SIG News - September 2013


PanSIG2014 in Miyazaki, 10-11 May, 2014

The 13th Annual PanSIG conference will be held at at Miyazaki Municipal University <> on 10-11 May, 2014. If you’d like to be part of the conference team, please contact Hugh Nicoll or Joe Tomei at <>.


Join Bilingualism SIG at JALT2013 in Kobe in October and discuss Issues, Opportunities, and Experiences of Returnees.

Japanese returnee students’ unique life experience sometimes sets them apart from their social and academic Japanese peers, and can influence subsequent school and career choices, social standing, and identity. A panel of two returnees (now adults) and two high school teachers of returnees will discuss issues related to L1 maintenance while abroad, L2 maintenance upon return to Japan, reintegration issues, systems abroad to maintain Japanese grade-level academics, and practical advice.

This forum will be of interest not only to families with returnees, but also any families who are raising children in two or more languages in Japan and would like to know more about educational options/experiences and language acquisition. 

Be sure to stop by the Bilingualism table to say hello and to see our latest newsletter! See you there! For more information visit <> .

Business English 

The JALT Business English SIG seeks to develop the discipline of teaching English, conducive to participation in the world business community. We aim to provide instructors in this field with a means of collaborating and sharing best teaching practices. 

JALT Business English SIG は、世界のビジネス界に通用する英語教育の発展を目的に持ち、結成されました。連携体制を組み、最善の教育方法を共有することにより、英語教育に携わるインストラクターの皆様のお手伝いを致します。 

College and University Educators

CUE continues its 20th anniversary celebrations this year sponsoring various events and speakers for its members living all over Japan. The next event will be the joint ESP symposium with Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), September 7, at JAIST in Nomi city, Ishikawa. Presentations by John Adamson, Theron Muller, Iida Atsushi and Matthew Apple. For this and other upcoming events, visit our website: <>.

The JALT International Conference in Kobe is just around the corner. CUE is sponsoring Christine Pearson Casanave for a featured speaker Workshop, titled “Ecology of Effort: Motivation and Effort.” She will also be participating in our SIG Forum which we will again be holding in conjunction with Teacher Education and Development (TED) SIG. Also be sure to pop by our CUE desk for a chat. We look forward to seeing you at this wonderful event!

To help make you just a little more ‘tech-savvy,’ help is at hand at the end of this year. On December 1st, CUE is sponsoring a Technology Workshop at Keisen University. There will be free practical hands-on technology workshops by Edo Forsythe, Daniel Beck and Germain Mesureur.

Contact us at <> for further information. To join up go to <>. We look forward to hearing from and seeing you soon!

Computer Assisted Language Learning

For 20 years, the JALT CALL SIG has been bringing teachers together to tackle the challenge of using technology in the classroom. Through conferences and publications, the SIG supports teachers and researchers that are interested in using computers and technology. In addition to the conference, JALT CALL SIG is also involved with publishing members’ research. Glenn Stockwell has developed the JALTCALL Journal into an internationally recognized publication with Associate Editors on three continents, and a stellar group of researchers on the review board. The Journal is always open to well written, research-oriented work, which is published both in paper and on the web. Archives of the JALTCALL Journal are available at <>. Under development and in search of collaborators, a new online publication of practical issues for Digital Mobile Language Learning (DMLL) will aim at disseminating information and giving careful consideration to issues through a blog, an online magazine, and eventually a repository of research. Contact Kevin Ryan at <>. In addition the JALTCALL forum at Kobe will be “CALL SIG: Technology and Best Practices in Language Learning” continuing the theme of our conference this year. If you could not make it to Matsumoto be sure to check out the forum.

Critical Thinking 

On May 18, David Gann presented at a joint forum on critical thinking and creativity in cooperation with members of the LILT and SDD SIGs. The title of his presentation was “Critical Thinking and Creativity in a Framework of General Thinking Skills.” The following week on May 25 at the NEAR conference in Niigata, Nicholas Bufton and David Gann gave a presentation on their novel use of online text reconstruction exercises for scaffolding argumentative competence.

