Meeting Reports

Reports of our meetings. Click on a month to see details.

  • Reports for meetings prior to July 2008 can be found in the meeting archives.
  • If you are looking for details of upcoming meetings, these are available on our schedule page.
  • Click on an event title to see the original meeting announcement for that event.
14 November, 2015
Various Presenters

The chapter held its annual pecha-kucha night, which featured six presenters discussing a variety of topics related to language teaching and learning.

Andrew Quentin, 16 Communicative Classroom Activities Using the 4 Strands. Andrew discussed how to address four key areas to language instruction: meaning focused input, meaning focused output, language focused learning, and fluency development. He offered a wide array of practical lesson ideas for implementing these strands in a variety of classroom settings.

Jason McDonald, Presenting Like a Boss - Hints and Tips for Great Presentations. Jason discussed several ways to improve presentations at both a formatting and organizational level. He alluded to several famous presenters and the techniques they use such as making use of props, keeping slides simple, and making sure there is a minimal amount of visible text on each slide.

Zack Robertson, We Teachers Are Weirder Than We Think. Zack talked about how language teachers bring with them certain ideas about self-esteem and achievement that we consider universal but are actually culturally informed. He went on to discuss a study held in both Canada and Japan which suggests that Japanese and Canadian students hold fundamentally different conceptions of the idea of self-esteem, which resulted in drastic differences in motivation to achieve in an experimental setting.

Markus Yong, Game Theory in English Teaching. Markus discussed the theoretical components of what constitutes a game, important aspects being voluntary, enjoyable, challenging, and containing rules or structure. He offered ideas for incorporating elements of game design into normal classroom instruction to make the activities more enjoyable for students such as integrating a story or randomization.

Stephen Case, 20 Books 20 Thoughts. For his presentation, Stephen introduced twenty books that he felt offered benefit to English teachers, both directly and indirectly. The books covered a wide variety of topics and genres, some directly related to language teaching while others were more focused on personal discovery and development.

Charles Ashley, Challenges of Teaching Pronunciation in Japan. Charles discussed some of the unique challenges facing Japanese learners in developing pronunciation skills in the English language. He pointed to several linguistic and neurological reasons for why Japanese learners often struggle with certain English sounds, and offered practical approaches to dealing with the topic in the classroom. He went on to suggest that overemphasis on pronunciation is not the best pragmatic use of time in the classroom and that we as teachers should instead remain focused on communicating as the primary focus of classroom instruction.

Reported By Zack Robertson
10 October, 2015
Stephen Case

Stephen discussed how games, both digital and traditional card games, can be utilized to develop and facilitate classroom tasks and activities that both engage students and encourage cooperative language development. Stephen suggested that teachers should keep an open mind about how simple sandbox smartphone games can serve as mini-tasks for the language classroom. He also demonstrated the practical pedagogical benefits of party-themed card games. Stephen ended the presentation by having the audience play through a card game and discuss how that kind of game could be incorporated into their own teaching situation.

Reported By Zack Robertson
12 September, 2015
Rick Eller; Zack Robertson

For the first part of the presentation, Rick discussed how Rory’s Story cubes can be utilized to generate a variety of assessment protocols that can be used in a variety of educational contexts. Rick argued that traditional assessment does not always capture certain aspects of language performance such as creativity, emotional involvement, and co-construction and that the cubes offer a method for operationalizing these areas of assessment.
In the second half, Zack discussed Semantic Clustering Interference (SCI), a psychological phenomenon where vocabulary items from the same semantic category (fruits, sports, etc.) interfere with one another when first encountered by a learner. Zack began by first discussing the nature of SCI and previous research on the topic before discussing the results of a study he conducted at three elementary schools. His results concurred with other studies and implied that presenting new words together in semantic categories may hinder initial retention for beginner level language learners.

