The Performance in Education SIG

Ashley Ford, Nagoya City University, PIE SIG Publicity Chair; David Kluge, Nanzan University, PIE SIG Co-Coordinator

Collaboration is a cornerstone of JALT activities and the same goes for SIGs. Even though many people often think of collaboration occurring only within a SIG, there is an ever-growing amount of collaboration between SIGs as well as among SIGs, local JALT chapters, or other groups. This year, the SIG Focus column would like to highlight SIG collaboration in all its forms. Please feel free to contribute or suggest ideas by emailing us at

“Collaboration is fundamental to our approach”

The Performance in Education (PIE) SIG (founded in 2011 as the Speech, Drama, & Debate SIG) is involved with a myriad of teaching activities (still including drama and debate but now much more!) that require students to cooperate and collaborate together, so it is natural that our SIG also participates in many collaborative activities with JALT chapters and SIGs. In the beginning, we created events by ourselves, which established our SIG as a vibrant entity. We started collaborative ventures by providing speakers to chapters upon request (Tokyo, Fukui, Fukuoka, Gifu, Nagoya, Okayama, Hiroshima, etc.). These came from SIG members who were also officers of local JALT chapters or local chapter officers we met at conferences who invited us to come and present. Also, we received some cold-call emails from chapters who realized that presentations on roleplay would be interesting and useful to their members. Many of these collaborations grew into co-sponsoring whole conferences, which we have done several times with Yokohama (since 2015), Okinawa (since 2015), and Hokkaido (since 2019). Ever evolving, these conferences have become annual events. We have also been invited to collaborate by giving presentations at conferences with other special interest groups, such as the Lifelong Language Learning SIG, the Mind, Brain, and Education SIG, and the Critical Thinking SIG (with whom we actively worked together to create a Critical Thinking & Debate conference). We do these projects to tap into the regional bases, which attract many participants, but we also enjoy the synergy that comes from working with new colleagues with different skill sets.

Our most recent and successful collaboration was with Okinawa for the 2nd Performance in Education Research & Practice Conference/Student Showcase/Film Festival held online on February 20, 2021. A large number of professionals joined from Japan and internationally for a day of presentations and workshops. In addition, over 120 students from across Japan and some from Serbia participated in student showcase presentations, performances, a Pechakucha-style night, and an all-day student film festival. Okinawa played a critical role in the success of this conference. With their support, we could have the room hosting and online conference experience we needed for the new format. Also, with participants from different backgrounds performing and showcasing their talents throughout the evening, many said the conference social was one of the most entertaining online parties they have ever attended!

If you missed this wonderful event, don’t worry. Join us for the 3rd Performance in Education Research & Practice Conference/Student Showcase/Film Festival to be held September 17–19, 2021 in Nagoya (face-to-face/hybrid, or online).


“We are more than just events and conferences. We are a community that supports each other.”

In 2020, the pandemic hit us like a hurricane and turned our world upside down almost overnight. The anxiety regarding our health, school/work, and the lack of social interaction quickly took its toll. A few members of our SIG began meeting informally on Friday evenings on Zoom to talk about the problems we were facing, share ideas, get help, and simply decompress. These weekly socials were open to all our SIG members and anyone else in need. They quickly grew in size when Okinawa JALT members joined us, and now members of the Teaching Young Learners SIG have also joined the Friday Social Hour, and the invitation is open to members of all SIGs.

Held every Friday from 7:30–9:30pm, we welcome anyone interested or in need of a place to interact with other teachers to drop in to this social event on Zoom. If you are curious, email us and we will happily send you the info! If you just want to listen, that is fine. Many people drop in for a short time, turn off their cameras while eating dinner, and just enjoy seeing and interacting with people other than students!


“We are always trying to grow and spread our message through collaboration with YOU.”

What draws many people to the PIE SIG are the amazing and effective activities described by SIG members, the creative talents of the teachers/performers, and most of all, the warm, friendly atmosphere that we work hard to create. We are useful and FUN. Want to collaborate with us?

Contact us at if you are in the collaborative mood or come and see for yourself what we are about at the 3rd Performance in Education Research & Practice Conference, September 17-19, 2021 at Nanzan University in Nagoya (face-to-face/hybrid, or online). For more information about the conference, call for papers, registration, and other upcoming events, check the PIE SIG Website (by QR code or address below):