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Back to School 2016, Sat. April 23 at Osaka Jogakuin University


Back to School is our annual spring mini-conference which aims to share ideas on a wide range of topics to help everyone start the new school year on a positive note.

This year's event will be held at Osaka Jogakuin University, right near Tamatsukuri station on the subway and JR Loop line.

Osaka JALT is co-sponsoring the event with JALT's Materials Writers SIG and Osaka Jogakuin University's Research Institute of International Collaboration and Coexistence (RIICC). To see photos and get a sense of past Back to School events, please visit .

Check out the Schedule, and RSVP to pre-register or if you'd like to join us for the dinner party afterwards at Magatama Cafe and Bar.

Osaka Jogakuin will have iPads to try, the General Union will have a display, and Stuart MacLean will be conducting vocabulary research with participants who are native speakers of English. We also look forward to these presentations:

Mehrasa Alizadeh with Parisa Mehran

Mehrasa Alizadeh is a PhD student at Osaka University. Her main research interests concern computer assisted language learning (CALL) and online course development/quality assessment.

Parisa Mehran is a PhD student at Osaka University. Her doctoral dissertation will concern the design and implementation of an online course for teaching academic English to Japanese students at Osaka University.

Everybody is a Native Speaker, Nobody is a Native Writer!

Reflecting upon our experiences of learning academic writing, we will introduce some useful resources which can help both native speakers and learners of English develop an academic tone and style indispensable to scholarly writing. The resources to be reviewed in this presentation include non-digital and digital materials such as phrasebanks and corpora.

Keywords: Academic writing; Phrasebank; Corpus

Tech level: Any

John Campbell-Larsen

John Campbell-Larsen is Associate Professor of English at Kyoto Women's University

Concept checking: Why and how to do it

Explaining the meanings of vocabulary and grammar to students can be a difficult task for teachers, and explanations can often confuse students either by obscurity, circularity or mistranslation. This presentation shows how to avoid these pitfalls and convey meanings accurately and concisely to students by asking concept checking questions.

Keywords: Vocabulary, pedagogy

Tech level: Any

G. Clint Denison

New to the university scene this year, Clint is currently lecturing part-time at several universities in Kansai. His research interests include fluency, writing, vocabulary, and ER.

Developing Learners' L2 Writing Fluency

Many learners struggle to develop fluency in their L2 writing, putting them at a disadvantage when the necessity to write under time pressure arises (e.g., on tests). Thankfully, it is possible to develop learners’ L2 writing fluency by using speed-writing activities and principled topics. In this presentation, I discuss how to implement a speed-writing program and suitable materials.

Keywords: writing; fluency

Tech level: Any

Lucas Dickerson and Mary Hillis

Lucas Dickerson is an Assistant Professor at Kansai Gaidai University. In addition to an MA TESOL, he holds an MFA in Two-Dimensional Art and has taught university level Design courses.

Mary Hillis is an Associate Lecturer in the English Language Program, School of Policy Studies at Kwansei Gakuin University. Her professional interests include academic writing and writing centers.

Thinking Like a Designer: Concepts for Classroom Materials Creation

This presentation will guide participants through the design process for classroom handouts. By first analyzing the purpose and necessary elements for the materials, teachers can develop ideas from an informed starting point. Topics will include effectively using text, images and fonts to create templates for common handout types. Through applying design concepts, user-friendly and ecological materials can be created.

Keywords: Materials Creation, Design

Tech level: Any

Luke Draper

Luke Draper is from Portsmouth, UK, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Ehime University and Program Chair of Matsuyama JALT. His research interests include L2 creative writing and critical thinking.

‘Survival’ – Applying lateral thinking activities to the English classroom

Lateral thinking and team-building exercises can engage any English learner while allowing them to apply a range of cognitive, communicative and social skills to an English-medium activity. This presentation will demonstrate an effective activity adapted from a Western business team-building activity focused on ‘survival’ that works regardless of level or maturity level.

