Saturday, January 8th, 2005
What's Lev Got to Do With It?
Vygotskyan Trends in Recent Pedagogy,
Professional Development and Language Acquisition.
Deryn Verity, Ph.D, Larry Metzger, and David Woodfield
Time: 6:30 PM - 8:45 PM (18:30 - 20:45)
The zone of proximal development, talk as a psychological tool,
internalization, private speech! What is all this? Over the last
decade more and more language teachers have been finding
inspiration in the ideas of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Find
This discussion/workshop is designed to introduce several
fundamental concepts of the neo-Vygotskyan paradigm. The three
speakers will structure some activities for you to participate in with
the object that you will be able to discover for yourself what
Vygotsky has to offer.
Place: Osaka City Municipal Lifelong Learning Center, on the fifth
floor of Umeda's Dai-2 Building, just southeast and across the street
from the Hilton Hotel. Tel: 06-6345-5000
Cost: members free; "One-day members" 1000 yen / 600 yen for
Report by Pam Wolpoff, recording secretary.
Our last event featuring an evening of Lev Vygotsky was a huge
success! The lecture, creatively titled, “What’s Lev Got To Do With
It?" was a collaborative project by Deryn Verity, David Woodfield,
and Lawrence Metzger.
The presentation refreshed our memories on who Vygotsky was
and how his theories can influence our practice. More specifically,
Vyogotsky’s concepts of the Zone of Proximal Development and
socio cultural interaction in the classroom were emphasized.
Deryn began the presentation with an overall look of Vygotsky and
his theories. She was able to give us a comprehensive review
(which was easily a full day’s worth of information) in an evening
session. Deryn’s style and manner of presentation is put in such a
way that everyone was able to glean a fresh piece of information.
She also provided for us a broad list of authors who have been
influenced by and written on the work of Vygotsky.
David continued the discussion and presented his project which
exemplifies the power of “chat". In his project, students were able to
“chat" with their teacher (David) or other students on-line. David
included transcriptions of their discussions and demonstrated the
amount of language students were able to acquire through these
natural discussions. The students were self-motivated to learn new
language. They asked questions in order to clarify meaning and
also to express themselves more clearly.
Lawrence, who has studied in the Soviet Union rounded out the
evening explaining how Vygotsky’s theory was influenced by the
culture and time in which he lived. This in turn led to his discussion
about his study in which students were working in interactive groups
to reflect upon cross cultural themes.
Deryn nicely began the evening by saying, “Although our teaching
may look the same, this (presentation) will change how we view our
classroom”…and it certainly did.
Many of us then finished our evening with dinner and drinks at
“Ninnikuya". The aroma of garlic hit us immediately as we entered
the restaurant. It was definitely a garlic lover’s dream. Everyone
enjoyed getting together and having the time to just, “Chat".
Saturday, February 5th, 6:30-8:45 p.m.
Obstacles to Improving English
Learning in Japan
by Robert Aspinall, D. Phil.
What are the obstacles facing efforts to improve English language
learning in Japanese schools and universities? This presentation
considers various explanations for the failure of the Japanese
education system to provide the country with a number of citizens
sufficiently skilled in the use of English, the global lingua franca, to
enable Japan to "punch its weight" in international forums.
In spite of a broad consensus on the need for Japan to improve its
English language education - especially with respect to
communicative skills - efforts to do so have been disappointing.
There are no significant political parties or interest groups that
oppose improving English language teaching, so what are the
reasons for failure?
This presentation examines the implementation phase of the policy
process and argues that there are serious problems with the normal
"environment of learning" that exists in Japanese secondary and
tertiary educational institutions. Customs, expectations and beliefs
that are suitable to achieving progress in subjects like science and
mathematics cause serious problems in the communicative foreign
language classroom. This factor, combined with the entrance exam
system, helps to explain why Japan has achieved enviable records
of achievement in subjects like mathematics and science but suffers
from serious problems with English language learning.
Finally the presentation will address various possible solutions to
some of the problems raised.
Robert Aspinall is a professor in the Department of Social Systems
at Shiga University. He taught in secondary schools in England and
Japan before earning a D. Phil. at Oxford University which was
supervised by JAA Stockwin and Roger Goodman. His book
Teachers Unions and the Politics of Education in Japan, based on
his D.Phil. thesis, was published by SUNY Press in 2001. He has
also published articles on nationalism and foreign language
teaching reform, and the university entrance system in Japan. He
lives in Nagoya and also teaches courses in Japanese politics at
Nagoya University and Nanzan University.
Meeting Location: Osaka City Municipal Lifelong Learning Center,
on the fifth floor of Umeda's Dai-2 Building, just southeast and
across the street from the Hilton Hotel. Tel: 06-6345-5000
Cost: Members: 500 yen / 300 for full-time student members
Non-members: 1500 yen / 1000 yen for full-time students
Saturday, April 9th, 2005
Hanami Social! at Osaka Castle Park
Speaker: Everyone is welcome to share ideas, mix and
mingle at this social event.
