SIG News - March 2015

PanSIG2015 in Kobe

PanSIG2015, May 16-17, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies • “Narratives: Raising the Happiness Quotient”

PanSIG2015 is shaping up to be an exciting conference, with interesting presenters, inspiring plenary speakers, entertaining banquet, and a multitude of chances for networking. For more information see the PanSIG website at <>. If you are interested in working on the conference, contact the conference chairs, Donna Tatsuki and Donna Fujimoto, at <>. See you in Kobe!


BIL SIG provides support and inspiration to families who are bringing up children in two or more languages in Japanese contexts. If you have children or are planning to, Bilingualism SIG will help you on your journey with ideas on keeping up the minority language and also the various educational options in Japan and abroad. We also promote research and publish an annual peer-reviewed journal, newsletters, and monographs. Most of the articles in our publications come from our members. Two of our latest monographs are on Third Culture Kids (TCK) and adding biliteracy to bilingualism.

Mark your calendars! Two upcoming events include: JALT Yokohama Chapter meeting in September will feature Mary Nobuoka, speaking about the basics of raising bilingual children in Japan, and Marybeth Kamibeppu, covering everything you need to know about Juken in the Tokyo-metro area; the B-SIG conference forum in November will focus on adding biliteracy to bilingualism. Email for more information: <>.

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

Recently CUE celebrated its 20th anniversary by organizing various professional events from Hokkaido to Kyushu. CUE officers would like to thank each and all of its members for their support and involvement in SIG-related activities. We hope you will continue to be engaged! Please feel free to contact us at <> for further information about our events and activities. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon at one of our events!

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

In January and February members of the Critical Thinking SIG (CT SIG) presented in various places throughout Japan. Visit our website <> to see reviews of all events, as well as announcements for coming attractions.

Currently, the Critical Thinking SIG is openly soliciting articles for the next issue of our flagship publication – Critical Thinking and Language Learning (CTLL) (you can download a copy from our website). We are also seeking content for our newsletter CT Scan (again, please visit our website for past issues of CT Scan and ways to submit your research to our publications).

If you are seeking opportunities to present at the 2015 JALT conference in Shizuoka at the Granship, and your area of research/teaching focuses on critical thinking, consider the Critical Thinking SIG Forum. The 2014 forum at the JALT conference in Tsukuba was a great success! Not only were the presenters informative, but attendees were treated to a hardcopy of the first issue of CTLL. Watch our website for details on when and how to submit for the opportunity to present at the Critical Thinking SIG Forum at the 2015 JALT conference in Shizuoka.

Finally, you can always engage with CT SIG members by leaving messages and comments at our website forum <>. Hope to see you in cyberspace! 

Extensive Reading

We have a new URL for the ER SIG website: <>. Please update your bookmarks and visit it! You can also find a link to our Facebook page there.

8th Annual Extensive Reading Seminar: “What is ER?”

The JALT ER SIG is planning to hold the annual seminar on Sunday, June 21, 2015 in Kitakyushu. Go to the Vocab Symposium in Fukuoka on Saturday and come to the ER Seminar on Sunday! Check our website for up-to-date details.

ER Forum at PanSIG 2015 - “What is ER?”

A panel of ER practitioners and researchers will discuss (re)defining ER. Come joins us for this at PanSIG in Kobe.

Write for us:

Use the links to our publications ERJ and JER to find out about how to submit articles. Get started at <>.

Join us:

If you aren’t yet a SIG member, please join us. You’ll get our twice-yearly printed Extensive Reading in Japan, usually sent with a sample graded reader, discounted admission to our seminar, and our regular e-newsletter.

Framework & Language Portfolio

Activities in 2015:

The first FLP SIG kaken project, CEFR informed EAP textbooks for Japan, is in its final stages. Watch this space and the website for updates.

The FLP SIG will be delivering presentations this spring: 

Poster presentation at Bremen Symposion (20-21 Feb, Bremen University, Germany) commenting on progress in the second kaken project—Critical, constructive assessment of CEFR-based language teaching in Japan and beyond 

Symposium at Language Expo 2015 (15 Mar, Waseda University) on the CEFR in the classroom in Japan—challenges and chances

Workshop at JALT Shinshu chapter (18 Apr, Matsumoto) addressing CEFR implementations at institutional and class level at universities in Japan

The second kaken project is ongoing—and we need you to get involved and contribute. We are still looking for contributions highlighting classroom level implementations.

Ongoing work:

SURVEY – HELP needed – Please take the survey at: <>, spread the news and help us collect data. Thank you very much!