Keywords: lateral thinking, team-building, discussion

Tech level: Novice

Akemi Fu

Akemi Fu is an Associate Professor in Osaka Jogakuin College/University

Cultural Understanding through a University Student Textbook Analysis Project

This presentation discusses on-going research of a university class project analyzing the display of culture in MEXT approved English textbooks. Following Tomalin and Stempleski’s (1993) model, the class focuses on determining the portrayal of culture. The presenter will discuss how this leads to consideration of MEXT goals for “education for international understanding” and its application to other educational contexts.

Keywords: textbook analysis, culture, MEXT goal for education for international understanding

Tech level: Any

Mariko Hirano

Mariko Hirano is a Lecturer at Osaka Jogakuin University / Osaka Jogakuin College

How to Use iPads in Reading Class at OJU/OJC

The first-year-students take Integrated Reading at OJU/OJC. This course is designed to enhance the basic English skill through the study of the following specific topics: Peace, Values and Ethics in Society, Human Rights, and Sustainable Futures. Using iPad, they read, listen, discuss, and write essays. In this presentation, I'll show how to use iPad in OJU/OJC reading class.

Tech level: Any

Michael Hollenback

Michael Hollenback earned his MA TESOL/Applied Linguistics from the University of Leicester and is currently an EFL Instructor at Konan University.

Critically Evaluating Cultural Content in EFL Materials

This presentation looks to explore different ways that culture has been traditionally utilized in EFL materials and research, and present a new way in which to investigate and evaluate cultural content. Through this process, a more nuanced approach to how culture is approached in the EFL classroom can start to take shape.

Tech level: Any

Michael Iwane-Salovaara

Michael Iwane-Salovaara teaches at Momoyama Gakuin University. His interests include language acquisition, spoken discourse, poetry, process philosophy, and Wigan F.C.

Using questions to improve complexity, accuracy, and fluency in language learners

This presentation shows how to use questions as a method to improve low to intermediate level learners’ English language complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF). Learners write original answers to proscribed questions and then use those questions and answers as a basis of conversation with a partner. A series of written and spoken tests are used to evaluate CAF.

Keywords: complexity, accuracy, fluency

Tech level: Any

Xin Li

Xin Li is a PhD student at Osaka Univerisity, Graduate School of Language and Culture.

The Perception of Special Moras by Non Native Japanese Speakers

This study is about the perception of special moras by Japanese learners of three different levels.The purpose of the study is to find out the most difficult position and accent for perception of the three kinds of special moras, and how the three level learners perform. The result is as below.The most difficult position and accent for perception of /R/-words was last syllable and LL pitch. The results of N1-level learners were mostly better than N2 and N3-level learners .Perceptually the first syllable of /Q/-words was easier than the middle one . And the flat pitch was more difficult for N3 perceptually than the other learners. Learners were able to acquire /Q/-words perceptually started from N2. And the most difficult position and accent for perception of /N/-words was middle syllable and LL pitch. Learners were able to aquire /N/-words perceptually started from N3.

Keywords: moras, position, accent,

Tech level: Any

Paul Lyddon

Paul Lyddon is Professor of English at Osaka Jogakuin College. His research focuses on computer-assisted language learning and language learner autonomy.

Progressive Implementation of Tablet Computers in English Language Teaching and Learning

This session will apply Puentedura’s Substitution-Augmentation-Modification-Redefinition (SAMR) Model of the progressive instructional impact of computer technology to the use of tablet computers in English language learning and present practical examples of each level. Participants will then have the opportunity to discuss suitable tablet implementation in their own contexts in terms of individual teaching philosophies, technological proficiency levels, and institutional constraints.

Keywords: tablet computers, learning activities, teaching philosophy

Tech level: Any

Paul Mathieson

Paul Mathieson has been teaching English at various levels in Japan for ten years, and currently teaches at Nara Medical University.

Foreign language anxiety in informal learning contexts

Informal language learning contexts, including community English classes, ESS clubs, and so on, are a significant (though seldom studied) part of Japan's EFL learning landscape. Using the findings of a study on how foreign language anxiety affects a community EFL class, this presentation looks at ways in which learner anxiety in a variety of informal learning contexts can be addressed.

