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Chapter Reports - January 2014

AKITA: September — Hard pressed to succeed without Soft Skills? by Sarah Louisa Birchley, Toyo Gakuen University. Ideally, university students should learn the skills indispensable for business success before they graduate. This leads to the crucial questions of how can they learn the necessary skills, and is it possible to teach them? The presenter started the session with these very questions. In the first part of the workshop, Birchley explained how “soft skills” are necessary for success in international business. She defined the term soft skills, and showed how they can be taught in the classroom. Soft skills are those behavioral competencies that are also known as interpersonal skills, or people skills. Birchley also showed how soft skills are connected with the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach. She then defined awareness-raising assessment and showed how it relates to the topic. In the second half of the session, Birchley demonstrated various entertaining activities that she actually uses in her classroom. Each of the diverse components was seamlessly connected to the next and the session was very informative.

Reported by Mamoru “Bobby” Takahashi

GIFU: September — Workshop: Introduction to using iPads in the language classroom by Paul Daniels and Tom Gorham. Daniels and Gorham began their workshop with the absolute basics of using an iPad – the location of the on switch. After explaining where all the switches are located and what they do, the discussion quickly took a complex turn as matters concerning cables, adapters and how best to connect with existing classroom equipment were discussed.

A selection of iPad apps were also suggested, such as Doceri, an application that controls your desktop from an iPad; Bamboo, a simple app for drawing and writing; Airserver, which allows different iPads to display work on a large screen simultaneously; and Futaba, a fun vocabulary game for up to four players. The greater part of the workshop was spent with a neat application called Explain Everything. Participants used this app in groups to create a presentation on the iPad about their favourite place. Text, audio, video and drawing functions were combined together to create a multimedia presentation which was displayed at the end of the evening. Teachers who value cooperative learning and group work would find this an indispensable app for the classroom.

Overall, Daniels and Gorham provided participants with a number of practical tips and useful strategies for making the most of iPads in teaching contexts from kindergarten to university. Whether the teacher only has one iPad for a class of thirty, or all the students each have their own iPad, there are many engaging activities and methods for using iPads to enhance interactivity and promote genuine, meaning-focused communication in the classroom.

Reported by Paul Wicking

GUNMA: September — Building strategies and skills in critical media literacy: Empowering English learners to access, understand, and engage with news by Anna Husson Isozaki. This September, Gunma JALT was proud to welcome one of our own to the stage. Longtime friend and member Anna Husson Isozaki presented on how we can help students acquire the skills needed to find their way through the funhouse hall of mirrors that we call mass media. It is a challenge, but one that Isozaki deems necessary. Media literacy is about personal empowerment - giving our students the ability to find, share and respond to the issues that matter to them.  Perhaps even more importantly, Isozaki skillfully showed that the backbones of media literacy: thinking, checking and looking for ourselves, are necessary skills for students and teachers alike. After a short break, Isozaki introduced participants to her treasure trove of carefully curated media links. A link to her collection, bio, and PowerPoint file and more can be found at our website <sites.google.com/site/gunmajalt/>.

Reported by John Larson

GUNMA: October — Classroom management strategies for reluctant learners: Deconstructing and working with student silence by Susan Bergman Miyake. Susan Bergman Miyake decided to put aside the usual, more attractive topics of content and language learning theories to talk about the elephant in the room; classroom management. Specifically, she lectured on how to interpret, manage and respond constructively to students who seemingly will not answer - even to say, “I don’t know,” - no matter how long they are given. To begin, Bergman Miyake invited attendees purge their negative feelings about these students while listing these on the board. Faced with a list of negativity ranging from “frustrating” to “hostages,” attendees were then asked to transform this list into a positive one: replacing “inactive” with “present,” “quiet” with “thinking.” Paramount is for teachers to refuse to give up on individual learners and to deal with awkward moments constructively. Using heartbreaking stories from students she has taught in the past, Bergman Miyake showed attendees that there is always a meaning behind the silence. Understanding that meaning, and thereby that student, is the first step to building the skills, confidence and motivation necessary for students to participate.

Reported by John Larson

HAMAMATSU: October — Annual general meeting. Eri Gemma, Sue Sullivan, Dan Frost and Jon Dujmovich presented the chapter officer reports for the year prior. Elections were then held. Coordinating Committee Positions filled were Treasurer (Gemma), Publicity Coordinator (Gregg McNabb), Programs Coordinator (Frost), Membership Coordinator (Sullivan) and President (Dujmovich). Supporting positions filled were Meetings Reporter (Sullivan). Upcoming events, including the presentation, dinner and retreat with Scott Thornbury (October 30-November 1st) and the My Share in December, were discussed, as were strategies for best serving the interests of Hamamatsu JALT members. 

