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 Osaka JALT Journal Vol. 5 has been released



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Teachers Helping Teachers : Laos and Japan - Creating Meaningful Cross-Cultural Discourses

Osaka Chapter

Date and Time: 
Saturday, 24 January 2015 - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Chris Ruddenklau (Kinki University)

The Lao People`s Democratic Republic, one of the worlds poorest countries in terms of GDP per capita, is rich in terms of natural resources and in the hearts and the culture of its people. Since 2010, Chris Ruddenklau has coordinated a program of short-term visits to Laos by English language teachers from Japan and other countries. By March 2015 over 100 teachers will have visited Laos. The program aims to create dialogues between Lao teachers and teachers from abroad so that they can work together within a framework of valuing each others’ strengths and so they can mutually reflect on each others teaching practice. The heart of this program rests in being able to establish meaningful cross-cultural discourses between the teachers. The program has created a great deal of interest both here in Japan and in Laos.

The first part of this workshop will examine general trends in Lao society and education before looking at the current Lao program. In the second half we will explore some of the actual difficulties both visiting teachers and Lao teachers have faced in order to create discourses which are meaningful and of value to both parties. The workshop will explore these difficulties by looking at a variety of interpersonal challenges that participants have had. What we may perceive as common sense thoughts and actions may not be common sense to others. Questions about how the program can effectively develop in the future will be asked and by addressing these, participants will be directly contributing to the development of this worthwhile and exciting program.

Chris Ruddenklau teaches at Kinki University and is a long-time member of Osaka JALT. He established the Lao program in 2010 through JALT's Teachers Helping Teachers (THT) SIG , and as the Lao Program Coordinator he has worked with various Lao universities and secondary schools to allow teachers from Japan to get involved with teacher training as well as working directly in classrooms. He is a Committee member of Lao TESOL, and is the Program Chair of the Pragmatics SIG of JALT.

This event is co-sponsored by Kansai Sietar.

Nishinomiya Daigaku Koryu Center (ACTA East Tower 6F, Seminar Room) , 2 min walk from NishinomiyaKitaguchi, Hankyu railway
Fee for JALT members: 
Free for JALT & Sietar members and students
Fee for one-day members: 
500 yen
Contact or Queries: 
Email contact form

Content-based second language instruction and the effects of instructional interventions

Date: December 16, 2014


Place: Kansai University, Senriyama Campus, Shobunkan 502


Speaker: Dr. Roy Lyster (McGill University)



Content-based approaches involve the teaching of non-linguistic curricular content such as geography or science to students through the medium of a language that they are learning as an additional language. Content-based approaches are known as effective and motivating ways to develop higher levels of communicative ability than more traditional grammar-based approaches. Whereas traditional methods focus on the mechanical workings of the languge itself, content-based instruction enriches classroom discourse in a way that provides both a cognitive basis for language learning and a motivational basis for purposeful communication. Content-based instruction, however, does not preclude language instruction and instead needs to promote its integration through a counterbalanced approach that encourages shifts in learners' attentional focus between language and content.

This talk will explore counterbalanced instruction as a dynamic interplay between form-oriented and meaning-oriented approaches to foreign language teaching. At one end of the spectrum -- in classrooms that are predominantly content-driven, counterbalanced instruction serves to shift students' attention toward language, because learners in contexts such as immersion are known to bypass much of the target language grammar as they process discourse through schematic and contextual rather than linguistic knowledge. At the other end of the spectrum -- in classrooms that are predominantly language-driven, counterbalanced instruction is designed to reorient learner's attention toward content in order to enhanve their communicative abilities while averting an overemphasis on form. This talk will draw on classroom-based research to illustrate the feasibility and effectiveness of counterbalanced instruction at both ends of the spectrum.



Roy Lyster is Professor of Second Language Education in the Department of Integrated Studies Education at McGill University in Canada. He has a PhD as well as a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from the University of Toronto and an MA from the Université de Paris VII. His research examines content-based second/foreign language instruction and the effects of instructional interventions designed to counterbalance form-focused and content-based approaches. He serves on the Advisory Committees of Studies in Second Language Acquisition and The Canadian Modern Language Review and on the Editorial Boards of The Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education and Language Teaching Research. He is author of Learning and Teaching Languages Through Content: A Counterbalanced Approach, published by Benjamins in 2007.