The JALT Critical Thinking SIG is excited to be taking part in Hiroshima JALT’s annual mini-conference! This year’s event will be held in Hiroshima on Sunday, December 1, and we are looking for eager presenters who would like to share ideas on critical thinking in language education. If you are interested in presenting with the Critical Thinking SIG, email us at <> for more information. We hope to see you there!

The second annual Critical Thinking SIG Forum will be hosted at JALT2013. Brian Cullen of the Nagoya Institute of Technology, Peter Quinn of Takushoku University and Paul W. L. Lai of Nagoya University will be providing an exciting series of presentations on critical thinking. In addition, Nicholas Bufton and David Gann will also be in Kobe to give a 60-minute workshop presentation on the how-to’s of producing online text reconstruction exercises for scaffolding competence in argumentative and academic writing.

Please consider writing for a future issue of CT Scan. Full research article: 1,500-3,000 words, detailing your research related to critical thinking in language education. Articles that connect theory to classroom practice are encouraged. Classroom reflections: 500-2,000 words, detailing classroom activities that have been used to teach or encourage critical thinking among language learners. Commentary: 500-2,000 words, detailing personal observations meant to provoke discussion within our membership regarding critical thinking in language education. All submissions are welcome at <>. We recommend adhering to JALT Journal style guidelines for your submission. Please refer to <> for guidance.

Extensive Reading 

The JALT ER SIG exists to help promote Extensive Reading (ER) in Japan. Through our website, biannual newsletter Extensive Reading in Japan, online Journal of Extensive Reading, regular e-newsletter, grant programs and presentations throughout Japan we aim to help teachers set up and make the most of their ER programs. For more details and resources, please visit <>.

The ER SIG at JALT2013

Be sure to join us for our events. We are putting on the annual Extensive Reading Colloquium, with several individual presentations under this year’s theme: Learner and Instructor Insights. We expect this event to be immediately followed by our Annual General Meeting and our annual Great Book Giveaway, where you can get samples of some of the great materials available for doing ER. Check the conference schedule for more details.

We also are trying a new event. Come join us for the Book Exchange Party at JALT2013. Bring a book or books that you’d like to exchange. Discuss books and get something to read on the way home from the conference or after you get back! Everyone walks out the door with at least one book they didn’t walk in with! Details such as time, location, and how to be sure of a spot at this event can be found on our website and Facebook page.

The ER Seminar at your school

Interested in hosting a great Extensive Reading event? Will your location support about a dozen concurrent presentations all day on a Sunday, or perhaps and Saturday and Sunday? Does it have a large meeting hall suitable for plenary sessions and another large area well suited to a materials exhibition? Are you willing to be the site chair? If so, you have got the most basic requirements covered. If you are potentially interested in hosting the seminar, please contact <> for more information.

Other upcoming ER Events 

Second World Congress of Extensive Reading, September 13-15 at Yonsei University, Seoul  

Framework & Language Portfolio 

Watch out for the FLP SIG Forum & AGM at the upcoming conference in Kobe. The SIG forum, CEFR-informed classroom materials, will begin with an explanation of a government/Kaken-funded research project, conducted by FLP SIG members, that will research and develop CEFR-informed materials and textbooks. We will outline the current development of the project, and potential applications for classrooms in Japan. After a wide-ranging discussion, possible future participation in the project by interested parties will also be discussed.

This SIG seeks to discuss the CEFR and ELP, and other similar frameworks and their relevance for Japan. There is an emphasis on developing materials to support educators who would like to use these pedagogic tools. The SIG holds periodical seminars focusing on classroom use of the CEFR, among other things. Please refer to <> and <> for more information, including details about the FLP SIG Kaken Project, our newsletter Can do statements language education in Japan and beyond and to download the bilingual Language Portfolio for Japanese University.

Gender Awareness in Language Education

GALE at JALT2013

We are excited to hold the GALE Forum, again this year, the title of which is Gender: A lifelong learning experience! The forum includes three panelists: Shane Doyle, Kim Bradford-Watts, and Michi Saki who will discuss issues relating to how we balance our work lives and our family lives in Japan. Participation from the audience welcomed!

We are also proud to announce that Sarah Mulvey is the recipient of GALE’s Best of JALT2012 award for her paper entitled: “A re-examination of gender stereotypes in the Japanese classroom (Leggy Keiko).”