Time: 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Description: More details of exact location to be announced, but
the idea is to bring your own bento and refreshments and meet in
Osaka Castle Park somewhere nice under the cherry blossoms.
We'll have blue JALT banners up to help mark our
spot and you can call 080-3789-6394 to help find us
if necessary. Come anytime, and stay as long or as short as you
like. This should be a great opportunity to share ideas and simply
relax with like-minded language teachers and learners under the
beautiful cherry blossoms before the start of the new academic
Place: Osaka Castle Park, under the best cherry blossoms we can
Cost: members Free; "One-day members" Free.
Sunday, May 8th, 2005 From 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM
(In case of heavy rain, the meeting will be postponed until May 15th)
Outdoor Language Learning:
An Alternative Learning Environment
Speaker: Terry Fellner, lecturer,
Himeji Dokkyo University
Location: Meet in the wildflower garden
on the north side of the Sky Building,
a ten-minute walk west of Umeda Hankyu
station and Yodobashi Camera. From
Umeda, go west on Shibata 1 street
(just north of Yodobashi Camera) through
the long (350m) pedestrian tunnel, come
up the stairs, cross the street, and you'll be at the Sky Building.
On the north side of the building is the wildflower garden. Look for
our big blue tarp and blue JALT banner near the big orange
sculpture by TravelGallery, which is in the garden. If you have
trouble finding us, call 080-3789-6394, 090-5640-5011, or
As language teachers continue to search for optimal learning
environments, methodologies and techniques for their students, it
is surprising that the one learning environment that is accessible to
educators and students has been thus far largely ignored, that
known as the “out-of-doors” environment. This presentation
provides an argument for a new methodology called Outdoor
Language Learning (OLL) and will illustrate the positive effects
OLL can have on student motivation and attitudes. Additionally the
presenter will identify the similarities and strengths Outdoor
Language Learning shares with other language methodologies
such as experiential language learning, total physical response,
task-based learning and the traditional PPP approach and provide
an outline for an OLL program.
Cost: JALT members: Free
Non-JALT members: 500 yen
Following the meeting, join us for great views and a live Cuban
Salsa performance on the 40th floor of the Sky Building from 5:00
(admission 700 yen). After that we'll be going to one of the many
great restaurants in the modern but old-style basement level below
the building for dinner, drinks, and more discussion.
Sunday, May 22nd, 2005 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Storytelling and English Workshop
Beniko Mason, Rex Tanimoto, and The Multi-lingual
Materials Development Group
This event is co-sponsored by Osaka JALT, OFSET Teachers
Union, and others.
Dr. Beniko Mason, Associate Professor of Shitennoji International
Buddhist University, is an expert in Extensive Reading and The
Natural Approach language method. She'll discuss the use of
storytelling and extensive reading in her language program. For
her research articles refer to www.benikomason.net .
Rex Tanimoto, Associate Professor at Osaka Gakuin University,
specializes in digital storytelling production. He enjoys writing,
narrating, and recording stories and designing language skills
activities for them. He is the author of 'The Storyteller', 'Uncle Rex’s
Storytelling Time', and 'Digi Tales I'.
The Multi-lingual Materials Development Group is led by Steven
Thompson and has been developing language learning materials
in English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish
and Portuguese. Space for this event is limited to 50. Please
preregister by contacting Steven Thompson at 072-885-3856,
090-1226-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more details about this event, please click here.
The meeting is at YMCA International School, JR/Chuo Bentencho
station, ORC 200 bldg 8F, tel: 06-4395-1002 (www.oyis.
Cost for non-JALT members: 2000 yen; JALT members: 1000 yen
Sunday, June 26th, 1:00 to 5:30 pm
(first workshop starts at about 1:30)
Place: Building 1 of Hannan University's main campus, a 10-
minute walk north of Kawachi Imami station, on the Kintetsu line
from Tennoji. Look for the JALT banners when you get to the
campus. For assistance on the 26th call 080-3789-6394.
Presenters: Gordon Wilson (Hannan Univ.), Steve Silsbee
(Hannan & Momoyama Universities), Cameron Romney
(Momoyama Univ.), & Marlen Harrison (Momoyama & Doshisha
The presenters will share their experiences and ideas for putting
technology to effective use in and out of the classroom. This will
be a hands-on afternoon with topics including using lesser known
features of Microsoft Word to help improve the look of handouts
used in class, using Pal-Talk and Skype to get students enjoying
speaking with each other in English, using Movie-Maker software,
creating free online surveys, and more. Be prepared for some
seriously fun hands-on computer time in Hannan Universities bran
new facility! Feel free to bring a favorite language learning or
teaching website or bit of technical knowledge to share.
Dinner will follow at a nearby restaurant.
Cost: JALT members 500 yen; non-members 1500. (Osaka local
membership dues are just 2000 yen per year for those that don’t
feel like joining JALT as a national member but would like to enjoy
members’ discounts on all Osaka JALT events.)
