September Event 2012: Ways That Work in Teaching Children

-A Case Study of a Mini-immersion English Program-

Presented by: Takako Watanabe, Watanbe English School

Co-Presenter: Prof. Kazuo Watanabe, Professor of English and English language education at Nara University of Education. 

This presentation will outline how a mini-immersion program has been conducted for the past 9 years with a special emphasis on the first 6 years, comparing these students’ achievements with those of other students in once-a-week and twice-a-week programs.

Date: Sunday, Sept 16th 2012

Time: 16:00-17:30

Venue:Yumekaze Nara (Access)

Cost: Free for JALT members, ¥500 for visitors

Presentation Description:

Our mini-immersion program is defined as a type of partial content based program in which several elementary school children learn English in English under the guidance of an experienced, balanced bilingual teacher.  It has five interesting characteristics: it is language-conscious content teaching rather than contextualized language teaching; it is more or less based on Palmer’s principles of language teaching—from primary skills to secondary skills; it is taught by an experienced, balanced bilingual; it is interactive; the class size is quite appropriate in that it is fewer than ten students.

Some of the outstanding achievements of this program are as follows.  Four out of six students passed Grade 2 of the Step Test, in sixth grade, and two in seventh grade.  One of them passed Grade Pre-1 in 9th Grade in July of this year.  She went to the Prince Takamadonomiya Trophy oratorical contest in Tokyo last year as the 1st prize winner in the local contest.  Two other students are going to attend the local contest in October this year.  Also, three students were chosen out of over one hundred candidates for the Fukui City Junior Ambassador programs – one last year and two this year – and they all enjoyed communication with people without much difficulty in two sister cities in the US.  All of these were made possible by this program; they acquired knowledge of English sufficient to enjoy communication in English with positive attitudes.

Presenters’ Bio:

Takako Watanabe was Fukui Chapter President of JALT for 23 years until last March.  She was an adviser on Teaching English to young children for now-defunct Penguin Books Japan for 10 years.  She has been running Watanabe English School for more than 20 years, where she teaches students varying in age from 4 to 18.  She has extensive teaching experiences at public institutions, such as Fukui University, Open University, a preparatory school, as well as junior and senior high schools.  Her educational interests include helping students develop communicative competence in English.  Raising her two children bilingually with Kazuo Watanabe has provided her with significant insights into her teaching practices.

Kazuo Watanabe is currently Professor of English and English language education at Nara University of Education.  He has been teaching at the college level for more than thirty years.  His research interests include teaching writing, Second Language Acquisition, bilingual education, international understanding education and foreign language teacher qualifications.

NB: This event will be preceded by the JALT Nara Chapter Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the same venue from 14:00-15:00. If you would like to be a part of the Nara JALT team of officers or nominate a willing chapter member, please send an email stating the name of the person who would like to run and the officer position they would like to run for, to the following email address: Further details available on our blog.

Marcus Benevides. Task-Based Language Learning in Japan

May 17th (Sunday). 2pm-5pm
Tezukayama Gakuenmae Campus.

Title: Task-Based Language Teaching ( TBLT) in Japan .

Speaker: Marcos Benevides.
Marcos Benevides is an assistant professor at Kansai Gaidai University. He has
taught EFL in Japan for ten years, at every level from elementary school to
university, from private tutoring to graduate courses. He has been an invited,
sponsored, featured or keynote speaker at dozens of ELT seminars and conferences
in Japan and abroad. He has recently guest edited the “TBLT in Japan” special
issue of The Language Teacher (March 2009), and co-authored Widgets: A
task-based course in practical English.

Task-based language teaching (TBLT) represents the evolution of communicative
language teaching. It is fast becoming the dominant ELT approach worldwide, as
evidenced by task-based concepts emerging in tests such as the new TOEIC, in
language descriptor systems such as the Common European Framework of Reference
for Languages, and in an increasing number of commercial textbooks.

However, resistance to TBLT continues in Japan on grounds ranging from “Japanese
students are too shy” to “Japanese students are not creative enough”, and “the
Japanese demand a teacher-centered approach” to “communicative approaches have
been tried here already and they failed”. In this presentation, Benevides will
explain why each of these arguments is fundamentally flawed.

This presentation will draw on the speaker’s co-authored textbook, Widgets
(Longman 2008) to explain a variety of TBLT concepts. Participants will walk
away with new ideas regarding lesson planning, motivating students and, yes,
clear evidence that Japanese students are extremely creative!

Folks, come if you can. This guarantees to be another interesting and valuable
presentation,for anyone working in any branch of teaching in this country, by a
seasoned and much sought after presenter.

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