All GALE members are welcome to attend our annual general meeting to discuss important issues surrounding our SIG. In addition, GALE will have a table with copies of our recent newsletters and journals. Be sure to stop by our table to say hello and relax a while. New members and old members are all welcome!

We have an ongoing call for papers for our academic journal, The Journal and Proceedings of the Gender Awareness in Language Education Special Interest Group of JALT (or The GALE Journal). Visit our website at <> or contact us for more details. Please email <> for any GALE related inquiries.

Global Issues in Language Education

Our Global Issues SIG is planning a dynamic program for this year’s JALT2013 conference in Kobe. Weare excited to be sponsoring UK activist Daniela Papi as a JALT featured speaker. Daniela worked as an assistant language teacher through the JET program in Japan; then set up her own development NGO in Cambodia. Her sessions will focus on volunteerism and service learning. Make sure to also catch our annual SIG Forum and GILE business meeting. GILE promotes global awareness and international understanding aimed at “teaching for a better world.” Contact us for a sample newsletter, or for more information about the SIG’s work in “teaching for a better world.”

Visit <>, our Facebook page 

<> or contact Kip Cates <>.

Japanese as a Second Language

論文・記事大募集:JALT日本語教育学会では日本語教育論集の発行を計画しています。研究報告、学会発表報告論文、日本語教授・学習法に関する論文、ブック・レビューなど募集。日本語研究者、指導者、学習者の皆様応募お願いします。詳細は、Megumi Kawate-Mierzejewska <>まで。

*Call for Papers: JALT Journal of Japanese Language Education. Japanese as a second language researchers, teachers and learners are invited to submit articles, research reports, essays, and reviews. Please visit our website: <>.

Junior and Senior High School

The JSHS SIG is now on Facebook! If you are a JSHS SIG member, then come and check out our exclusive group at <>. Whether you want to ask a question, help someone out or just share something, this is the place for junior and senior high school teachers to be. We also have a public page at <> so anyone can have a look, click ‘like’ and our news will be your news! Everybody is welcome!

Show us what you’ve got! This year’s SIG Forum at the JALT2013 Conference offers 90 minutes of shares from junior/senior high school teachers, for junior/senior high school teachers! With so many shares from people in your field, we can almost guarantee something of interest to everybody. Time will be made at the end of the Forum for participant and presenter group discussion so please join us if you are free. We look forward to seeing you in October!  

Learner Development

学習者ディベロプメント研究部会(LD SIG) <> は、オートノミーのある学習と教授を発展させるための実践を探求・研究することに主な関心がある約200名が世界中から集まって組織する、活発でフレンドリーな研究部会です。神戸で開催されるJALT2013でLD SIGは数名のプレゼンターとインタラクティブなフォーラムを行います。次年度の目標と計画について話し合うLD SIG 年次総会とともに、このフォーラムへの参加をお待ちしています。LD SIGの懇親会へも是非いらしてください!

また、2日間のLD SIG 創設20周年記念大会、Exploring Learner Development: Practices, Pedagogies, Puzzles and Research を11月23~24日に東京の学習院大学において主催しますので、どうぞお見逃しなく。招待講演者・特別講演者として、青木直子氏、リチャード・スミス氏、吉田研作氏、そしてフィル・ベンソン氏をお招きしています。この特別な大会は生徒、教師、研究者、NGOがあらゆる形の(言語)教育における学習者ディベロプメント、および学習者オートノミーについての様々な課題に共に取り組み、探究する場となる予定です。是非、ご参加ください。なお、早期申込割引期間は9月30日に締め切ります。詳しい情報については、<>をご覧ください。

The Learner Development SIG <> is a lively and friendly network of around 200 members who are principally interested in exploring and researching practices that help develop autonomous learning and teaching. At JALT2013 in Kobe the SIG will be holding a multi-presenter and interactive forum entitled “Transitions in the Lives of Learners and Teachers.” You are warmly invited to join us for the forum, as well as for our Annual General Meeting when we will discuss goals and plans for the coming year. We hope you can make it to the LD SIG party too!