Keywords: foreign langauge anxiety, informal learning

Tech level: Any

Audrey Moreno

Audrey Moreno has taught for 12 years in the USA, France, China, and Spain specializing in English for Science and Technology. She is currently an instructor at Kwansei Gakuin University.

Time to Get Out of Default Mode: Tips for Innovative Slide Presentations

As this school year begins, it’s time to get out of default mode and try something new. So why not start with changing up those presentations? This presentation will demonstrate cutting-edge slide presentation styles including the Pecha Kucha, TED-style, and Evidence-Assertion Method to help generate engaging classroom activities and help both you and your students become more effective public speakers.

Keywords: technology, presentations,

Tech level: Novice

Megumi Ohsumi

Megumi Ohsumi received her PhD from the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. She is currently a lecturer at Kansai Gaidai University and also teaches at Kinki University and Kobe University.

Composition Pedagogy in Japanese Schools: Argumentation vs. Description

This presentation explores English essays by Japanese university students in relation to their backgrounds in composition instruction. It examines specific writing assignments at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels and demonstrates how, as opposed to the argumentative style preferred in western cultures, training places focus on expression of opinion through detailed description of one’s experiences and impressions.

Tech level: Any

Cameron Romney

Cameron Romney has taught EFL/ESL for the last 19 years. He holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and he is employed as an assistant professor at Doshisha University in Kyoto.

Get your students to use of their smartphones with QR codes

A QR code is a great way to add data to a student’s smartphone. In this presentation the presenter will demonstrate various ways to use QR codes for things like watching videos, taking quizzes, looking-up words in a dictionary, finding out more information on Wikipedia, and classroom activities such as information gap speaking activities and to check answers for homework.

Keywords: QR Code, smartphone

Tech level: Any, Novice

David Stepanczuk

David Stepanczuk has been working in EFL here for 25 years working at three universities. He has masters degrees in education technology and in fine art. His professional interests include pedagogy, materials writing, assessment, and classroom management.

The usefulness of doing a recurring daily conversation

The beneficial effects of practicing a recurring daily conversation include the impact on language fluency and automaticity, the opportunity for teachers to observe student progress and give feedback, and the exercise's potential for lowering the affective filter. With the added practice of enhancement and using current events in the students' lives, motivation, social skills and self confidence are primed.

Keywords: Fluency, Automaticity, Language repair, Feedback, Social skills, Self confidence, Motivation

Tech level: Any

Polly Tang

Polly Tang is currently an English lecturer at Kwansei Gakuin University. Her academic interests include conversation analysis, discourse communities and use of figurative language.

Summer Program Management

This presentation is a three-year record into the development of an intensive 7-day English summer program at a Japanese university. To create a welcoming environment for students, factors such as program goals, logistics and care for staff will be discussed. This focus is ideal for current or potential coordinators and teachers looking for suggestions on setting up activities.

Keywords: trouble shooting, activities, camp

Tech level: Any

Tanporn Trakantalerngsak

Tanporn Trakantalerngsak is a PhD student at the Graduate School of Language and Culture, Osaka University.

The effect of perceptual training on the perception of Japanese fricative and affricate contrasts by native-Thai-speaking learners of Japanese

This study investigated the effects of perceptual training to see whether it can improve the perceptual accuracy of Thai learners of Japanese concerning their perception of Japanese fricatives and affricates by exposing them to various sounds produced by several Japanese speakers to provide a natural phonetic variability. While the approach of this perceptual training was based on previous research, it differed from earlier work in that this study also investigated whether introducing a self-monitoring task aiming to raise awareness in learning would yield more improvements in the target sounds.

Keywords: Perceptual training, Japanese fricatives, Japanese affricates

Tech level: Any

Stuart Warrington

Stuart Warrington is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Communication at Nagoya University of Commerce & Business. He holds an Ed.D. in TESOL from the University of Exeter.

Making Sense of Professionalism for the Professional ELT Self

Professionalism is a fuzzy, fluid term that is very much contextually defined. Hence, an English language teacher can experience difficulty making sense of one’s professional self. With this in mind, this presentation posits three proposed types of professionalism - demanded, prescribed and enacted (Evans, 2008) - as ways of understanding professionalism and in turn, one’s professional ELT self.