Reported by Susan Sullivan

HIROSHIMA: October — JALT 2013 National conference preview by Various. Jim Ronald and Toby Curtis introduced their Culture Swap videos, which are available free online for any teacher to use. The story and character-based videos feature natural English with a focus on pragmatics. Arthur Rutson-Griffiths gave an overview of the steps taken to implement a project to provide all first year students in his college with an iPad to be used in all classes, covering some of the pitfalls and useful principles of a project introducing new technology. Mathew Porter discussed the evaluation of a movie corner in a self-access learning centre and the changes, such as simplification of material and promotion of supplementary materials, this evaluation led to. Joe Lauer talked in general about podcasts and related research questions, and Jaime Selwood then introduced a podcast-based speaking and writing course in which students work towards creating their own podcasts.

Reported by Carla Wilson

HIROSHIMA: October — Grammar or speaking? (or both?) by Scott Thornbury. Acknowledging the widespread perception that teaching language learners the grammatical systems of English will result in their being able to speak English, guest speaker Scott Thornbury illustrated for attendees that what most good speakers master is actually a fairly specific subset of English grammar. With this grammatical subset, good speakers are able to speak quickly, spontaneously, and accurately. They can get their message across with minimal means, under varying conditions, and on a variety of topics. Lastly, they master the socio-pragmatic norms for interacting in their English-speaking environments. Thornbury closed the presentation by suggesting some practical classroom activities for awareness-raising, language appropriation, and development of autonomy. For awareness-raising, recordings and transcripts that focus on the target language were demonstrated. Language appropriation activities were suggested, most of which emphasized the effectiveness of engaging in several iterations of the same or similar speaking task. Activities that build autonomy, he suggested, should be productive, interactive, purposeful, and authentic. 

Reported by Aaron Sponseller

HOKKAIDO: September — JALT Hokkaido language teaching conference with John Fanselow and Chuck Sandy. Autumn means conference time for JALT Hokkaido. This September we were privileged to host two well-known educators and teacher-trainers at our annual conference; John Fanselow and Chuck Sandy. Both plenary speakers were quite unconventional and gave us plenty to think about. John Fanselow encouraged us to break rules and try new ways of doing things in our classrooms, and to compare them with our conventional ways in order to improve our teaching practice and provide new stimulation for our learners. He encouraged offering incomplete information to learners to increase engagement as they figure out the missing pieces. Chuck Sandy asked us to reflect on our careers as teachers, inspiring us to see ourselves in relation to community, not only with other teachers but also with our learners who will reflect our efforts. He said we can identify learning by the presence of joy and social interaction (learning is fun and it happens in community). 

In addition to the plenary presentations and workshops, there were another 18 presentations including five poster presentations on various topics which included collaborative learning, online exchange, writing, oral assessment, listening, English medium instruction, extensive reading, and developing presentation skills. The conference concluded with a special panel discussion on Global Englishes, challenging us to consider what norms of English we teach and to compare these with what learners are likely to need in situations that involve international communication. 

Reported by Haidee Thomson

IBARAKI: October — This month, our local chapter had the pleasure of having two guest speakers from Lifelong Language Learning (LLL) SIG. Older students as both teachers and learners by Tadashi Ishida. Ishida introduced us to a range of activities for senior English learners designed by the community organization he runs in Tokyo. For instance, the organization makes an arrangement with a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, so that senior learners can introduce Japanese culture to its foreign guests, using their expertise in origami, rakugo, shamisen, and other cultural assets. Such an arrangement is beneficial for both senior learners and visiting foreigners because the former can practice communicative language in real situations, while the latter can experience Japanese culture free of charge, creating a win-win situation for both parties. English rakugo and English teaching by Tatsuya Sudo. In the first half of his presentation, Sudo guided us through a fascinating history of rakugo, a traditional narrative art of Japan, and explained his involvement in it as a student and a teacher. He introduced us to different rakugo styles as well as prominent masters including Sanyutei Encho, Kairakutei Black, Tatekawa Danshi, and Katsura Shijaku. Sudo also highlighted pedagogical benefits of English rakugo, for it promotes self-conversation and reading aloud, both of which are said to be effective in enhancing the command of spoken English. Furthermore, English rakugo helps Japanese learners understand their own sense of humor and improve their presentation skills. In the second half of the presentation, Sudo changed into a kimono and performed two rakugo stories, “Milk” and “Snow in Hawaii,” enchanting us with his flowing narration. He ended his presentation with his ukulele performance of “Satoukibi-batake,” or “Sugarcane Fields,” in remembrance of those who were killed in the ground battle in Okinawa at the end of World War II. 