Not to be missed either is the SIG’s 20th anniversary two-day conference, Exploring Learner Development: Practices, Pedagogies, Puzzles and Research, at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, November 23-24. Conference speakers include Naoko Aoki, Richard Smith, Kensaku Yoshida and Phil Benson. Please join us for this special occasion when students, teachers, researchers and NGOs will explore together a wide and challenging range of issues to do with learner development and learner autonomy in formal and non-formal (language) education. Early bird registration closes on September 30. For more information please visit: <>.

Lifelong Language Learning

The JALT2013 theme “Learning is a Lifelong Voyage.” We are pleased that the focus of the conference this year matches our SIG’s perennial focus and interest.

We are planning a particularly engaging SIG forum at the conference on the sub-theme “Lifelong Language Learning & Community Involvement.” Three presenters will speak about various ways to nurture a lifelong orientation to language learning through connections with others around them and to the outside community. Andrew Reimann will describe how cultural awareness can be enhanced through critical incidents, which help students feel closer to “the other” as they venture outside the safe confines of the university campus. The second speaker, Joseph Poulshock, will describe how he draws out the life stories of students and encourages them to be facilitators of storytelling themselves. Joseph Dias will show how to make the most of guest speakers as bridges to the community.

More detailed descriptions of the three elements of the LLL-SIG forum at JALT2013.

Raising Cultural Awareness though Critical Incidents

(Andrew Reimann, Associate Professor, Faculty of International Studies, Utsunomiya University) This presentation will describe activities which engage students with interesting and relevant content, provide opportunities for reflection, critical thinking, evaluation and self-exploration. Critical incidents build communication skills and a sense of curiosity, motivating and enabling students to extend their inquiry and interests out into the community. A predominantly student-centered activity, much of the information and questions are generated in class, steering the lesson toward students’ goals while teachers assume the roles of facilitators, guides and mentors.

Story is Life

(Joseph Poulshock, Professor, Tokyo Christian University) This part of the forum describes ideas and activities that can help learners and teachers find and create the “grammar of story” in (a) the books they read and the films they see; (b) in the goals, dreams, and ambitions that they have for life, and (c) in the way they communicate their own life stories and how they listen to, evoke, and draw out the life stories of others—both inside and outside the classroom.

Guest speakers as bridges to the community

(Joseph Dias, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University) Carefully chosen guest speakers in ESL/EFL classes can provide a bridge to the community. The presenter will explain how guest speaker engagements can be arranged for individual and pooled classes, and how the most can be made of the events through well-designed preparatory activities, readings, and tasks. Speakers from such organizations as Doctors of the World, Second Harvest and the Tokyo English Life Line, as well as a film director and musician, will be used as examples.

The LLL-SIG invites those teaching languages to young, middle-aged, and older adults to share information through our website <>, newsletter, at various SIG conferences and events (including the PanSIG), and at the JALT National Conference, where an annual LLL-SIG forum is held. We also conduct a Mini Conference every autumn. This year’s Mini Conference is tentatively scheduled for the first weekend in November, 2nd and 3rd, in Tokyo. Anyone wishing to give a presentation there should contact the LLL-SIG program chair, Joseph Dias, at <>. 

Our Facebook page can be accessed at <>. As of this writing, we have nearly 171 likes and we always welcome more. If you “like” us, you will be able to find out about not only our SIG’s events, but you can also get tips about lifelong language learning and teaching, and find out about opportunities and events in the community that stretch your capabilities and broaden your horizons, including volunteering possibilities.

Literature in Language Teaching 

LiLT SIG members engage with literature through film, creative writing, poetry, the short story, classic literature and world literature as well as literature in translation. We welcome interest from those working in cultural studies, politics through literature, language learning and applications of literary texts in different contexts. We are flexible, we are inclusive, and we are friendly - we invite you to join us!  


JALT2013 LiLT Forum. The forum will be on the theme of “literature and the stories of our lives” and we will have an eclectic mix of presentations from SIG members, talking about texts for use in class, stories of learning about literature and using creative writing with students to the choices of reading material that we have made. We look forward to meeting you at JALT2013 to share ideas about literature there. 

LiLT SIG Logo design - help required! Please get in touch if you could help us with this project. 

All important guidelines and information for contributors are available on our website <>. To join the SIG, tick Literature in Language Teaching when renewing your SIG membership.

