 2016.
Time: 13:30~15:30 pm (AGM: 15:45-16:30)
Venue:  Matsumoto City Tourist Information Office 2F  (One block south of Matsumoto Castle.) 松本市市民活動サポートセンター
Admission:  This will be a free event, all interested parties are welcome.  これは無料イベントとなり、気になる方是非来てください。

JALT National Pre-Conference My Share + AGM

At our November event, members presenting at JALT National will share their research, and Damian Gowland will talk about his experience on a CELTA course in the Galapagos Islands. We will also hold our Annual General Meeting, which includes a report on the state of the chapter and an election for next year’s officers.


Miguel Mision – Mobile Assisted Language Learning for Young Learners.

While MALL offers many opportunities for language learners to communicate and exchange ideas with each other, there have been few developments for elementary or beginner level learners who have not reached the communicative ability necessary for iCALL. Many applications are created using dated memorisation and quiz designs. This presentation will explore key design features of MALL for young learners and how they are currently and could be utilized for learning.

Miguel Mision has been teaching English at elementary schools in Japan for 8 years. He completed a Masters degree in TESOL, graduating with first class honors and focused his dissertation on Mobile Assisted Language Learning. He is the current webmaster for JALT Shinshu Chapter.


Gregory Birch – JTEs’ and ALTs’ views on teaching materials

This study continues earlier research (Birch, 2008) into the state of team teaching in Japanese junior and senior high schools by examining textbook usage, lesson preparation and materials selection in team-teaching contexts, and professional development among ALTs.  Results are based on surveys completed by 120 Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and 80 Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) during the Skills Development Conference in two prefectures, and interviews to further explore survey results.

Gregory Birch, a professor at Seisen Jogakuin College in Nagano, Japan, has presented and written articles on Task-Based Learning and teacher training. He is the current Program Chair for JALT Shinshu Chapter.


Damian Gowland Training abroad: CELTA

In this presentation I will talk about my experiences on the CELTA course in the Galapagos Islands. This presentation will cover aspects of the course, professional development and the benefits of training abroad.

Damian Gowland has been teaching English at a private language school in Matsumoto, teaching learners of all abilities from the age of 2 up to adults. He is a trained Cambridge English speaking examiner for YLEs, KET, PET, FCE, CAE & CPE exams. He is the current Publicity Chair for JALT Shinshu Chapter.

Inquiries: Gregory Birch (
Signup for the event via facebook here
See events calendar for latest details.

場所は、JALTのホームページのイベントカレンダーから検索できます (

Teaching Debate

Teaching Debate with Ikegami Hiroshi Sensei
Date: September 22nd (Thurs.), 2016.
Time: 10:30~12:30 pm
Venue:  Matsumoto City Tourist Information Office 2F  (One block south of Matsumoto Castle.) 松本市市民活動サポートセンター
Google Map
Sponsors: Japan Association for Language Teaching: Shinshu Chapter 全国語学教育学会  信州支部

Teaching Debate
Speaker: Ikegami Hiroshi (Agata High School)

Let’s introduce debate activity into class

In this workshop, Mr Ikegami will discuss the present situation of debate at the high school level and various ways of introducing debate into class.  Participants will then have the opportunity to experience ‘classroom debate.’

Mr Hiroshi Ikegami has been coaching debate teams for the last 23 years, since the birth of the high school English debate contest in Nagano.  His teams have won championship 10 times out of 23 contests.  Mr Ikegami is also one of the founding executive members of the High School English Debate Association (HenDA), and is currently the chief of the international section of HenDA, which is responsible for sending Team Japan to the World School Debate Championships (WSDC).


Admission:  JALT members free.  Non-members: 1000 yen.  JALT会員は無料、非会員は当日1000円
Inquiries: Gregory Birch (
See events calendar for latest details.

場所は、JALTのホームページのイベントカレンダーから検索できます (

Teaching Presentation Skills

Teaching Presentation Skills:  Process, Content, Performance, Evaluation.
Dr. Sue Fraser and Gregory Birch

Date: April 23rd (Sat.), 2016.           Time: 14:00~16:30 pm
Venue:  Nagano City Lifelong Learning Center, TOIGO Plaza
長野市生涯学習センター(第4学習室)Room 4

‘Making a presentation’ is a task type commonly employed in educational settings, as well as an essential skill used in professional contexts.  In this session, the process to develop presentation skills, which includes a focus on content, performance and evaluation, will be analyzed.  Each step will be exemplified through informal classroom-based presentations and high-stake scripted speeches in formal academic settings.  Application to professional contexts will also be discussed in relation to a current ESP training course for employees at Nagano-based engineering companies.

Gregory Birch teaches at Seisen Jogakuin College and Nagano National College of Technology.  Dr. Sue Fraser teaches at Seisen Jogakuin College, Nagano National College of Technology, and Shinshu University, and tutors on Birmingham University’s distance-learning M.A. (TESOL) programme. Both teach presentation skills at the tertiary level, organize and judge speech contests for college and high school students, and run an ESP presentation workshop for Nagano TECHNO Foundation.

Admission:  JALT members free.  Non-members: 1000 yen.  JALT会員は無料、非会員は当日1000円
Inquiries: Gregory Birch (
See events calendar for latest details.
Signup for the event via facebook here.

場所は、JALTのホームページのイベントカレンダーから検索できます (