SIG News - May 2015

SIG News Farewell

Hello everyone, friendly SIG News editor here. It is with both sadness and happiness that I announce the end of the SIG News column in the print version of TLT. As this column ends, so too will my editorship of it. I have had a wonderful time helping SIGs to get their voices heard while building connections with innumerable people across the JALT community. I am truly thankful for the last few years and will miss contributing to TLT. Thank you to everyone on the TLT staff who helped me and thank you to all of the SIG officers with whom I corresponded more regularly than I probably do my own family! I’d also like to take a moment to thank Mark Brierley, the SIG Liaison, for being such a supportive and helpful contact who allowed me make this column the best possible megaphone for the JALT SIGs. I’d like to close with a quote by the writer Charles Dudley Warner which exemplifies how I have approached this column and working within the JALT community: “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” I hope we SIGs can all continue helping ourselves, by helping each other. See you out there! 

- Jennie Roloff Rothman

SIG Focus

Sad the SIG News column is ending? Fear not! Like a phoenix from the ashes of one column rises a new one! The July / August 2015 TLT will mark the beginning of SIG Focus, which will be co-edited by Joël Laurier and Robert Morel. This new column will give a more in-depth view of one SIG each month, providing readers with a more complete picture of the different SIGs within JALT. While the SIG News column will no longer be in the print version of TLT, information about SIG events, publications, and calls for papers will still be available online at <>. We hope that this new format gives readers a fresh look at the variety of SIGs within JALT. Read on for a word from the two new column editors!

Hello, my name is Joël Laurier. I am a longtime Japan resident, originally from Ottawa, Canada. Over the last eighteen years, I have taught at the eikaiwa, elelementary school, junior high school and university levels. In each of these teaching contexts, I have benefitted from JALT’s communities of practice, and TLT has been a big part of that. Currently, I am Programmes Co-Chair of the Gunma JALT chapter and a member of the LD SIG programs committee. I am very happy to be joining the TLT team to help JALT SIGs reach out to TLT readers. I welcome your comments on ways to put the best focus on the various interest groups.

Hi, my name is Robert Morel and I have taught at the secondary and university levels in Japan since 2003. I have been involved with JALT SIGs for the past four years and acted as publications chair for the Junior and Senior High School SIG and editor of The School House from 2012–2014. I hold an MA TESOL from Teachers College Columbia University. I look forward to working with the SIGs to showcase their activities.


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. Invited speakers are Liliana Landolfi (“Motivation Lost—Motivation Regained:  Investigating Students’ Narratives on Language Learning “), Curtis Kelly (“Why Our Brains Like Stories”), and Kim Horne (“The Virtues of Character Education—Simple Ways to Bring Joy, Meaning & Purpose into Your Classroom”). 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 <>. Pre-register for reduced conference fees and to reserve tickets to the networking events! See you in Kobe in a few weeks!



Our aim is to further research on bilingualism as it occurs in Japan. We also promote mutual support among our members through our newsletter (3x/year), academic publications, an active email list and Facebook group. Parents in international marriages, people who communicate in more than one language, and teachers of multilingual students all take advantage of the practical and theoretical information available via our group. For more information, visit our website: <>.

Upcoming events: For people in the Tokyo-metro area, Yokohama JALT will be hosting a special event with Bilingualism SIG on Sunday, 20 Sep 2015, at Kannai Hall. The topics covered will be the factors that help foster bilingualism and how to navigate the “juken” (school entrance exam) system in Japan. For more information on this event, visit the Yokohama Chapter website: <>.

Bilingualism SIG’s annual forum at the JALT National Conference, in November 2015 at the Shizuoka Granship, will focus on adding literacy skills in a minority language for bilingual learners. 


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

JALT CUE SIG will be holding a 90-minute forum at the PanSIG conference in May entitled Right Turn, Wrong Turn: Finding a Path to Success. There will be presentations from James Dunn, Steve Paton, Heather Doiron, and Wendy Gough. Following the presentations, there will be a discussion period between the presenters and the participants.

The 2015 JALT CUE Conference will be held on 26-27 Sep at Sugiyama Jogakuen University in Nagoya. The conference theme will be “Diversity: Communication and Education.” The call for papers is available on the JALT CUE SIG Facebook page. Soon there will also be information on the JALT CUE SIG website.


Computer Assisted Language Learning

Greetings from the JALT CALL SIG! We continue to make progress with our preparations for JALTCALL 2015 at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka. Once again, the dates for the conference are 5-7 Jun, with special workshops held on the evening of the 5th and the main conference on 6-7June. Ema Ushioda, a leading researcher in learner autonomy and learning technologies, will serve as our keynote speaker. Also, Rab Patterson has recently agreed to serve as our plenary speaker. Rab is an educational technology specialist, an Apple Distinguished Educator, and a Google Certified Teacher. He is known for his presentation skills and his passion for the craft of teaching. Lastly, the JALT CALL SIG will be represented at the JALT PanSIG2015 conference from 16-17 May at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. To find out more about JALT CALL, including information about JALT CALL 2015, please visit <>.


Critical Thinking

The Critical Thinking SIG has been active in this early part of 2015. We have been active with presentations at ETJ Expos as well as garnering submissions for our forums at the PanSIG 2015 conference in Kobe City on 16-17 May, and the 2015 JALT conference in Shizuoka at the Granship from 20-23 Nov. We are planning events for both forums that will provide opportunities for members to engage with issues relevant to their interests. Also, we are always looking for opportunities to connect with and bring opportunities to our members so they can enhance their knowledge and skills as well as network with people. For more information on how to become involved with and even organize Critical Thinking SIG programs, please contact <>. 