Materials Writers

We are planning to have opportunities for members to meet at JALT and other casual venues. Please check our website for more information <>. Meet old/new members and stay active!

Other Language Educators

The OLE(Other Languages Educators) SIG has issued its newsletter 67 with information and interleaved flyers in 5 languages on its second conference at Chukyo University in Nagoya, 12-13 October. Information can be found at: <>, as well as the final schedule for OLE at JALT2013 in Kobe, October 26-27, including all event/presenter abstracts. For more information please contact <> <T/F 089-927-9359>. Please inform learners and teachers of languages other than English of these opportunities.


Pragmatics is the study of language from the point of view of language users, in particular, the choices they make, the constraints they encounter in using language in social interaction and the effects their use of language has on other participants in the act of communication. 

The Pragmatics SIG is in the process of creating a library of humorous comics and videos that highlight pragmatic matters in everyday conversation.  Look for some new videos on our website <> this summer!

Professionalism, Administration, and Leadership in Education

The PALE SIG stands for Administration, Management, & Employment. It researches a wide variety of matters concerning trends in education, job stability, discrimination, and curriculum design.  

This year, the PALE SIG is proud to announce Don Hinkelman of Sapporo Gakuin University as its featured speaker for the PALE SIG Forum at JALT2013. The title of his talk is: “Power Relationships of Technology, Staffing, and Intellectual Property in EFL Programs.” Here is a short summary: As technology-based learning environments evolve within university EFL programs, issues of power with the privileging of electronic technologies become pronounced. Blended learning, or the principled mix of online and classroom-based activities, challenges the bias towards electronic tools within newly emerging, hybrid learning environments. A five-year qualitative study of two institutions in Japan examined the role of power in relation to the design of these environments. A research team analyzed ethnographic and action research data using postmodern, critical, and ecological perspectives on technology, to explore hegemony in facility planning (online vs. face-to-face), control of materials development (publisher-based vs. teacher-based authorship), and development of software designs (proprietary ownership vs. distributed teacher initiatives). Results of the study reveal three significant changes in power: 1) the construction of classrooms shifted from single-purpose CALL laboratories to blended face-to-face/online spaces, 2) the production of teaching materials emphasized locally-authored multimedia materials with a decreasing reliance on mass market course books, and 3) the design of software modules was controlled by teaching teams for rapid customization. Overall, the process of innovation in institutional programs required a collaborative management culture to be appropriate and sustainable in university contexts. 

In addition to the PALE SIG Forum will also be the PALE SIG Annual General Meeting. This is where employment and professional issues that relate to language teachers, whatever the institution, will be discussed.  PALE also has a long history of raising awareness and combating discrimination of all kinds in the work place and beyond. Everyone who would like to find out more is welcome to attend.  

In any case, see you at the PALE SIG Table and PALE related presentations and posters at JALT2013.  

For more information, please check our website <>.

School Owners 

Please consider signing up for our newsletter! The sign-up form to the SO SIG’s free quarterly newsletter is now active on the SO SIG website <>. To subscribe, visit the site and enter your email address. Subscribers receive articles, freebies and news on upcoming SO SIG events.

Speech, Drama, & Debate 

The Speech, Drama, and Debate SIG will be active at JALT2013 in Kobe with a wide variety of helpful presentations. Two events there we would like to highlight are 1) the Speech, Drama, and Debate SIG forum, which focuses on practical advice on how to run Readers Theatre, Speech, Drama, & Debate events and activities in your school and class. This forum is geared to beginners up to advanced practitioners, and is open to all; and 2) the Speech, Drama, & Debate SIG Annual General Meeting where we will introduce the officers, give reports on the year’s activities, discuss future activities, and vote on a new slate of officers. Any SDD SIG member is eligible for nomination to an officer position. This meeting is open to all. Also, look for information coming soon on the SDD SIG co-sponsored Hiroshima mini-conference on December 1.

Study Abroad

The Study Abroad SIG provides a supportive place for discussing areas of interest regarding study abroad and intercultural training. We welcome submissions for our newsletter, Ryuugaku, and we are looking for new officers to join the team. Visit our new website at <> or contact us at <>.