Keywords: professionalism, professional self

Tech level: Any

Brian Wojtowicz

Brian has been teaching English in Japan for over 14 years. He currently teaches at Kwansei Gakuin University's Language Center in Hyogo, Japan.

Using Oral Book Reports to Improve Spoken Output and Communicative Competence

This presentation shows how to use Extensive Reading as a basis for speaking activities focusing primarily on developing spoken output performance, communicative competence, and speaking confidence. The presenter explains how oral book reports, in conjunction with individual feedback reports, were successfully used to encourage progressive reading techniques and continuous spoken output improvements during four augmented oral book report assignments.

Keywords: Extensive Reading Speaking

Tech level: Any



Glimpses of Unfamiliar Iran: History, Education, Language, and More

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 2:00 - 5:00pm

Presenters: Parisa Mehran and Mehrasa Alizadeh

This event is co-sponsored by Kansai SIETAR, and aims to shed light on several facets of Iran in a similar way that Lafcadio Hearn's classic Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, first published in 1894, did for Japan to Westerners. Our time will be divided as follows:

A Brief History of Iran: Language, Culture, and Education
This talk will give a brief overview of the history of Iran (also known as Persia), including various aspects of Iranian culture such as the Persian language and literature, cuisine, and religions. In addition, the history of foreign language education in Iran will be discussed within its greater educational context.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) in Iran: Challenges and Solutions
TEFL programs in Iran have been offered for over two decades. However, the quality of these programs has rarely been addressed. Considering PhD programs, service quality is of enormous significance since candidates get prepared for their future careers as prospective faculty members. Based on the findings of a recent study (Mehran & Alizadeh, 2015), there exists a set of challenges which can be categorized as the following: educational (e.g., inaccessibility to scientific databases, inadequate facilities, unprofessionalism, excessive workload), bureaucratic (e.g., entropy, red tape), economic (e.g., insufficient funding), and socio-cultural (e.g., irreverence, authoritarianism, power abuse, favoritism, unethical conducts). In this presentation, the obstacles standing in the way of Iranian academics will be discussed, and some solutions will be suggested.

Let’s Learn Persian: Remembering what it feels like to be a foreign language learner
The presenters will explain the history and writing system of the Persian language along with an overview of Persian calligraphy. Participants will learn some survival phrases and how to write their names. This section will end with a hands-on activity to further expose the audience to the language.

Presentations will be followed by a Persian dinner party at Hafez, an Iranian restaurant located near Yotsubashi Station. Please email us at to reserve your place at the party.

Mehrasa Alizadeh is a research student at Takemura Lab, Informedia Education Division, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University. Born in Babol, a city in the north of Iran, Mehrasa moved to Tehran to pursue higher education. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) from Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran. She taught English at Iran Language Institute (ILI) for eight years. In 2013, she was offered the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship and moved to Japan the following year. Her main research interests concern computer assisted language learning (CALL) and online course development/quality assessment. Her future research will be focused on developing online Academic English courseware targeting Japanese learners at Osaka University.


Parisa Mehran is a research student at Takemura Lab, Informedia Education Division, Cybermedia Center, Osaka University. Born and raised in Tehran, Parisa holds a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), both from Alzahra University, Tehran. Before moving to Japan, she taught English for academic purposes (EAP) at Alzahra University. In 2014, she obtained the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship and is now pursuing further education in Japan. Parisa’s research interests include computer assisted language learning (CALL), teacher education in CALL, and online course design. Her doctoral dissertation will concern the design and implementation of an online course for teaching academic English to Japanese students at Osaka University.

Fee for JALT and SIETAR members: Free
Fee for one-day members: 1,000 yen (500 yen for students)
Contact or Queries: Email contact form

The Global Hospitality Business: Are University Hotel Management Programs in Japan Just the Latest Trend?

