The SIG Focus column is seeing a change in editors and, as part of the transition, we have short messages from the outgoing and incoming editors.
When the SIG Focus column began in 2015, we wanted it to be a space for individual SIGs to introduce and promote themselves. From the beginning, we have operated under the guiding belief that SIGs are an essential part of JALT and that readers, SIGs, and JALT as a whole would benefit from learning more about other SIGs in the organization.
For the first five years, the column was a space for one SIG per issue to introduce itself and reach out to JALT members. Even today, these articles (see link above) remain a useful way to learn more about JALT’s SIGs. In 2020, the column featured SIG officers and members who shared personal stories of how SIG activities have benefited other JALT members. From 2021, the column began to highlight the increasing degree of collaboration between SIGs, the other parts of JALT, and outside organizations.
It has been my pleasure to coedit the column, first with Joël Laurier from 2015-2019, and then with Satchie Haga from 2020. I am lucky to count both as friends and colleagues. Thank you to all the SIG members, contributors, readers, and TLT staff who have made this column possible. Coediting SIG Focus gave me so many opportunities to learn, to meet other teachers and researchers, and to become even more involved in JALT. I hope that the column has benefited TLT readers, SIGs, and JALT overall. Under the direction of the new editor, I have no doubt it will continue to do so.
I had the honor and privilege to serve TLT’s community as the SIG Focus Column Coeditor from January 2020 to March 2022. During my tenure, we published several key series of articles to develop our understanding of the role of SIGs and the benefits of becoming involved in them. I am proudest of the series that focused on various personal perspectives of SIG involvement and also the later series that aimed to develop our understanding of the collaborative efforts between different SIGs, Chapters, and organizations outside of JALT.
It has been my great pleasure to work with Robert Morel, all the authors, reviewers, readers, and TLT staff. As we look to the future, I am excited to congratulate Michael Phillips on his new role as editor, bringing with him many years of experience as a teacher in Japan. His extensive engagement and network within JALT makes him a natural as the new editor for the SIG Focus column. I look forward to watching him build on our collective work to help promote further collaboration with the SIGs.
The SIG Focus column first really came to my attention when I began volunteering as a proofreader for TLT nearly two years ago now. Each proofreader is assigned some TLT columns to check and mine regularly happened to be towards the end where JALT Praxis and Old Grammarians hang out. Interestingly during this stint, while serving as the BizCom SIG Coordinator, I also actually went through the process of drafting and editing a SIG Focus article last year (which I was also tasked to proofread as well!).
In December 2021, I noticed a TLT staff email seeking interest in replacement editors for SIG Focus. Another TLT volunteer and I responded, and we began shadowing the editors, planning future directions, and working together after accepting responsibility for finalising the recent MAVR issue. Unfortunately, after a half-year together, the other editor is no longer able to continue, meaning I will be heading SIG Focus by myself for the foreseeable future.
This column will soon “run through” the current SIGs by completing articles on the remaining three yet-to-be-covered groups. As indicated above, a keyword describing SIG activity in the last few years has been “collaboration” and how each group’s potential has broadened with the rise of online connectedness. The future of the column is therefore likely to incorporate a wider perspective on JALT’s groups, too. I would like to warmly thank the outgoing editors for their hard work and dedication to bringing the column to where it is today.