Reported by Naomi Takagi

KITAKYUSHU: October — Practical neuroELT for kids and adults by Ai & Robert Murphy. The presenters discussed current developments in neuroscience and their implications for language learning. The presenters first introduced six general maxims for implementing current neuroscience theories into classroom pedagogy, including the importance of emotion, personalization, and prediction in the learning process. Next, the presenters offered concrete examples of successful implementation of these principles into lesson planning, material design, and activity selection. The presenters argued that because current commercial English education materials often do not adequately incorporate neurobiological principles into their design, teachers need to find creative ways to incorporate them into their teaching. Finally, the presenters had the audience divide into small groups and discuss how they could implement the six principles in their upcoming lessons. Each group then presented its ideas to the whole group while the listening groups informally evaluated their peers.

Reported by Zack Robertson

KOBE: September — Tech day plus 2013. See Osaka Chapter for details.

NAGOYA: September — Introduction to using iPads in the language classroom by Paul Daniels and Tom Gorham. Three options to set up equipment to use iPads wirelessly in the language classroom are to buy a projector connected with Wi-Fi, to connect videos or other audio-visual aids to Apple TV with Wi-Fi or an ethernet network, or to buy a Mac computer which makes it possible to download programs such as Keynote, QuickOffice, PowerPoint (Apple version), and AirPlay wirelessly into a projector. With an iPad holder you can use the camera of an iPad or an iPhone to show text from a sheet of paper on a projector. Presentations can be controlled via your desktop and annotated using Doceri or Bamboo Paper for slideshows. With Air Server, you can wirelessly beam your iPad display to your Mac or PC and from there to your projector. To share, use Video Board with Moodle and YouTube. Or discover the location of your campus with Field Trip. Daniels and Gorham recommended using iTunes and iTunes U as browsers for apps. Gorham then introduced several game apps; Angry Birds, Scribblenaut, and Futaba Classroom Games. These help students with guided- or self-study. 

Reported by Kayoko Kato

NAGOYA: October ― Getting them to talk in English by Penny Ur. Purpose in a classroom activity is supplied by the task. In Ur’s experience simple dialogs are a good basis for providing purpose toward developing fluent speech. The successful production of meaningful, long utterances can raise student morale. She also recommended that game-type activities can be fun when they have a clear and achievable goal. Moving on to the topic of presentations, Ur recommended that simple instructions should be given and interaction between students encouraged, to effectively promote better preparation and delivery. Teacher language should be appropriate to the level of the group and encourage participation based on the different levels of language ability in class. Ur commented that when organizing a presentation, clear and careful instructions should be considered throughout the lesson. She also pointed out that deciding on a group chairperson and discussing strategies helps to ensure participation and to keep learners focused on the target language. Activities should end while learners are still enjoying themselves. Feedback can then be given on the results of the task and not individual learner performance. Touching on the situation when there may be a spontaneous decision to interrupt when a student is speaking, Ur suggested that appropriateness is dependent on student expectations and preferences, the main aims of the course, the importance of the mistake, the persistence of the mistake, student confidence, and the excitement value of the discussion. Following these recommendations, Ur stated, is successful in preventing learners lapsing into their L1 at least 75% of the time. 

Reported by Kayoko Kato

NARA: June — Forty acres and a mule & Twenty tatamis and a Calpis by Bonnie Yoneda and Jim Swan. The interesting title for this presentation comes from the presenters’ personal experiences. Forty acres and a mule refers to an empty promise the U.S. government made to free slaves at the end of the American Civil War. Slaves believed they were each to be given 40 acres of farmland and a mule, and is tied into Yoneda’s experience of teaching in Japan for 40 years and her great contribution to the foundation of Nara Chapter of JALT. Twenty tatamis and a Calpis comes from Swan’s reminiscence of visiting Yoneda on hot summer days. She always offered him a glass of Calpis in her 20 tatami mat room. The two veteran professionals of English language education, longtime friends, founding members, and ardent contributors to Nara JALT guided the audience through their early years of teaching and the Nara chapter’s birth and infancy. Relaxed, confident and witty storytellers, they emphasized how a fledgling JALT chapter helped to enhance their personal development as teachers and how their confidence as JALT officers grew through trial-and-error. It was a lively and engaging presentation. We, the audience, appreciate the way they have paved for us. 

