Discussion and Debate for Secondary School Education

Speakers:   1. Angela Wren (I WILL English School) & Rachel Stuart (Nara Prefectural                                                             Horyuji Kokusai High School)

  1. Kazuhiro Iguchi (Kansai Soka High School)
  2. M. Ohdai

Date:       Sunday June 17, 2018 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Venue:      Yamato Conference Hall (やまと会議室)

Fee:        Free for JALT Members; 1,000 yen for non-JALT Members

Debate and discussion activities are said to be effective activities that allow students to practice English speaking skills. Debate and discussion activities are also considered to be an important part of English classes in Japanese secondary schools; this is especially since MEXT has been placing emphasis on both activities in order to encourage students to increase their language output. However, practicing these communicative activities can be challenging for teachers for various reasons, such as a large class size, time constraints, lack of student motivation, and pressure to prepare for high school / university entrance exams.

During this event, four language educators from different teaching backgrounds will be sharing about their teaching practice in debate and discussion activities. These speakers will talk about both the benefits and challenges of putting into practice debate and discussion activities in their own teaching context in junior and senior high schools.

Presentation1: Debate for Beginners

We all know debate and self-expression are important skills for fluent English speaking, but these skills aren’t always easy to teach in a typical Japanese EFL class, and especially to younger learners. This presentation will give a glimpse into how teaching debate can be approached at the SHS, JHS, and even ES level. We will discuss why debate should be taught and how teachers in all contexts can teach debate with materials they already have and resources readily available to them. Ideas for interactive games and critical thinking tasks will also be shared.

Angela Wren has lived, worked and taught in Japanese, German, and English-speaking environments. With a Master of Teaching from the University of Melbourne, Australia, experience teaching German Language and English Literature as a high school teacher, and business experience with Lufthansa German Airlines, she hopes to share and expand her professional knowledge throughout her career.


Rachel Stuart, having more than a decade of experience in intercultural relations with Japan, is very passionate about language teaching in the Japanese EFL context. As an undergraduate, she majored in Applied Linguistics and is currently pursuing a Masters in TESOL. She has been working at Nara Prefectural Horyuji Kokusai Senior High School as a full-time JET ALT for four years, where she has continued to challenge herself, taking any opportunity she can to test and develop her skills as an English teacher and exchange ideas with others.

Presentation 2: Activating Four Skills to Foster One Ability

The dimensions of learning a language cannot simply be divided into the mastery of four skills. Language ability requires a complex process in which a multitude of skills need to be interconnected and simultaneously active. As I child, I was taught how to play the piano by learning how to play with my left and right hand separately. Although I acquired the ability to play with each hand separately, I could not play with both hands together. Although language and music are of different context, the approach to learn a language by separating each skill of reading, listening, speaking and writing has resulted in a similar outcome in which L2 learners struggle to demonstrate their ability to use the language. Through this presentation a high school L2 writing class will be shared to demonstrate how the four skills helped learners acquire the ability of writing a 5 paragraph essay.

After finishing his Master’s in TESOL, Kazuhiro Iguchi teaches at a private high school in Osaka. His academic interests are comparative education and educational philosophy. Previous to his current job, he has also worked as an interpreter and translator.

Presentation3: “Beginning Debate in Junior High School”

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