Welcome to the newly branded Career Development Corner. Our aim is that the new name will reflect this column’s focus on issues related to language teaching employment and careers rather than merely being a list of jobs (Current job listings are still available online at the JALT website under the TLT>>Career Development Corner tab). We would appreciate your feedback as well as any ideas for possible future topics to address here via the email above.
As this is the TLT pre-conference issue, I would like to offer some ideas for maximizing your time at the JALT2014 Conference using the framework of the Balanced Academic Scorecard and Academic CV described in previous JIC/CDC columns by Richard Miller (2011a & b). It is worthwhile to look over the conference handbook ahead of time to find presentations and events that can help broaden and strengthen your academic profile. Here are some areas to consider.
Publishing and presenting
Obviously, if you are giving a presentation at JALT2014 you are improving your CV, but remember to submit your paper to the proceedings to get a peer-reviewed publication as well. If you are not presenting, it may be a good idea to attend any workshops related to getting started with publications and research methodology. Also, visit JALT Special Interest Groups (SIGs) who focus on helping members present and publish, such as Material Writers or MASH Collaboration. The booksellers and publishers reps. may also provide valuable information on how to get published.
If you need to improve your formal academic credentials, there are numerous universities offering graduate education courses that will be on-hand to provide information about their programs, both in Japan and abroad through distance learning. There are also informal educational opportunities through peer collaboration, such as the Quantitative Research Training project organized by Greg Sholdt which I joined after learning about it at JALT2012.
Skills and practice
Many presentations introduce teaching methods or approaches which can inform your current practice, such as Content-Based Instruction (CBI) or Task Based Learning (TBL). There are often informative presentations related to educational technology and other pedagogical resources. Still others may give tips on research methodology and statistical analysis or may inspire you do a follow-up study.
Service and extracurricular
JALT2014 Conference is a great place to get more involved in JALT. You can join new SIGs, or offer take a more active role in those to which you already belong. SIGs are always looking for new officers, and the annual meetings held at the JALT conference are where many such decisions are made. You can find out more about SIGs interests and activities at their tables or their sponsored panel discussions.
People from all over Japan and the world will meet in Tsukuba, so be ready to make the most of this opportunity to meet people and create contacts by bringing heaps of business cards. Take a photo of cards you collect and use smart phone apps like Evernote to store and categorize them. Remember to follow up with a brief, post-conference e-mail to maintain communication. Look for people with similar research or pedagogical interests in the presentations you attend and the SIG tables you visit. If you are actively looking for work, do not be afraid to mention that fact openly in conversation. You might even introduce yourself by saying, “Hi, I’m Mike. I live in the Kansai area and I’m looking for work for April 2015.”
Of course, the Job Information Center at JALT2014 will have the latest job information, sign-ups for on-site interviews, and a CV drop-off box. The Career Development Corner will hold a CV clinic on Sunday afternoon. There will also be informational posters and veteran job hunters on-hand to share advice. During the poster session, look for Richard Miller’s and my poster, “Tripartite aspects of getting the academic job.” If you are a potential employer, please contact the Job Information Center using the email below to ensure that your job is posted and to arrange sign-up sheets (and possibly space) for on-site interviews.
I hope you all enjoy the conference and use it as a stepping stone to improve your academic profile and future career prospects.
Miller, R. (2011). Using the balanced scorecard to keep your career on track. The Language Teacher, 35(3), 74.
Miller, R. (2011). The basics of the academic CV. The Language Teacher, 35(4), 74.
Sholdt, G., Konomoto, B., Mineshima, M., & Stillwell, C. (2012). Sharing Experiences with Quantitative Research. In A. Stewart & N. Sonda (Eds.), JALT2011 Conference Proceedings. Tokyo: JALT.
For more info on research methods training: <mashcollaboration.com/quantitative-methods>