Reported by Motoko Teraoka 

NARA: September — Supporting learner autonomy in a team-taught graduate introductory course by Haruyo Yoshida and Bruce Malcolm. Yoshida and Malcolm first explained what team-teaching is. In their definition it is a relatively uncommon teaching style in which a native teacher and a Japanese teacher collaborate, share equal amounts of responsibility, and enjoy non-hierarchical teaching situations. Their team-taught course had not only two teachers with diverse teaching backgrounds but peer-mentors; students who had done the course before. The peer-mentors served as an informal channel between teacher and student and exerted leadership to motivate the course attendees. Versant English Test, a standardized computer-based spoken English test, was used to evaluate the students’ verbal communication skills, which showed their improvements particularly in mastery of sentence construction. This unconventional approach to team-teaching helped the students to boost their independence and motivation towards the PowerPoint presentation they had to give at the end of the course. The two team-teachers were engaged in the preparatory stage and the demonstrative stage. Nine students were able to improve their learner autonomy through the team-taught course. An attentive audience acquired new knowledge through this interactive and informative presentation.

Reported by Motoko Teraoka

OITA: September — Oita language teaching symposium. In September we had our annual Oita Language teaching symposium which comprised of four interesting presentations. 1. The implementation of CLT in Japanese high schools: Organizational hindrances to a smooth transition by Kevin Bartlett. While the state of Communicative Language Teaching is being tweaked in the current iteration of MEXT’s curriculum guideline changes, Kevin Bartlett pointed out some difficult obstacles facing high schools; an aging teaching population and personal relations relating to hierarchy and seniority which are characteristic of Japanese society, a 5-10 year average tenure for young well-educated JLTs, idea hoarding, qualified teachers who leave high school teaching for college or other contexts, entrance examination pressures, and parental attitudes. He then presented some interesting ideas on how positive change could be promoted within a communicative framework. 2. Enhancing willingness to communicate with class warmers by Nathan Ducker. Ducker started his presentation with a lively tongue-twister taikai and then insight into Japanese culture in relation to the dichotomies of insider/outsider and public/private that produce what he described as four situation types. Ducker pointed out that linguistically light warm-up activities in groups of about three students, in a competition format, works very effectively to create the sense of excitement and security that is important for encouraging learners develop a willingness to communicate in English. 3. Intonation in spoken discourse: The case for explicit intonation instruction by Curtis Edlin. Edlin interactively reviewed the numerous ways that intonation functions in English. For example, apposition is signaled by a lower pitch in spoken phrases, whereas direct quotations are signaled with a raised pitch for the duration of the quotation. This is but one example of the many teachable points with regard to intonation as spoken grammar. 4. Balanced approaches to pronunciation instruction by Jeremy Redlich. Jeremy Redlich’s presentation made a compelling argument to teach pronunciation within an English as an international language (EIL) perspective. He reminded us that it is really important to show students English pronunciation from members of the outer circles, especially to help promote their ownership and appropriation of the English language. Redlich introduced many of us to the concept of ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) and how this perspective then changes the teacher’s view from norm-based pronunciation teaching (e.g., North American English or Received Pronunciation) to a more international interpretation of intelligibility.

Reported by Paul Sevigny

OKAYAMA: October — Designing independent listening projects by Caleb Prichard and Ukiyo-Eigo: An interdisciplinary approach to art and EFL by Tom Fast. Prichard started by positioning the role of listening in mainstream EFL teaching/learning, with special consideration given to the varieties of English spoken around the world. He then showed how he used clips from the American reality show “Amazing Race” (available online) to provide authentic input for his university students. Prichard talked about giving students listening assignments at home, where they can drill and repeat at leisure, reserving the classroom for more authentic communication-oriented listening activities. He emphasized that allowing students to self-select materials on various websites allows them to tailor their listening practice to their own needs and interests.