Along with being active on the programs front, we are always accepting submissions for our two publications - our member newsletter, CT Scan, and our flagship publication, Critical Thinking and Language Learning (CTLL). The latter is our academic journal and we are looking for quality submissions that pertain to exactly what the title implies - critical thinking and language learning.  If you have a short article or opinion piece, CT Scan may be the place for your ideas, but if you have a longer more academic research oriented article then CTLL could be the place for you. For more information about our publications please contact <>.

For all the happenings and dealings pertaining to the Critical Thinking SIG please explore our website <>. We hope to make a connection with you by seeing you at an event or reading your article. Be well and keep thinking critically.


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 our annual seminar on Sunday, 21 June, 2015 at Seinan Jo Gakuin University 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 join 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

Here is a list of activities the FLP SIG has planned for 2015:

  • The first FLP SIG kaken project – CEFR informed EAP textbooks for Japan has been published!
  • The FLP SIG will be delivering presentations this spring at: 
  • JALT Shinshu chapter (April 18th, Matsumoto) addressing CEFR implementations at institutional and class level at universities in Japan
  • PanSIG 2015 in Kobe. Talk to us about your usage of CEFR and portfolios.
  • The 2nd conference on Critical, constructive assessment of CEFR-based language teaching in Japan and beyond at Tokai University in Tokyo, 6-7 June, 2015. The exact details about the venue, time, and date are currently being worked on. Please look at this space and keep checking our homepage regularly: <> 

Ongoing work:

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


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 <>.


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 be able to find out about not only our SIG’s events, but you 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, please contact us! 

Upcoming events this year include the PanSIG in Kobe, 2015, which connects the ideas of storytelling and happiness. We also welcome suggestions on possible lit-themed events for future conferences. We are always looking for 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, get in touch!

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 BRAIN SIG has been flying!  As of February, we grew to 63 members and 12 officers. We published our first MindBrainEd Bulletin with another right behind.  This bulletin uses an interesting system.  Rather than doing new research ourselves, we link to existing great articles, podcasts, or videos online and write Think Tank pieces about them.  We are having forums on “Ten Things from Neuroscience Every Teacher Should Know” at the Kobe PanSIG2015 and Shizuoka JALT 2015. We helped FAB do two conferences in the Philippines and will collaborate on FAB8 in Kyoto in September.  Come join us!


Other Language Educators

OLE will hold its 4th SIG conference at Chukyo University, Nagoya, tentatively scheduled for 3-4 Oct 2015. Please send proposals (with the subject heading OLE4SIG) to <>. The submission deadline is Friday July 31. More information on this conference will be available at <>. The most recent information on  OLE at JALT 2015 will be provided by the coordinator in the  OLE newsletters at the above address.



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 as a result 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.

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


School Owners

The School Owners’ SIG now has new leadership and is working to increase our activity over this coming year.  Please look forward to a new website coming soon as well as an event at the Pan SIG.  Those interested in becoming members please contact Paul Moritoshi, Membership Chair, at <>.


Speech, Drama, & Debate

SDD SIG is continuing its winning combination of conferences, workshops, publications, and events. A very interesting Dramatic Classroom Workshop was held at the University of Yokkaiichi, 22 Feb and Fukui Chapter on 8 March. This is the exciting line-up we have planned for the rest of  2015:

  • Conference: Presentations and Workshops at PanSIG2015 in Kobe, 16-17 May
  • Conference: Yokohama Chapter/SDD Conference 28 June
  • 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 will have another active year in 2015, beginning with PanSIG in May. Dr. Bill Snyder, the SIG coordinator, will be in Kobe and several members will be giving presentations.

Preparations are underway for this year’s EFL Teacher Journeys Conference. This year the conference will be held in Tokyo with details of the plenary speakers to be announced shortly. The success of both the Teacher Journeys conference and TED SIG 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. This year we plan to subject all articles to peer review, so make sure to look out for some great articles. 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 7-11 Aug 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, 14-15 Aug. Contact Peter Wanner at <> for details.

KYRGYZSTAN (Bishkek) will be from 3-4 Sep (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-September. 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 <>.  The Myanmar liaison is Frank Berberich <>.


Teaching Younger Learners

The TYL SIG was formed at the Executive Board Meeting of JALT in February 2015. This SIG is a merger of the Teaching Children SIG and the Junior Senior High SIG. After many years of working side by side, we decided to merge and form one SIG whose goal is to support those involved with or interested in the teaching of languages to learners aged 0-18. There used to be a clear line between the two SIGs-compulsory vs non-compulsory language education. After recent changes, this line no longer exists, as elementary school English classes have become compulsory. We felt it would make sense to have all those involved with and supporting compulsory education to be in the same group within JALT.

TYL SIG, in conjunction with JALT’s annual international conference, will continue to hold JALT Junior, the 2-day satellite conference with presentations especially for the teachers of younger learners. With the merger, this event is sure to be even more exciting in the future. In addition TYL SIG will continue to produce its own publication, The School House, issue monthly bulletins, organize teacher development workshops, and run a webpage, Facebook page and blogs.

Contact info: <>, <>


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. 



You are invited to our Vocabulary SIG event:

The Vocabulary SIG provides a forum for focused research and discussion in specific regard to vocabulary acquisition. We offer both teachers and researchers a place to connect regarding how learners improve vocabulary knowledge, how to test their knowledge, and how these theoretical aspects connect to classroom practice.

The Vocabulary SIG’s goal is to be a driving force for both current and future research in the field of how vocabulary can be taught, learned, and tested in an increasingly global context. For further information, visit <>.