Reported By Zack Robertson
13 June, 2015
Michael Phillips

Michael began by first introducing the concept of an “innovation” as a response of a particular social community to a perceived need for change and then describing the various stages in which an innovation passes through when diffusing throughout society. He then provided several examples of several modern innovations and discussed the various types of actors that affect the rate and extent of diffusion for a particular innovation. In the second half of the presentation, the audience was asked to apply this framework to innovations in language teaching and how they identified themselves in relation to adopting those particular innovations.

Reported By Zack Robertson
9 May, 2015
Adam Stone

Adam introduced a card game that can be used to both introduce new vocabulary and strengthen the lexical recognition of already learned vocabulary. For the first part of the presentation, the audience was taught the rules of the game and were allowed to play the game using made-up words. Adam then introduced a simple computer program he has developed that can be used to quickly generate game cards from any set of L1/L2 vocabulary pairs. For the final part of the presentation, the audience tested themselves on their acquisition of the target vocabulary and added input regarding the deployment of the game and its practical uses in the language classroom.

Reported By Zack Robertson
11 April, 2015
Michael Berg

Michael began his discussion by reviewing several ways men and women have been suggested to differ physically, psychologically, and cognitively in addition to touching on the extent to which these differences are a result of biological hardwiring, social programming, or a combination of these two factors. He then turned discussion to the various gender issues that can arise in modern day language classrooms and how teachers may better adapt their pedagogical practices to meet the various strengths and weaknesses of both sexes.

Reported By Zack Robertson
14 March, 2015
Joseph John Simpson

Joseph discussed different models of assessment in the language classroom, comparing the traditional a priori assessment models that measure student performance in an isolated and decontextualized manner to an interactive model that allows the teacher to scaffold the student during the assessment session to grasp the upper limits of student capability. Simpson began by covering the different theoretical underpinnings for dynamic assessment and followed by presenting two actual assessment sessions, one traditional and the other dynamic in order to highlight the difference in student performance.

Reported By Zack Robertson
14 February, 2015
Bill Pellowe; J. Lake

Kitakyushu hosted two presenters this month: Creative Variations for Textbook Conversations, by Bill Pellowe and Assessing Gains in Extensive Reading by J. Lake. In the first presentation, Bill talked about various methods for adapting English conversation textbooks to various classroom settings, offering several unique approaches for engaging students such as having students use smartphones for recording and assessing dialogue performance. In the second half, J. Lake presented recent research findings supporting the incorporation of reading for speed as a means for improving learner reading fluency, motivation, test scores, and streamlining various cognitive and neurological processes that strengthen overall language competency.

Reported By Zack Robertson
10 January, 2015
Markus Yong

Markus talked about game theory, what constitutes a game from a theoretical standpoint, and how it can be applied to a classroom setting. He began by introducing the online role-playing Classcraft, a free online application designed specifically for a classroom setting, and explained the rules by having the audience participate in the actual game itself. He then went into detail on how he has implemented this game in some of his university classes, listed some of the advantages and drawbacks to the game, and provided suggestions for how to adapt the game specifically for Japanese learners.
(reported in honor of Dave Pite)

Reported By Zack Robertson
8 November, 2014
Various presenters

In “The Japanese Languages”, Michael Phillips went over the genetics of language/linguistics and the relationship of the Japonic language family, briefly going into the different language groups across the world and the debate of which groups are related or not, as well as touching on diglossia and how it applies to the topic.

Roderick van Huis told us about "Pronunciation Prediction for the Classroom", offering suggestions on how we can do spot treatment pronunciation in class with no preparation on things that suddenly pop up.

In Marcus Yong's "Game Design and Motivation" presentation, Marcus explained what makes games so addictive and how we can use those elements in our classroom. To further his point, he demonstrated how the free online game "CLASS CRAFT " can be used in classes.

In Stephen Case’s presentation, "20 Websites for 20 Lessons", he went over some websites that were intended for education use and others not specifically intended for education use and how they could be applied to classrooms in unique ways.

Reported By Jamar Miller