International Affairs Committee November Report

Andrew D. Tweed, Naoya Shibata, International Affairs Committee

This is the November installment of the International Affairs Committee (IAC) report. In each issue we highlight benefits and professional activities that we have through our international partnerships. This time, we report on IAC member Donna Fujimoto at the International Association of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) conference, eleven JALT members who presented at Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA), and, lastly, we preview IAC events at the JALT2021 conference.

Eleven JALT members were invited to the 29th MELTA Online Conference held from 23 to 25 July 2021. There were six individual presentations (David James Townsend, Naoya Shibata, Ranson Paul Lege, David Scott Bowyer, Osaze Cuomo, and Brookes Slaybaugh) and one group presentation by five presenters (Donna Fujimoto, Alan Simpson, Amanda Gillis-Furutaka, Daniel Lilley, and Margaret Kim). The presentation themes included students’ perceptions of online remote learning and peer assessment, global awareness, curriculum development, teaching to the test, and approaches to bridge the gap in online learning. All these presentation proposals were carefully reviewed and selected by both MELTA and JALT IAC.

This year’s IATEFL conference was held online from 19 to 21 June. IAC member Donna Fujimoto attended as JALT’s official representative, and she reports that it was well organized and included a good variety of presentation topics. The first plenary talk, entitled “Engaging Students with Specific Learning Difficulties: Key Principles of Inclusive Language Teaching in a Digital Age,” was delivered by Judit Kormos. IATEFL Associates Day, which is organized for IATEFL’s international partners, took place several days later on June 26th. Breakout sessions were included, and Donna says that she enjoyed getting to meet the representatives from other organizations.

The IAC is excited to host a special event at this year’s JALT2021 conference. International Forum: Reflections and new perspectives from Asian contexts will feature four of JALT’s international partner representatives from MELTA, Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association (BELTA), the Philippine Association for Language Teaching (PALT), and Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (KOTESOL). The panelists will share their educational experiences and diverse perspectives in relation to this year’s conference theme. The International Forum provides participants with the chance to interact and exchange ideas with experts from a wide range of educational contexts from different countries.

Finally, the IAC encourages JALT members to attend the presentations of our international partner representatives (listed in the opening pages of the JALT2021 Handbook). These will be particularly interesting this year as many of them address issues related to teaching online during the pandemic. As JALT and its international partner organizations provide members with valuable opportunities to attend and present at their conferences, we can gain many chances to broaden our perspectives of language teaching and learning and explore useful approaches in our teaching and learning contexts. Therefore, we would like to keep promoting these opportunities for our members.