March 16, 2012

May 2012 Mini-Conference


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The Japan Association for Language Teaching
JALT Ibaraki Chapter
2012 May Meeting

May 12th Program
Session I
14:00 - 15:20 - Featured Speaker Presentation
David Barker
Gifu University
Title: What is “English conversation,” and how can it be taught?
Almost every teacher in Japan will have some experience of teaching a conversation class. In many cases, the aims of these classes do not extend beyond a general notion of “getting the students talking,” and this is all too often reflected in the very limited results that they achieve. I believe that many conversation classes fail to produce measurable results because the students simply do not have a sufficient command of the language that they need to converse. To use a theatrical metaphor, teaching English conversation to Japanese university students is a bit like trying to teach dramatic skills to actors who don’t know their lines. In this presentation, I will consider what English conversation actually is, how it can be taught, and what kinds of knowledge students need to have before they can reasonably be expected to learn how to do it.
David Barker is from North Wales in the United Kingdom. He has been teaching English for almost 20 years, and he has taught in the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, and Japan. He has the RSA Diploma in TEFLA, an MA in applied linguistics, and a PhD in English language education. He has worked full-time at three Japanese universities, and part-time at four more. He has also taught in several junior high and high schools. He is the author of seven books and various magazine and newspaper articles for Japanese learners of English, and he is the owner and founder of BTB Press.
Session II
15:40 - 16:40
Atsushi Iida
Gunma University
Title: Learn to write in a second language: Issues and challenges of teaching writing in Japanese EFL contexts
The aim of this presentation is to discuss how Japanese learners can learn to write in English. The presenter will address some issues of second language (L2) writing in Japanese contexts and share one of his methods of teaching L2 writing for communicative purposes.
Session III
16:50 - 17:25
Dan Waldhoff
Ibaraki University
Title: An Update to Using Contemporary Technology Tools in the Classroom - The Adjacent Possible Revisited
As promised in my May 28, 2011 Ibaraki JALT presentation and article in the January 2012 JALT Journal: In this presentation I'll explain what I have learned and applied to previously incorporated internet and hand held technologies. I've achieved further reduction in the volume of paper being cycled through the classroom and taken better advantage of students' networking know how to make their learning experience and my own work life even more efficient.
17:35-18:20 Business Meeting
May 13th Program
Session IV
Hidenori Kuwabara
Sophia University
Title: Reasons behind learners’ silence and unwillingness in EFL classes
Since the 1970s, traditional teaching methods (i.e. grammar translation and audio-lingual methods) have been criticised. As a result, in the 1980s, Communicative Language Teaching was formally introduced into the Japanese English curriculum. However, although there are positive comments from Japanese university students about learning English, they still tend to hesitate or be unwilling to participate in certain communication activities. These attitudes of the learners seem to be influenced by the effect of Japanese affective variables and beliefs about English learning on the methodology from which the communication based activities arise. Affective variables to be addressed in communicative activities (especially speaking activities) are ‘anxiety’ and ‘confidence’. The Japanese beliefs about English learning indicate that, for example, ‘learning should involve understanding grammar’, ‘it is better to stay silent rather than to speak and make mistakes’ and so on. The affective variables and beliefs about language learning may strengthen the learners’ ‘Affective Filter’ which is said to be a mental barrier preventing learners from acquiring the target language.
In this presentation, I will provide more detailed explanations about the affective variables, beliefs about English learning and the Affective Filter. There will also be a comparison of language activities (based on several methods and approaches) in relation to affective variables and beliefs about language learning.
Session V
11:00-12:00 - Featured Speaker Presentation
David Barker
Gifu University
Title: What I learned in French Class
In April last year, I decided to join a beginner’s French class at a culture center in Nagoya. This was partly because I regretted having forgotten all the French I learned at school, but also partly because I wanted to once more have the experience of being a beginner in a language classroom. In this presentation, I will discuss some of the things I learned through experiencing a language classroom from a student’s point of view. In particular, I will focus on the teacher’s use of the students’ language, and how learners in my class responded to different patterns of interaction. I will discuss how my experience has affected my own teaching, and I will suggest that many current mainstream ideas about what constitutes effective language teaching may be misguided.

Two-Day Schedule
Saturday May 12th
Sunday May 13th
13:00 Check In
Session I Featured Speaker
14:00-15:20 David Barker
Session II
15:40-16:40 Atsushi Iida
Session III
16:50-17:25 Dan Waldhoff
17:35-18:20 Business Meeting
18:30 Dinner, Drinks and Sleep
Sunday May 13th
8:30 Check Out
9:00 Breakfast
Session IV
10:00-10:50: Hidenori Kuwabara
Session V Featured Speaker
11:00-12:00: David Barker
12:00 Go Home
Overnight stay including two meals = ¥3500
Time - Location
Saturday to Sunday, May 12th – 13th 2012
The Mini-Conference will be at the National Center for Teachers' Development ( in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki-ken, Japan.
JALT Members: Free Non-Members: ¥500  Students: Free