Oxford will be giving away free stuff Thu. Nov. 27th @ The Blarney Stone in Umeda 7 - 9 pm


Date: Thursday, November 27th

Time: 19:00~21:30

Venue: The Blarney Stone, Umeda


 You can find a map to the venue at the above link

 Come and check out Oxford University Press' new books to receive your free coupons.

Of course while you are there, you can enjoy good food and drink

as it is a lovely Irish pub!


If you have any questions,

please don’t hesitate to contact Oxford directly: or 03-5444-5454


JALT2014 Four Corners Tour in Kansai: The Teaching Power of Stories, by Bill Harley on Mon. Nov. 3, 6~9pm at YWCA Umeda


JALT2014 Four Corners Tour in Kansai: The Teaching Power of Stories


Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014 Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Speaker: Bill Harley, JALT2014 National Conference Plenary Speaker, Two-time Grammy-award winning musician, storyteller, and author

Co-sponsored in Kansai by Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka JALT Chapters.

The Teaching Power of Stories: A teacher is someone who gives stories to others so they can make their own. Regardless of the subject taught, story is central to how people make sense of the world and build a community with others. In this workshop, participants will look at how stories work in people's lives, what stories define their own lives, and how to use story in an educational setting. Teachers will leave with new ideas for using story in the classroom and a deeper understanding of their work as teachers.

Bill Harley is the JALT2014 International Conference Plenary Speaker. He is a two-time Grammy-award winning musician, storyteller, and author. Please see for more information.

Handouts (4 pages) for his presentation can be previewed & downloaded at:

And here's a poster promoting his various books & CDs, which you can buy online at and get his autograph after this gig, if you want:

Pre-registration recommended:
Seating is limited, so pre-registration is highly recommended. Reserve your spot by November 2nd via to receive a 500 yen reduction in the attendance fee.

Cost: JALT Members: 500 yen if pre-registered, 1000 yen if not
Non-members: 1000 yen if pre-registered, 1500 yen if not


Venue: Yamanishi Welfare Memorial Hall

(山西福祉記念会: Same bldg. as YWCA in Umeda)

11-12 Kamiyamachō, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, 530-0026, tel. 06-6315-1868

Link to venue:

Please help spread the word for this special Kansai JALT Four Corners Tour event: 

Click on the poster below to download via Dropbox, and print out & post up at your schools. (Thanks in advance!)


Jon Dujmovich -- Curiosity to Competency: Intercultural Activities for the Language Classroom

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, 2:00pm - 5:00pm at Osaka Municipal Lifelong Learning Center, Namba OCAT Bldg. 4F

Language educators often speak of using techniques, and activities appropriate for each stage of language learning. But when it comes to incorporating cultural learning in the language lessons, there is usually very little consideration given to the learners' developmental stage of intercultural learning. The consequences of ill-matched activities can lead to reaffirmed or deeper cultural misunderstandings, and little or no growth in intercultural competency. In this workshop the presenter will demonstrate and discuss how to incorporate culture-based activities into the ESL/EFL classroom according to the learners' intercultural developmental stage, age, language ability, and other factors. All activities and techniques demonstrated are grounded in intercultural communications theory and methodology coupled with ESL pedagogy. The presenter will provide opportunities to experiment with ideas and activities in a participatory workshop format while demonstrating how the activities can be adjusted for learning stage appropriateness. Participants will be able to incorporate the ideas and activities from this workshop into their classes, and immediately apply them to their lessons.

Jon Dujmovich is an Assistant Professor in the Contemporary International English Dept. at Aichi University, Toyohashi. In 2008 Jon was awarded a grant to design and implement an English language intercultural communications pilot course for third year Jr. H.S. students in Shizuoka prefecture with the aim to prepare them for "international classes" at H.S., increased intercultural contact, and study abroad. Prior to that Jon worked in the corporate world as an intercultural trainer and language instructor for Matsushita National/Panasonic Overseas Training Center and Excel International.

This event is co-sponsored by Kansai SIETAR.

Location: Namba Shimin Gakushu Center (Osaka City Municipal Lifelong Learning Center - Namba Branch), (O-CAT 4F, 06 6643-7010)
Free for JALT and SIETAR members and full-time students
One-day members: 500 yen