当研究部会は、留学や異文化教育に関して議論し、また支援できる場を提供しています。当部会のニュースレター“Ryuugaku”への皆様からの投稿をお待ちしております。新役員の募集をしております。詳細は新ウェブサイト<>へお問い合わせは、 <>へお願いします。

Task-Based Learning 

The TBL SIG was created for teachers and other professionals who currently use or are interested in using task-based approaches in the classroom. It focuses, in particular, on issues related to task-based language teaching and learning in the Asian EFL context. The SIG serves as a useful forum for the exchange of practical teaching ideas, theoretical discussion, and academic study of TBLT issues. Our journal, OnTask, focuses on both research and theory, in the form of feature articles as well as more practical TBLT-informed lesson plans. Potential contributors to OnTask are invited to contact our publications officer, Julian Pigott at <>.

Teacher Education & Development

The Teacher Education and Development (TED) SIG is a network for those who want to help themselves and others become better teachers.We are looking forward to seeing you at JALT2013 for our forum and annual general meeting.

Thank you for your participation in the 2013 EFL Teacher Journeys conference which was co-sponsored by TED and The Teachers College Columbia University Japan Alumni Association. Further information from this year’s conference can be found at <>.

TED’s newsletter Explorations in Teacher Education welcomes stimulating articles! You can find out more at <>. You can also stay in touch with us online by becoming a friend of our mascot, Ted Sig, on Facebook, or following <@tedsig> on Twitter or Google+.

Teachers Helping Teachers

The THT SIG sponsored presentation will be “Developing Student Centred Learning” with four members of the THT SIG discussing the development of student centred teaching techniques as used by NNS and NS language teachers in both Japan and in Laos. Hope to see you there!

Teaching Children

We are eagerly counting down the days to next month’s JALT Junior Conference where, in conjunction with the JSHS SIG, we will host over 60 presentations. Our plenary speaker this year is Dr. Caroline Linse, a renowned expert in the field of young learner English. She will also be giving a more practically-oriented presentation on the most effective ways of getting parents involved in their children’s English language learning. 

After the success of last year’s forum we are again focusing this year on showcasing a stimulating range of practical, easy to use activities you can effortlessly try with your students. The title of the forum, Fun activities you can use on a Monday, says it all really, so bring your best games, activities or ideas along and join Eric Kane and Mari Nakamura in sharing them with everyone. 

But wait, there’s more! What is particularly impressive about this year’s conference presentations is the diversity of topics covered. There are presentations on how to use stories as effective teaching tools, how to teach to the “different intelligences,” practical workshops on how to incorporate knowledge about neuroscience and language learning into designing classroom activities, using the Cambridge YLE test, how to make effective use of classroom materials, how to incorporate music and movement, and how to make original communicative games and activities, just to mention a few. 

And there’s still more. On the Sunday we will have our AGM and we would like as many of you as possible to attend. We are keen to expand the number of officers helping out with the SIG as well as to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to our group. As the AGM will be held at lunchtime we will also have some ‘light refreshments’ for attendees (there’s talk of doughnuts). In addition, we will also be holding a raffle with some excellent prizes on offer. So do please make some time on Sunday to come along and join us.

A more detailed overview of the conference along with an interview with Dr. Linse will be published in the next edition of the TLC newsletter.

As always, if you have any ideas, activities, advice or experiences you would like to share with your fellow teachers, please consider submitting them to some of our upcoming issues of the TLC Newsletter! Email your submissions to the editor at <>. For more information about the Teaching Children SIG and all our activities, please visit our homepage <> or TCSIG Facebook page <>.

Testing & Evaluation

The Testing and Evaluation SIG is concerned with all aspects of testing and evaluating language performance and language programs, and welcomes both experienced teachers and those new to this area who wish to learn more about it. Our interests encompass quantitative and qualitative approaches to language assessment, including alternatives to traditional testing such as peer and self-assessment, portfolios, and project evaluation. Shiken, our refereed newsletter, contains a variety of assessment-related articles, including research reports, interviews with prominent authors, book reviews, instructional columns on statistical analysis, Rasch measurement, and assessment literacy. 


The VOCAB SIG is also proud to announce that our membership has grown to 130 members since last year. We welcome new membership and look forward to this year’s JALT2013 Conference. Poster presentations from the symposium can be viewed at this year’s conference as well.