SIG News - January 2015

PanSIG2015 in Kobe

Exciting news! PanSIG2015 will be held at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies on 16-17 May 2015. The theme is Narratives: Raising the Happiness Quotient. See the website for guidelines for submitting proposals. If you are interested in joining the conference team, please contact the conference chairs, Donna Tatsuki or Donna Fujimoto, at <>.


Bilingualism SIG provides support to families raising children in two or more languages in Japan. Our newsletter Bilingual Japan provides practical information about bilingual parenting as well as academic and theoretical issues. We also publish an annual journal and monograph. The SIG sometimes holds events with JALT chapters. For more information, visit our website: <>.

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 & University Educators

CUE hosted a number of activities at the JALT International Conference in Tsukuba, including the SIG Forum, “Conversations with the self: Reflective practice and teacher development,” the CUE SIG AGM and Claire Kramsch’s talk for the joint CUE-TED SIG forum: “Why conversation needs borders.” CUE is preparing to launch a monthly newsletter to complement the OnCUE Journal with regular news and updates. CUE members are invited to contribute news and other items. It is our hope that the newsletter will better help us to communicate with our members and add to the benefit of membership.

Computer Assisted Language Learning

The JALT CALL SIG is in the midst of preparations for the JALTCALL 2015 Conference. The conference will be held from 5-7 June at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka. The theme for the conference will be Language Learning Technologies and Learner Autonomy. Ema Ushioda, a specialist in language learner autonomy and CALL curriculum design, has generously agreed to be one of our featured speakers. We will release more information about the other featured speakers, the call for proposals, and other conference details as our planning progresses. This information will be made available via social media and on our website: <>. We hope to see many of you at JALTCALL 2015 next summer.

Critical Thinking

We are ALWAYS looking for new input from teachers interested in critical thinking! We invite your ideas about the theory and teaching practices regarding critical thinking. Whether it’s a classroom idea, a reflection, or a full research paper, we hope to hear from you! Think about writing for our quarterly newsletter, CT Scan, or our SIG website today. All submissions are welcome at <>. For more information, visit us at <>.

Extensive Reading

The JALT ER SIG exists to help promote Extensive Reading (ER) in Japan. Via our website, our newsletter, the ERJ Journal, and presentations throughout Japan we aim to help teachers set up and make the most of their ER programs.

  The ER SIG welcome submissions to our two publications, the ERJ (Extensive Reading in Japan) and the JER (Journal of Extensive Reading). Members receive printed versions of the ERJ twice a year, and both publications are available electronically via our website for free. Please see our website <> for submission guidelines, how to become a member, and much more.

Framework & Language Portfolio


  • The FLP SIG contributed presentations and workshops on CEFR and portfolio-related topics – featuring the two current JSPS Grant-in-Aid (kaken projects) – at the following international conferences: 
  • AILA World Congress 2014, Brisbane, Australia: One World – Many Languages
  • 9th JALT THT SIG Conference, Hue University of Foreign Languages, Aug 2014, Vietnam
  • CercleS, Sep 2014 in Fribourg, Switzerland
  • 5th International Symposium on European Languages in East Asia, Oct 2014, Taipei, Taiwan: Crises, Changes, and Chances: The European Conundrum

  The second kaken project: “Critical, constructive assessment of CEFR-based language teaching in Japan and beyond” has been accepted (first project ongoing). We would like to get more members involved, to have a solid base for research and acceptance.

Ongoing work:

  At the JALT2014 Conference in Tsukuba, the FLP-SIG held a well-attended forum: “CEFR-based Language Teaching: Critical Assessment”, and the SIG’s AGM. There were also other fascinating related presentations:

  • Language Portfolio for Young Learners (Ishikawa, Saito, and Nagasawa)
  • Facilitating Self- and Peer-Assessment (Mazzarelli)

  For further details see our homepage: <> 

Gender Awareness in Language Education

All JALT members are encouraged to consider attending future GALE forums and events and read GALE publications so as to encounter a range of perspectives about gender issues, teaching, and learning. 

  We also have a Facebook page, an online discussion list for all members, and an executive discussion list for officers and any GALE member who would like to take an active role in, or know more about, GALE business.  

  For more information about GALE, visit our website at <>. If you have any questions about joining GALE, please send a message to <>.

Global Issues in Language Education

GILE aims to promote global awareness, international understanding, and action to solve world problems through content-based language teaching, drawing from fields such as global education, peace education, environmental education, and human rights education. The SIG produces a quarterly newsletter, organizes presentations for local, national, and international conferences, and maintains contacts with groups ranging from Amnesty International to Educators for Social Responsibility to UNESCO. Contact us for a sample newsletter, or for more information about the SIG’s work in “teaching for a better world.” For more information, please visit <>, our Facebook page <>, or contact Kip Cates <>.

