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2012 Meeting Minutes

Standardized Language Testing in Japan

posted Sep 12, 2012, 5:47 AM by Hamamatsu JALT

 In this presentation Edward Sarich began with defining terms and giving a brief historical overview of different standardized tests in Japan. From there, the presentation moved to the current situation and use of standardized tests in public schools, universities, businesses, and other institutions.  A very vibrant discussion of pros & cons and usage followed with Mr. Sarich ensuring a balanced flow of opinions.  This presentation was based on Mr. Sarich's research for is master's thesis and will be featured as the Hamamatsu Chapter sponsored presentation at the National conference in October.

Reported by Jon Dujmovich

May 19th, 2012 - The "SHARP-Do" and "Book Buddies" projects: Two stories of grant-funded work by foreign language teachers.

posted May 23, 2012, 6:03 AM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated May 23, 2012, 6:26 AM ]

Marcus Springer, Chris Tebbe

This presentation, will explore 2 Suruga Grant funded projects initiated by foreign language teachers. The first project, the Shizuoka Action Research and Professional Development Organization (SHARP-DŌ), was a research-based organization for foreign and Japanese teachers in Shizuoka. It was founded by Christopher Tebbe and Marcus Springer with a goal of providing teachers practical ideas for the classroom and encourage greater communication/collaboration between Japanese and foreign teachers. The seminars, held between March 2011 and April 2012, were facilitated by either Tebbe, Springer or university professors and covered a range of topics such as action research, error correction, and extensive writing. Following each meeting, attending teachers had an opportunity to share lesson plan ideas as well as ask for and receive guidance on their lessons.

The second project, called Book Buddies and scheduled for the 2012 academic year, was founded by Amanda Dove and Marcus Springer. It seeks to encourage literacy and multicultural awareness for bilingual children, ages 6-9, in Kakegawa city. This will be done through group readings of graded readers and expansion activities that take advantage of the cultural points highlighted in the stories.

Marcus Springer first came to Japan for a short stint in 1999 as an eikaiwa teacher. After returning to the U.S.A. and completing his MA in Bicultural Bilingual Studies - English as a Second Language, Marcus returned to Japan through the JET Programme and taught at Futamata High School in Tenryu for 2 years.  He now works at the Shizuoka Ken General Education Center supporting the Teachers' Consultants in providing in-service training for prefectural teachers at all levels.  Since 2008, Marcus has facilitated workshops and presented to various groups on topics including action research, the purpose of education in Japan, teaching reading strategies, student motivation, scaffolding, and student assessment.  He has been a member the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies action research group since 2009.  In 2011, he co-founded the Shizuoka Action Research and Professional Development Organization (SHARP-DO).  In 2012, he co-founded the Adventures in Books and Cultures Club (ABC Club).

Chris Tebbe began his career in language instruction by teaching German to university students and earning an MA in German from the University of Cincinnati. Since then he has taught English in Austria, served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the People's Republic of China, and worked as a fourth-grade ESL teacher in a New York City public elementary school. While in New York City, he also earned an MA in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia University. Mr. Tebbe arrived in Japan in 2007 and worked as a JET Programme ALT in two high schools in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka. He is currently the Prefectural Advisor for JET Programme ALTs in Shizuoka prefecture. He has also co-founded SHARP-DO (SHizuoka Action Research and Professional Development Organization) in order to help ALTs and JTEs (Japanese Teachers of English) improve their teaching skills. Furthermore, Chris served as the Co-ordinator of the JALT Junior and Senior High School Special Interest Group (JSHS SIG) from 2009 to 2011.

May 19, 2012

April 15th, 2012 - The Dejima-zation of English

posted Apr 17, 2012, 6:20 AM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated May 23, 2012, 6:28 AM ]

The Dejima-zation of English

PDF Available here!

