It’s all about the learners: Pan-SIG 2010: Learner Perspectives

Rudolf Reinelt, Ehime University, Pan-SIG 2010 Publicity


Of all the elements involved in learning a foreign language, learners are by far the most important. For these learners, important changes are looming in the early years of the next decade in Japan. More and more elementary schools are including English and, from 2011, universities will teach English in English. Perhaps other classes will be taught in English as well. Other foreign language courses have become electives in many institutions, but just do not seem to vanish.

With these changes in mind, the organizing committee of the JALT Pan-SIG Conference 2010 invites all those interested in both practical and theoretical aspects of any area of applied linguistics to the Ninth Annual Pan-SIG Conference, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 22-23 May 2010,at Osaka Gakuin University.

Pan-SIG 2010 will be a showcase of what the various participating groups have to offer to the issues at hand. The plenary speakers are Kip Cates and Judy Noguchi.

Kip Cates is a professor at Tottori University and chair of JALT’s Global Issues in Lanuage Education SIG. He will speak on the role of global education in language learning.

Judy Noguchi is Professor of English in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Mukogawa Women’s University and will be demonstrating how to make English for Specific Purposes interesting and fun.

Other presentations will be organized according to the individual sponsoring SIGs, of which there are a record 12 this year:

  • The Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) SIG develops the CAI-CALL approach in high-tech Japan;
  • The College and University Educators (CUE) SIG sharesconcerns affecting language educators in JALT’s largest occupational category;
  • The Extensive Reading (ER) SIG looks atimproving language skills through massive amounts of enjoyable reading input;
  • The Framework and Language Portfolio (FLP) SIG will focus on work leading to the upcoming publication of “Can dos in language education in Japan”;
  • The Global Issues in Language Education (GILE) SIG promotes teaching aboutworld problems (peace, human rights, environmental issues) as content for language education;
  • The Japanese as a Second Language (JSL) SIG develops the profession of teaching Japanese to native speakers of other languages residing in Japan;
  • The LifelongLanguage Learning (LLL) SIG aims to explore ways to accommodate the growing number of people who are eager to study English as part of life-long learning, a trend powered by the increasing number of retirees and the internationalization of Japanese society;
  • The Other Language Educators (OLE) SIG offer opportunities for subsequent foreign language learning;
  • The Pragmatics (PRAG) SIG is concerned with both research and practical teaching issues related to “how people do things with words”;
  • The Study Abroad (SA) SIG networks all parties involved in providing FL learners with native speaking contexts and in its activities attempts to make the experience there as effective as possible;
  • The Teacher Education (TE) SIG is a network for those who want to help themselves and others become better teachers. Our activities include retreats and sponsoring speakers for the annual JALT conference;
  • The Testing andEvaluation (TEVAL) SIG provides a venue for research, information, and discussion related to foreign language testing and evaluation as well as promoting exchange within JALT and with affiliates of other professional organizations which have common interests and goals;
  • The JALT Kyoto Chapter is organizing the event, supported by the Osaka Chapter.

Those attendingthe conference at Osaka Gakuin University will be offered presentations on research or work in progress, and an educational materialsexhibition. Due to the focus on learners in this conference, presentations that actually incorporate learners (or their voices/images/videos) can be expected. More exchange-oriented formats such as workshops (120 minutes) and poster sessions are also planned.

With so many SIGs involved, I am sure you will find the 2 days chock-full of interesting presentations,solutions to some questions you may have, ideas for tackling new tasks ahead, and even questions and perhapssolutions to issues teachers may have taken for granted, but which were anything but clear from a learner’s perspective.

For more information, consult the conference website at <>.

Looking forward to seeing you at JALT Pan-SIG 2010!

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