Japanese as a Second Language

The mission of the Japanese as a Second Language Special Interest Group (JSL SIG) is to serve as a resource for promoting JSL/JFL teaching, learning, and research. We welcome JSL/JFL teachers, learners, and researchers to join and take an active role in our SIG. Would you like to make a contribution to our SIG newsletter by sending your article? We are accepting articles, book reviews, JSL announcements, conference reports and reviews, interviews, lesson plans, student essays, and so forth from JSL SIG members and their students and colleagues. Write your article either in Japanese or English and send it to <>.

Junior & 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!

Learner Development

The Learner Development SIG is a friendly network of more than 200 members who are interested in exploring researching practices that help develop autonomous learning and teaching. 

  We organize forums at conferences and local get-togethers in Tokyo and Hiroshima. We publish research and accounts of practice in our regular newsletter and in two newly published e-books, and are launching an annual journal on key research issues this year. We are active in outreach projects in Tohoku and with education-related NGOs around Japan. We offer grants for membership, subscription, research, conferences, and outreach projects. For more information visit: <>                     






詳細は <>  をご覧下さい。

Lifelong Language  Learning

The topic of the LLL-SIG’s Forum at JALT2014 was “Finding what motivates adult learners.” An enthusiastic audience attended this talk, given by a distinguished line-up of three speakers: Deborah Bollinger and Joseph Dias of Aoyama Gakuin University, and Kathleen Yamane of Nara University.

  Deborah Bollinger explored factors that motivate a particular group of older adult learners (in their 50s-70s) who have continued to improve their written and spoken English proficiency over a period of more than 20 years.

  Next, Kathleen Yamane discussed her experiences teaching three-day “schooling” courses for correspondence students—most of whom had been away from English for decades—enrolled in a degree program in Cultural Properties.

  Lastly, Joseph Dias and Deborah Bollinger reported on an investigation they conducted on attitudes toward plagiarism among university students and implications for lifelong learning. The presenters found that the problem of plagiarism cannot be resolved simply by devising the “perfect” plagiarism policy or pedagogy, as it is necessary to be constantly vigilant and adjust to changes over time.

  The LLL-SIG invites your participation through our website <>, newsletter, and at various SIG conferences and events—including the Pan-SIG. Our Facebook page can be accessed at <>.

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 with cultural studies, politics through literature, language learning, and applications of literary texts in different contexts. We are always interested in volunteers to help out with things such as events planning, reading and proofing for our journal, and helping the SIG grow. If you are thinking about getting involved we welcome you to contact us!

  Thank you to everyone involved in the JALT forum at Tsukuba, and to everyone who helped the weekend be an excellent opportunity for networking. Upcoming events this year include PanSIG2015 in Kobe, which links together the ideas of storytelling and happiness. We welcome suggestions on possible lit-themed events for future conferences also. 

  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

The MW SIG shares information on ways to create better language learning materials, covering a wide range of issues from practical advice on style to copyright law and publishing practices, including self-publication. Our newsletter Between the Keys is published three to four times a year and we have a discussion forum and mailing list. Our website is <>. To contact us, email <>.

Mind, Brain, & Education

The Mind, Brain, and Education (BRAIN) SIG is a forum for language educators and researchers to share insights in neuroscience. We hope to be a driving force in bringing relevant new discoveries in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neurolinguistics to language teaching in Japan.  

  Neuroscience is changing many parts of the world, but not ours. It is disturbing how slowly new findings are coming into the language classroom. We feel that if we wait for findings in neuroscience to percolate through linguistics and the other academic fields not directly related to our profession, we will miss too many opportunities to improve our practices. Therefore, we plan to learn as much as we can and teach each other. Since only a few of us are neuroscientists, we will have to (a) maintain standards of rigor in the work we do, (b) reach out to neuroscientists and psychologists abroad to inform us, and (c) remain appropriately humble about our own work. At this point, our primary goal is not to conduct our own research, but rather to study what others have discovered and consider the implications for our classroom practices.

Other Language Educators

OLE has put all materials made available by authors of OLE-related presentations in the last few years on the coordinator’s page at Ehime University for everyone to use. Visit <> for more.

  OLE held two days full of OLE-related events at JALT2014 in Tsukuba. The program schedule, as well as the long and short abstracts, are all in OLE NL 70 available from the coordinator at <>.


Pragmatics is the study of language from the point of view of users, especially of 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. 

Pragmatic Resources Series—Call for papers (deadline: 1 Jun 2015): Back to Basics: Filling the Gaps in Pragmatics Teaching Materials. Editors: Donna Tatsuki & Donna Fujimoto

  The teaching of pragmatics to language learners has been advocated because of empirically demonstrated needs and benefits (Bardovi-Harlig, 1996, 1999; Bardovi-Harlig, 2003; Kasper & Schmidt, 1996; Kasper & Rose, 1999). Furthermore, language textbooks rarely include pragmatic information and teacher manuals generally fail to offer any supplements (Vellenga, 2004). Over the past decade, efforts have been made to collect and publish pedagogical guides and materials for use by language teachers. A recent cataloguing and analysis (Tatsuki, forthcoming) of pragmatic topics addressed by several prominent pedagogical collections indicates that directive and expressive speech acts (especially requests, apologies, compliments, refusals, and suggestions/advice-giving) are the most common topics for teaching materials/lesson plans. Awareness-raising activities are the next most frequent. The areas underrepresented by teaching materials include deixis, commissive speech acts, and other topics such as implicature/explicature.

