Nara JALT hosted an excellent online event in April. Four educators kindly shared their successes and reflections they experienced when implementing either online tools or in-class activities in their teaching practices during academic year 2020. We would like to share these videos with you because they are all immensely helpful and still relevant.
Here are the links to the complete event and to the individual presentations:
Coinciding with the unprecedented situation brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic in academic year 2020, which saw many education institutions being forced to switch from in-class teaching to online teaching (and back again), or even a blend of both, Nara JALT is pleased to announce its April MyShare event.
This MyShare event will highlight four educators who will share their successes and reflections they experienced when implementing either online tools or in-class activities in their teaching practices during academic year 2020.
Date: Sunday, April 18, 2021
Venue: Online event via ZOOM. Free for JALT members.
To receive the link to this online event, participants must first pre-register via the link (above). Deadline is 9:30 am on the morning of the event (i.e., Apr 18).
Cost: 500 yen to non-JALT members.
MyShare 1: The successful implementation of a commercial online proficiency test. Jason Moser (Kanto Gakuin University).
MyShare 2: Using the app Padlet in online classrooms. Rachel Patterson (Berlitz/ Kindai University Language Center).
MyShare 3: Building learner confidence and fluency with mini-poster presentations. Paul McAleese (Nara Institute of Science and Technology).
MyShare 4: Activities to address sensitive topics: Discussing sexual harassment and assault in a gender studies class. Elisabeth Williams (Doshisha Women’s College).
More details of each presentation is included below:
MyShare 1: The successful implementation of a commercial online proficiency test. Jason Moser (Kanto Gakuin University) will share with participants the importance of orientation prior to the implementation of a commercial online proficiency. After briefly introducing the test features, he will outline the steps he implemented that ensured the successful implementation of the test across four faculties (480 students) for both faculty and students, and the positive test results that were obtained.
MyShare 2: Using the app Padlet in online classrooms. Rachel Patterson (Berlitz/ Kindai University Language Center) will introduce and demonstrate effective ways to use the interactive cork board app “Padlet”. She will show how she was able to give her students opportunities to post their input, participate in class discussions, and get feedback from their teachers via this non-threatening platform.
MyShare 3: Building learner confidence and fluency with mini-poster presentations. Paul McAleese (Nara Institute of Science and Technology) will present on how he was able to get learners to overcome their apprehension about speaking in front of the whole class through the successful implementation of a poster presentation task in an in-class setting, that required learners to “mingle” around different presentations while completing simple listening tasks.
MyShare 4: Activities to address sensitive topics: Discussing sexual harassment and assault in a gender studies class. Elisabeth Williams (Doshisha Women’s College) will share her experiences of discussing the difficult topic of sexual harassment and assault in an introductory gender studies class at women’s university. Specifically, the presentation will focus on two activities that were used to facilitate discussion about these issues: Creating a list of “common myths” of sexual harassment/assault and watching a street-interview style video about the topics. The presenter will also introduce the successes and challenges of the lesson.
With the 2019 JALT International Conference approaching, Nara Chapter continued its exploration of the conference theme, Teacher Efficacy, Learner Agency, at a local level from the perspective of both established and early-career educators.
In the first presentation, Robert Maran, Professor Emeritus at Osaka Shoin Women’s University, discussed an EFL program he had coordinated, focusing on his observation and interpretation of “learner agency” in program planning and “collective teacher efficacy” among the team of teachers. He first talked about the general outline of the coordinated EFL program and the subjects and students, and then briefly mentioned what “learner agency” and “teacher efficacy” are. In terms of the concept of teacher efficacy, Maran focused on “evidence of impact”, or the actual confirmation of how teachers have influenced students’ learning outcomes. Well, how can “evidence of impact” be measured? Can only test results show it? Is the creation of learning portfolios a better indication? Does students’ participation in communicative activities only during class hours verify it? Let’s face it, given the general characteristics of the students his team taught – non-English majors with no clear need for learning English – he concluded that if the students at least adopted a positive attitude towards learning English, it could be interpreted as “evidence of impact.” Maran also introduced a function of collective teacher efficacy: experiences = four sources of collective teacher efficacy (mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasion, and affective statuses); and environment = six enabling conditions of collective teacher efficacy (advanced teacher influence, good consensus, cohesive staff, knowledge of one another’s work, responsiveness of leadership, and effective systems of intervention). He then analyzed the coordinated EFL program based on all the ten components. The employment situations of team teachers – whether they teach full-time or part-time – would affect the process of promoting collective teacher efficacy in EFL programs, since team teachers need to pursue shared educational goals and work together as one interdependent unit. Under prominent team leaders, well-coordinated EFL programs would have considerable potential for developing learner agency. Teacher efficacy and learner agency intertwine closely and cannot be separated.
In the second presentation, Sayaka Ishimizu, Associate Professor at the National Institute of Technology (Kosen), Nara College, talked about a teaching approach using a study tracker based on the Bullet Journal Method (BuJo). BuJo is a journaling method of tasks, events, and notes on a daily basis, which is an analog system for the digital age. After knowing how little time her students had spent on self-study outside class hours and how poorly they had organized their everyday class requirements and tasks, Ishimizu introduced in April, 2019 the study tracker system that encourages approximately 200 students in a one-year English course to keep a log of their everyday self-study hours on monthly study track sheets. The monthly study track sheet has four self-study areas that the students need to be engaged in and keep time records of: vocabulary build-up, assignments, class-content review, and class-content preparation. There is also space for “tasks” on the sheet where the students need to fill in the title of tasks when assigned specific tasks to carry out. Their daily records were added up and converted into weekly records. A preliminary survey highlighted that there was an increase in self-study hours compared with a year earlier among 150 out of 200 of the students who had reported their self-study hours at the end of this spring semester. By keeping records and revisiting their study trackers, the students were also able to observe their time allocation for each self-study area and amend it to improve their grades. It could be controversial whether those records self-reported by students are accurate and trustworthy, however, her focus appeared on the process of students’ self-engagement in keeping study records and forming a good study habit, rather than on an increase in their study hours. Ishimizu is herself a practitioner of BuJo and a witness to its effectiveness in empowering her time and energy. It would be interesting to know the complete results and observation of her study tracker project and how “evidence of impact” can be interpreted in her study.
I was honored to invite as presenters to this September event two active members of Nara Chapter: Robert Maran, my respected mentor, and Sayaka Ishimizu, a former colleague and close friend. Both presentations were well received and obtained positive feedback. It was a good opportunity to explore the conference theme, Teacher Efficacy, Learner Agency, just before the 4CT event in October and the JALT international conference in November. I hope this September event served as a booster for JALT 2019 from our local chapter.