In June we will hold a second conference on Critical, constructive assessment of CEFR-based language teaching in Japan and beyond. The precise venue, time, and date are currently being deliberated with all prospective participants. Please keep checking our homepage regularly: <>. 

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 primarily from the fields of 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.”  Visit <> 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, etc. 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 and researching practices that develop autonomous learning and teaching. We organize forums at the JALT national conferences and hold local get-togethers to discuss research and practice. We publish research, reports, reviews and more in our biannual newsletter and are planning a new annual journal on key research issues. We support community outreach projects in Tohoku and education-related NGOs. We offer grants for membership, subscription, research, conferences and outreach projects. For more information, visit <>.

学習者ディベロプメント研究部会は200名以上の会員から組織される、オートノミーのある学習とその教育の実践を探求する研究グループです。学会でのフォーラムと東京や広島での地域別集会の開催をはじめとし、研究報告やブックレビューを含めた年2回のニュースレター発行、同時に現在新たな年刊誌制作を予定しています。また東北においてや教育関連NGOとのアウトリーチ活動支援や会費、研究、学会参加、アウトリーチ活動等への助成金支給も行っています。詳細は <> をご覧下さい。

Lifelong Language Learning

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 PanSIG), and at the JALT International Conference, where an annual LLL-SIG forum is held. 

Our Facebook page can be accessed at <>. As of this writing, we have nearly 200 likes and we always welcome more. If you “like” us, you will not only be able to find out about our SIG’s events, but you will also be able to 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 with cultural studies, politics through literature, language learning, and applications of literary texts in different contexts. If you are thinking about getting involved we welcome you to contact us! 

Upcoming events this year include the PanSIG in Kobe, 2015, which links together the ideas of storytelling and happiness. We also welcome suggestions on possible lit-themed events for future conferences. 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!

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 issued NL 72, containing the detailed coordinator’s report and an updated report from the ALE-SIG meeting with new officers, as well as an extensive schedule with information on OLE related events in JALT and beyond in 2015, including PanSIG and OLE’s 3rd SIG conference. Copies are 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. 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 <> soon!

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, 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.

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

JALT2014, our SIG elected a new coordinator, Ryan Hagglund. Welcome to the team! 

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

 SDD SIG is continuing its winning combination of conferences, workshops, publications, and events. This is the exciting line-up we have planned for you:

  • Workshop: Drama Workshop at the University of Yokkaiichi, 22 Feb
  • Conference: Presentations and Workshops at PanSIG2015 in Kobe, 16-17 May
  • Conference: Yokohama Chapter/SDD Conference
  • Conference: Presentations and Workshops at JALT2015 in Shizuoka
  • Publication: 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. 
  • Publication: We are preparing the next issue of our peer-reviewed journal, Mask & Gavel. Please consider submitting an article. (See <> to download some of the back issues.) 
  • Speech Contest: JOESC2. The first annual JOESC (Japan Online English Speech Contest) was so successful that we will repeat it this year.

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 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 the JALT 2014 conference, but as we herald spring, we also start looking towards PANSIG and the next EFL Teacher Journeys conference, so please check our website for more details as they are confirmed.

The beginning of a new academic year also heralds some changes. Peter Hourdequin is passing the baton of SIG coordinator on to Bill Snyder. Jan Visscher will also be retiring after many years as Membership chair with Steve Morgan taking over his duties. The success of TED has been down to both our officers and the active participation of our members, so check out TED’s website, <> for more details about the SIG and how you can participate.

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

THT will have its usual complement of programs this year as follows:

  • LAOS (Vientiane):  The Laos program is now underway. If you are interested in participating next year, please contact Chris Ruddenklau at <>.
  • VIETNAM (Hue) will be from Aug 7-11, 2015 at Hue University and our theme is Activities and Motivation for the Language Classroom. Please contact Joe Tomei at <> for more details. 
  • Those with time should also consider BOLT’s programs in Dalat, Vietnam August 14-15, 2015. Contact Peter Wanner at <> for details.
  • KYRGYZSTAN (Bishkek) will be on Sept. 3rd and 4th (Thurs./Fri.) (Travel to Osh) and the programs with Bishkek Humanities University and FORUM are scheduled for the week of Monday, 7-11 Sep. Those interested, please contact Brent Jones at <>
  • BANGLADESH (Dhaka) is tentatively scheduled for mid Sept. For more information, contact either Steve Cornwell <> or Patrick Dougherty <>.

Information about these official programs and two related volunteer opportunities in Nepal and Myanmar can be found at our website <>. If you are interested in Nepal please contact Randall Bollig <> or Ann Mayeda <>.  Myanmar liaison is Frank Berberich <>.

Teaching Children

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 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. 


Call for submissions to our 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. <>.