  The proposed volume aims to rectify this situation and fill the pedagogical gaps. Papers dealing with the following topics will especially be sought:

  • deixis (personal, spatial, temporal, social, discourse)
  • commissive speech acts (promising, warning, threatening, guaranteeing, inviting, offering, swearing, volunteering)
  • implicature/explicature
  • taboo language
  • lying, deception
  • assessment
  • context
  • conversation (turn-taking, sequence organization, etc.)
  • structure (codes/styles, non-verbal, sound/prosody, morphology, clause/sentence, suprasentential utterance building, genres, rhetoric, signs/symbols, etc/)
  • relevance
  • intentionality
  • development

  Prospective authors are encouraged to contact the editors with other suggestions for rare/underrepresented topics. For information on manuscript formats contact Donna Tatsuki <>.

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

At JALT2014 we had a great Speech, Drama, and Debate Forum/Poster Session/Meet & Greet reception as well as many interesting individual presentations. New officers elected at our AGM will be announced in the next issue.

  Something new—we plan to publish an activities book, so if you have ideas for teaching speech, drama, debate, or oral interpretation, or would like to be an editor of the book, send inquiries to the SDD contact email address on the official JALT SDD page or <>. The format will be the same as the My Share articles in The Language Teacher. 

  We are preparing the second issue of our peer-reviewed journal, Mask & Gavel. Please consider submitting an article. See <> to download some of the back issues.

  Our most exciting project for 2014 was the first annual JOESC (Japan Online English Speech Contest). We had a wonderful selection of entries, and the winners will be announced in the next issue.

  Please consider submitting a proposal on speech, drama, or debate to PanSIG2015. See the online Call for Papers.

  Finally, we are happy to provide speakers to chapters/events. Send inquiries to the SDD contact email address on the official JALT SDD page or <>. 

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, Colin Thompson, 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. TED SIG had a big presence at JALT2014, including sponsoring one of the plenary speakers, Prof. Thomas Farrell. Our joint forum with CUE SIG was enjoyed by a lot of members. It was also great that so many members were able to meet up, hang out, and chat at the TED SIG desk throughout the conference. If you missed the action, check out TED’s website for some of the highlights: <>.

The end of the conference and the beginning of the new year heralds more frenetic activity as the officers start to think about organizing the next Teachers’ Journeys Conference, TED SIG’s annual mini-conference. Please get in touch with us if there is a particular speaker you would like to hear.

Also, don’t forget about TED SIG’s journal Explorations in Teacher Education. The journal welcomes stimulating articles across the field. Submission guidelines for articles can be found on the website. You can also stay in touch with us via Facebook or Google+ or by following <@tedsig> on Twitter.

Teachers Helping Teachers

The THT SIG gave presentations about our upcoming events for 2015 at the JALT2014 National Conference. These include Vietnam (8-9 Aug), Kyrgyzstan, and Bangladesh (Sep). Please contact us at <> if you are interested in participating next year. In addition to these, we sponsor the THT Laos program which is organized by Chris Ruddenklau. He can be contacted at <>. Our newsletter is available at <>.  

We have a new slate of officers who have agreed to take on the JALT positions and this slate was approved at the National Conference AGM.

Teaching Children

We would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to all those who joined us at JALT Junior in Tsukuba this year. The conference was an outstanding success and we were honored to have so many excellent presenters and a wonderfully enthusiastic audience for them. A special thanks to all those volunteers who gave so generously of their time (and patience); without such selflessness (and effortless) crisis control, JALT Jr. would not have been as, well, utterly awesome as it truly was.  

 We are in the process of enriching our online and social media presence and we will keep you updated of our progress via our regular e-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 the 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, as well as instructional columns on statistical analysis, Rasch measurement, and assessment literacy. 


Thank you to everyone who participated in the JALT2014 SIG events. We held our AGM and had our SIG Forum with poster presentations from SIG members.

 We are now on our way to the 2015 Vocabulary Symposium!

Date: 20 Jun 2015

Location: Kyushu Sangyo University

Featured Discussants: Dr. Stewart Webb and Dr. Rie Koizume

To submit a poster presentation (deadline 30 Mar) please follow the link from the symposium web page. You can also see our publications page for more info about our latest SIG publications.

The JALT Vocabulary SIG provides a venue for the discussion and research into second language vocabulary acquisition and assessment, particularly as they pertain to language education in Japan. <>.