Date and Time: Saturday, 23 January 2016 - 2:00pm - 5:00pm
Satomi Nishihara (Osaka Gakuin University)
Nozomi Iwakiri (Osaka Gakuin University)

With the Olympics on the horizon, the challenge of providing hospitality to visitors is gaining in importance. Hospitality, however, is not simply putting on a welcoming attitude. What many people do not know is that hospitality is a serious and respected field of study with a long history in Europe. European universities and colleges specialize in this multi-faceted area. Hospitality studies include business, language studies, communications, technology, finance, tourism, leadership development, sustainable development, history, nutrition, sports, and cooking. While some Japanese universities have recently moved to offering hospitality studies, the breadth and depth are clearly insufficient. This presentation will explain the basis of the hospitality business, the lessons that the European model offers, and the practicalities of how students can pursue a career in this important business. The presenters will provide their firsthand experience in this field, both as students in Europe and later as professionals in several countries, but specifically in the United Arab Emirates.

Satomi Nishihara is a Lecturer of Hospitality Management in the Business Administration Department of Osaka Gakuin University. She is currently working on research which links sustainable tourism with hospitality. Nishihara credits her current interest to her high school studies in College Alpin International Beau Soleil in Switzerland, an international boarding school. She attended Middlesex University in London, and École Hotelier de Glion (Glion University). After graduation she gained experience in both small family-owned hotels as well as 5-star international hotels in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Before returning to Japan a few years ago, she was Sales Manager at the Grand Hyatt Dubai holding responsibility for the local Japanese market and for East Asian corporate accounts connected to the leisure business.

Nozomi Iwakiri is the Executive Assistant for the Language Education Institute of Osaka Gakuin University. She graduated from Institut Hôtelier César Ritz in Switzerland and trained at Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, a high-end Swiss hotel. Her professional experience includes work in international hotels in the United States and the Middle East. She was part of the VIP team at the Grand Hyatt Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and a member of the cabin crew of Etihad Airways, the national airline of UAE.

There will be a dinner party after the session at a restaurant. Reservations required by Wednesday, Jan. 20, by contacting .

This event is co-sponsored by Osaka JALT and SIETAR Kansai.

Takatsuki Shiritsu Shogai Gakushu Center, 3rd floor, Room 1 (10 minutes walk from JR Takatsuki station or Hankyu Takatsukishi station)
Fee for JALT members: 
Free for JALT and SIETAR members and students
Fee for one-day members: 
500 yen
Contact or Queries: Email contact form

Osaka JALT Autumn Leaf-viewing in Minoh

On November 29th, Osaka JALT members and friends went into the mountains of Minoh to see the colorful autumn foliage. For those of you that were able to come, we thank you and hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For those that could not, we hope to see you at another upcoming event soon!


Inspire Or Perspire? Getting Students Speaking, followed by end of year "Boon"enkai

Date and Time:                     Saturday, 12 December 2015 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm 
Speaker:                               Andy Boon

This presentation will introduce the audience to a number of strategies that can help break the silence in the Japanese classroom and get students engaging in meaningful communication. Audience members will be asked to try out a number of tried and tested speaking activities and also be encouraged to share their ideas for getting students talking to one another in the L2. Inspire is a listening and speaking course with additional content reading designed to create a richer speaking experience. The spectacular National Geographic photos and video provide enduring images that inspire learners to discover the world in all its brilliance.

Andy Boon is an associate professor in the faculty of humanities at Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo. He has been teaching in Japan for over 17 years. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Aston University. He has been an active member of JALT since 2004, has presented at numerous conferences, and has published several articles on teacher development, motivation, and methodology. He is also co-author of Inspire; a 3-level listening and speaking coursebook (Cengage Learning, 2013-14).

This event is co-sponsored by Cengage, Nara JALT and Osaka JALT and will be followed by an end of year "Boon"enkai party at a nearby restaurant, with live guitar by Andy Boon himself and a singalong that is not to be missed. Start time approx 6.30 pm. Full details to follow closer to the date. 3500 yen for JALT members, 4000 yen for non-members. Email us at to reserve your seat.

Update Dec. 10: the "Boon"enkai dinner party is fully booked with a short waiting list of folks that may head to another nearby restaurant if necessary, so do come to the event and expect to join us at one of the parties happening afterwards!

Location:                               Ikoma City, Takemaru Hall, Room 6
Fee for JALT members:          Free
Fee for one-day members:    1,000 yen
Contact or Queries:               Email contact form