JALT's Osaka Chapter and
Learner Development SIG
present the 2nd Annual . . .
Work in Progress
A Day Celebrating Learner Development
Sunday, July 17th, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, at the Osaka City
Municipal Lifelong Learning Center, located on the fifth floor of
Umeda's Dai-2 Building, just southeast and across the street from
the Hilton Hotel.
Dinner will follow at a nearby restaurant.
Co-sponsored by JALT's Osaka Chapter and Learner
Development SIG, the morning program will feature poster
sessions by teacher-learners contributing to the LD SIG's
forthcoming anthology of papers entitled "AYA2" (Autonomy You
Ask Volume 2), focusing on issues in learner and teacher
autonomy. The afternoon will offer a chance to preview several
presentations planned for the LD forum at JALT's national
conference in October. These afternoon presentations will focus
on the theme of "Expressing Ourselves". The one-day
mini-conference will provide a variety of learning formats, and
those attending will be encouraged to share, discuss, and explore
their experiences as learners and participants.
Presenters include Stacy Vye, Yoko Wakui, Marlen Harrison,
Matthew Apple, Amanda Bradley, Etsuko Shimo, Brian Caspino,
Bob Sanderson, Denise Haugh, Terry Fellner and more!
At last year's event, many commented that the lunch-time
socializing over bentos was a very relaxing and welcome chance to
continue our discussions and get to know each other better, so
we're encouraging all participants this year to bring a lunch and
stay with us over the lunch break. Of course there are also a
number of restaurants in the area as well for those that would
prefer to go out for lunch.
1000 yen for JALT members (600 for student members)
2000 for non-members (1000 for student non-members)
700 yen for JALT members (400 for student members)
1400 yen for non-members (800 for student non-members)
Wednesday, September 7th, 2005 from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
at Hannan University
Teaching Grammar Communicatively
Speaker: David Nunan
------Cancelled due to typhoon.------
With the development of communicative approaches to language
teaching, some language specialists have called into question the
place of grammar in the curriculum. For some it plays a minor role,
and for others it has no place at all. In this presentation, Dr. Nunan
will argue that grammar is of fundamental importance in the
communicative classroom. However, the approach to teaching
grammar in the classroom needs to reflect principles of
communicative language teaching. During the presentation,
participants will be introduced to classroom techniques to do just
Thomson Publishing is sponsoring Dr. Nunan on his trip to Japan,
and they will be providing light refreshments after the presentation.
Doors open at 12:00 noon, presentation starts at 1:00. For an
access map to Hannan University please see
The meeting is at Building 6 room 642 at Hannan University's main
campus, a 10-minute walk north of Kawachi Imami station, on the
Kintetsu line from Tennoji..
Cost for non-JALT members: Free; for JALT members: Free
JALT National Conference
Shizuoka (Oct. 7th-10th).
Read all about it at: http://conferences.jalt.org/2005/
October 22nd, 2005 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
4th Annual Storytelling Festival and Symposium
Curtis Kelly, Beniko Mason,
Brian Caspino, Rex
Tanimoto, and many more
(including many students)
The 4th annual Storytelling
Festival and Symposium is
presented by Osaka Gakuin
University in cooperation with
the Osaka Prefecture Board of
Education and the Osaka &
Kyoto chapters of JALT, and
includes numerous teacher
and student storytellers from
Osaka prefecture and abroad.
Original stories composed
using presentation software
such as PowerPoint as well as traditional storytelling will be featured
in abundance. Storytellers include several guests from Saipan in
addition to numerous senior high school, junior college and
university students, as well as elementary, junior high and senior
high school teachers in Osaka Prefecture. Awards will be given for
outstanding entries in the categories of Adventure, Comedy, and
The meeting is at Osaka Gakuin University, at JR Kishibe station or
Hankyu Shojaku stn.
Details and map at http://www.osaka-gu.ac.jp/english/.
Cost for non-JALT members: Free!; for JALT members: Free!
Sponsored in part by Osaka JALT:
November 11-13, 2005 (Friday-Sunday)
Location: Kyoto Sangyo University
Peace as a Global Language Conference 2005
For details: http://homepage.mac.com/p_g_l/2005.htm
Saturday, December 17th, 2005 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Osaka Chapter Bonenkai
at Universal City's
'Chicago for Ribs'
Come enjoy the festive holiday
atmosphere of Universal City and
join us for great barbecued ribs,
chicken, seafood, cornbread, and
microbrews and to reflect on and
celebrate the year gone by at
'Chicago for Ribs' restaurant
Family and friends are more than welcome. If it's anything like last
year's bonenkai you won't want to miss it!! Please let us know if you
plan to attend by emailing us at email@example.com so that we can
be sure to reserve enough seats.
The meeting is at Chicago for Ribs restaurant, 5th floor Universal
City Walk, www.cfr-jpn.com , 06-4804-5959.
Cost for non-JALT members: Dinners start at about 1400 yen,
beers are about 600, soft drinks 300, great corn bread 200, etc.;
for JALT members: same