Fast shared an art awareness project he did with high school students. He first talked about the justification for arts in the high school curriculum in general, then, showed how it could fit as part of EFL instruction. He went through several activities focusing on different kinds of Japanese traditional art, such as bunraku and ukiyo-e. The high point of these activities for Fast was student participation, including attempting to reproduce artwork by describing it to partners, and drawing kabuki-styled “actor portraits” of fellow students. Fast chronicled the great response of students first to drawing and then critiquing the portraits as a class.

Reported by Scott Gardner

OSAKA: September — In conjunction with the Pragmatics SIG, the Osaka Chapter hosted two presentations. 1. Interactional competence versus pragmatic competence in second language chat rooms: Implications for language teaching by Christopher Jenks from City University of Hong Kong. Jenks’ fascinating presentation explored the development of the notion of communicative competence over the past 50 years. Dell Hymes coined the term in the late 1960s, and over time it has come to be divided into pragmatic competence and interactional competence. Richard Young’s recent work defines pragmatic competence as intrapersonal, individual knowledge, about “knowing” language, whereas interactional competence is a form of interpersonal knowledge which is jointly constructed by interlocutors. It is more about “doing” language rather than using language. The pedagogical implications are that pragmatic knowledge can be introduced in class, but what ultimately matters is what students can do by interaction-ing with this knowledge. What we teach in the classroom should reflect the contexts and interactions that students will find themselves communicating in in the future, and their flexibility and adaptability to variation should be nurtured as much as possible. Reported by Robert Croker. 

2. “Seeing learning” in interaction: An overview of CA approaches to longitudinal SLA research by Adam Brandt from Newcastle University. For newcomers to Conversation Analysis (CA), this talk was an excellent opportunity to become more familiar with CA approaches to longitudinal SLA research and about CA itself. Noting that SLA happens through and over time, Brandt posed an obvious question: How can we understand SLA unless we look at it over time? Longitudinal research, however, is quite scarce. Why? After reviewing a number of SLA research traditions, Brandt explained that different traditions also have different definitions of “longitudinal.” Research could be, for example, four months to four years, looking at flash points, or certain linguistic features. Left without a clear definition, Brandt offered a brief history of CA, both as a theory of interaction and a methodology based on the works of Sacks and Schegloff in the 1960s. Later researchers then applied CA to L2 classroom interaction, and interest in longitudinal CA-SLA studies has increased, such studies include: 1) orientations to learning (short-term longitudinal), 2) changes in interactional competence (expansion of interactional resources for specific social actions), and 3) changes in the use of particular linguistic/interactional devices. Summarizing the current state of CA-SLA, Brandt noted that methodological issues remain, such as the use of exogenous theories, quantification, the nature of assessment, empirical contributions, and defining and documenting learning. Perhaps an outcome of long-term CA-SLA is that a more holistic understanding of the object of L2 development will contribute to the evolution of a new CA-SLA theory. 

Reported by Duane Kindt

OSAKA: September — Tech day plus 2013, co-sponsored by Kobe JALT, at Otemae University, Itami campus, was a rich tapestry of over two dozen presentations on a wide variety of both technical and non-tech topics. Thomas Robb, of Kyoto Sangyo University, gave the opening keynote presentation Considerations for the effective use of technology for language learning in which he discussed the paradigm shift in how we think about and use technology, such as his popular MReader site, to advance outside of class learning and foster learner autonomy. Oliver Bayley of OUP introduced useful web tools such as <polleverywhere.com> and <oxfordenglishtesting.com>, and had even set up an interactive web board at <padlet.com/wal/jalttech> that still has notes from our session together. The full list of presentations is too numerous to detail here, but suffice to say that the technical talents, creative skills, and on-going research that is being applied to so many teaching situations and for such a wide variety of purposes that was on display was truly inspiring, including effective uses of Moodle, Moodle Reader, Evernote, Google Scholar Profiles, PowerPoint, voice recordings, video clips and profiles, smartphones and a host of other tools. Lively discussions continued over fabulous Indian food at a nearby restaurant after the presentations. For full program details, photos, and archives of past Tech Day events please visit <tdp.osakajalt.org/> where you can also download the PDF of the program to access contact information of most presenters for even more details. 