Albert McCann

This presentation will be an interactive examination of the obstacles to learn to speak English in Japan. The presenter will go over some historical and philosophical reasons for this. The intention of this session is for all of us to share our stories and to realize what we work against. That is, a slowly changing education system and a deap seated resistance to foreign culture and influence. We will work together to find some solutions to the reality we all face as teachers.
Albert McCann has been an English teacher in Japan for the past seven years. He has worked in both junior and senior high schools, public and private. Currently, he teaches solo in the Inuyama NET Program and has the daily challenge to motivate young students to communicate in English.

April 15, 2012

March Forum

posted Apr 17, 2012, 6:19 AM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated Nov 5, 2012, 3:49 PM ]

In March we had a forum with four speakers: Darryl Mellows on "Realistic goals for teaching children", Dan Frost on “In Japanese junior high schools, how important is grammar for learning English?”, _______ on high school students and Gregg McNabb on "English for University - The divide between students' needs, instructors' beliefs and students' expectations.” 

Darryl Mellows discussed how students at the elementary age are largely being failed by the low expectations being placed on them compounded by the poor curriculum provided by MEXT. Too much time and resources have been allocated to “expose”, almost exclusively, grade 5 and 6 students to the English language. He believes a new and much more challenging mindset must be adopted in the approach to teaching young learners in order to effectively utilize the technology and resources being provided. 

Dan Frost  discussed how the traditional roles are for the Japanese teacher (JT) to teach grammar, and the native-English speaking teacher (NT) to focus on oral communication. However, in recent years JTs in junior high school are trying to use the communicative method of teaching with less explicit emphasis on grammar. The discussion looked at how JTs and NTs might work together in teaching both communication and grammar.

Gregg McNabb discussed the current status and outlook for Japanese universities, including whether the central entrance examination system is really so awful, and how changing the university start to September is good for some, but unnecessary for many others.

March, 2012

February 18th, 2012 - Improvisational Psychodrama (即興心理劇)

posted Feb 27, 2012, 12:01 AM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated May 23, 2012, 6:30 AM ]

Improvisational Psychodrama (即興心理劇)

Peter Ross - Sponsored by West-Tokyo Chapter

The title for Peter Ross' presentation guarantees intrigue, "Improvisational Psychodrama". In his extremely audience-centred workshop, Peter Ross demonstrated how simple stimuli such as pictures can be used to elicit stories that students develop into their very own improvisational psychodrama. First, students are presented with a stimulus and a brainstorming session is held in which several story ideas are produced by the students. Following this, students choose one of the story lines and elaborate on the content creating a framework for the drama. Next, it's action! The drama is played out by students who take turns in the various roles. Peter Ross also illustrated how the activity can lead to a deeper glimpse into the psyche when having multiple people play the "HONNE"(本音) and "TATEMAE"(建前) aspects for each character in the drama.

Reported by Adam Jenkins

February 18, 2012

January 21st, 2012 - Using Video Materials to Facilitate Students’ Creative Thinking and Improve Their English Skills.

posted Feb 6, 2012, 6:59 PM by Hamamatsu JALT   [ updated May 23, 2012, 6:25 AM ]

Using Video Materials to Facilitate Students’ Creative Thinking and Improve Their English Skills.

Bogdan Pavliy

In this era of multimedia, it is now possible to incorporate video into the classroom. In his presentation, Mr. Pavliy demonstrated the problems of dwindling student motivation and learner anxiety. Following audience reflection and brainstorming Pavliy showed that these problems can be addressed by using materials that are both entertaining to students and stimulate students' imaginations. After explaining the theoretical basis of using video in class as an exercise in task-based language teaching while generating intrigue and improving motivation. Using examples from his teaching, Pavliy demonstrated ways of using videos (easily downloaded from Youtube) to grab students' attention and then have students engage in prediction tasks and reflect on the accuracy of their predictions. Everyone left the meeting with some great ideas on how to motivate students and tap students' creative potential using video materials.

Reported by Adam Jenkins

January 21, 2012

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