Reported by Michelle Morimoto and Bob Sanderson

SENDAI: September – Curiosity to competency: Intercultural activities for the language classroom by Jon Dujmovich. Language educators often speak of using techniques, and activities appropriate for each stage of language learning. But when it comes to incorporating intercultural activities in the language lessons, there is usually very little consideration given to the learners’ developmental stage of intercultural learning. The consequences of ill-matched activities can lead to reaffirmed or deeper cultural misunderstandings and little or no growth in intercultural competency. In this workshop the presenter showed us how to incorporate culture-based activities into the ESL/EFL classroom according to the learners’ intercultural developmental stage, age, language ability, and other factors. All activities and techniques that were demonstrated are grounded in intercultural communications theory and methodology coupled with ESL pedagogy. Attendees to this very informative presentation had opportunities to experiment with ideas and activities in a workshop format while learning how the activities can be adjusted for learning stage appropriateness. Participants walked away with an understanding of how to incorporate the ideas and activities from this workshop into our classes, and immediately apply them to their lessons. 

Reported by Cory Koby

SENDAI: October/November – Mind & body- grammar, discourse, and learning: A weekend with Scott Thornbury. Our chapter typically meets the last weekend of the month, but because of the 2013 JALT International Conference in Kobe, we were very happy to have this opportunity to delay our monthly meeting in order to host the final stop on Scott Thornbury’s JALT Four Corners Tour. This was a major ELT event for our chapter, and we were very happy that 63 participants from across Japan—from Kobe to Hokkaido—descended upon our city for this once-in-a lifetime chance to spend the weekend with Thornbury. 1. Learning Body. Saturday afternoon we were treated to a rather novel approach to language acquisition, in which we looked at language as a whole-body experience—both physical and cognitive. This was far from a TPR viewpoint, but rather offered us a much more holistic viewpoint on the relationship between brain, body, and language. 2. Is there any discourse in this course? on Sunday morning, and 3. Why are we still teaching grammar the wrong way? after lunch, filled our minds with dozens of useful, practical, and immediately applicable activities, tasks, and approaches to language learning that kept attendees’ attention and interest very high to the very end. In between the first and second session, 25 participants shuttled off to Akiu Onsen for the evening portion of the event. Great food, bountiful drink, refreshing onsen, and plenty of fun was had by all. During the meal, we were treated to Thornbury’s PechaKucha presentation of The A-Z of ALT, which was precision-executed and highly entertaining. Having the opportunity to have Scott Thornbury here in Sendai was a real treat, and our members are very grateful for all of the support the JALT Four Corners Tour receives. As a chapter, we have established a history of these Off to the Onsen events, which happen about every year— centered around major ELT events. Like those before, this weekend was highly successful and rewarding. We invite educators everywhere to keep their eyes open for future events involving our famed Akiu Onsen—absolutely worth the trip up (or down)!

Reported by Cory Koby

SHINSHU: September — Rules, tools and jewels for teaching young learners by Kim Horne. Horne began with an explanation of how the brain works in regard to language learning, which served as the rationale behind her teaching rules: 1. add movement, 2. use repetition and 3. create and use emotions throughout all lessons. She then introduced tools for implementing the rules which included attention getters, transition helpers and ways to encourage responsibility. Through discussing a visual layout of the lesson plan throughout each lesson, young learners can practice a variety of tenses. The teacher can engage their curiosity and memory while incorporating repetition and gradually building up complexity of the language used. Horne’s “jewels” included motivational chants, ways to execute cohesive lessons that utilize repetition and surprises, characters or mascots which emotionally engage children and music to create a mood or reinforce/review vocabulary. This workshop was constructed in the same manner as one of her classes so that attendees could actually experience, as well as more easily remember, every strategy introduced. 

Reported by Mary Aruga

YOKOHAMA: September — JALT national showcase by Travis Cote, Paul McBride, Brett Milliner, Colin Skeates and John Bankier. This new YoJALT event was a preview of presentations to be delivered at the JALT national conference. The first was by Cote, McBride and Milliner. They reported on an area of research seldom investigated: one university’s efforts to improve its teacher development program for part-time teachers. Their four-part presentation (act-observe-reflect-plan), illustrated how data influenced what was implemented and then outlined future plans to change practices to meet current problems. In the second presentation, Skeates described how students enrolled in seven content classes made their own tests. Results illustrated that students were able to devise their own tests and do well. In the last presentation, Bankier reported on research about learner views and experiences of writing instruction. Drawing on questionnaire and interview data, Bankier asserted that most difficulties students have in learning English academic writing can be attributed to a lack of instruction in the L1 or L2, rather than cultural differences.

Reported by John Bankier and Colin Skeates                                             

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