3 Dec 2014, 11:08am
conference JALT


JALT National Conference 2014



Was actually really good


This year I was again lucky enough to be able to attend the JALT National Conference in Tsukuba. It’s no secret that I prefer the intimate, geeky atmosphere of the Pan-SIG conference to the sprawling opulence of the national, and to be honest I wasn’t super-excited about going to Tsukuba. The dearth of transport links meant taking the shinkansen down to Tokyo, then the Tsukuba Express back up to Tsukuba. Grumble grumble.

However, I was wrong this year about both the conference (which was excellent) and Tsukuba (which I ended up liking quite a bit). Humble pie for brunch today.

So what was so good about this year’s conference? As a predictable blogger, I have a list for you:

  1. the venue was fantastic. Compact, clean, and easy to navigate, it was pretty close to perfect
  2. lots of people came to my presentation on Saturday evening, despite the unsociable time slot
  3. I somehow managed to attend a really good selection of presentations (and one truly awful one, but we won’t go into that)
  4. as usual, the conversations in the hallway were just as good as the presentations, and I came away with some really good ideas
  5. central Tsukuba (well, the bit around the venue) was pretty good: nice restaurants, a decent bar, and lots of trees
  6. I only managed to see one plenary (Thomas Farrell on reflective teaching) but it was excellent

So I may have to rethink my attitude towards the national conference. I guess the more people you know the better it becomes in aggregate, and I’m starting to feel like I know most of the people at JALT 🙂

Next year’s conference is in Shizuoka again. O-tanoshimi da ne!



Extensive Reading Seminar 2011

I just got back from the 2011 ER Seminar, held in Okayama this year.

Had a good time, attended some useful presentations, and saw a bunch of great people. The best conference I have been to in a long time. Especially enjoyed the plenaries and Nakano sensei’s presentation. Got some actionable ideas to adopt(steal) for my classes.

Okayama also seemed like a nice place during the very limited time I was there 🙂

Miles Grogan was kind enough to shoot my presentation for me with my iPhone, so I have finally managed to upload one of my presentations to Youtube:

The quality is not great, but you get the idea. Here are the slides:

110213 Expanding an ER Program

My favourite conference in Japan

The call for papers for my favourite conference in Japan just came out -you can see more here.

The 2011 JALT Pan-SIG Conference will be held in May in Nagano. I really recommend it. Smaller, more relaxed, and friendlier than the national conference, the real selling point is the distilled value.

The Pan-SIG is made up of all the special interest groups in JALT, groups that specialize in things like computer assisted language learning, extensive reading, teacher training, pragmatics, teaching adult learners, and many others. These specialised groups then choose the presenters they want to represent them. In practice this means that the quality of presentations tends to be very high. I seldom feel I am wasting my time at the Pan-SIG.

I will hopefully be presenting on extensive reading (that idea that Eleanor told me to develop). I hope to see a lot of friends there too!

Raising Expectations, Measuring Results

It was a great honour to be asked to present on student learning outcomes by OUP. I seized the chance to talk about how important expectations are, how raising expectations (of students, teachers, and institutions) is likely to be the key to improving English education in Japan, and how important effective assessment is. Of course I also talked about student learning outcomes and how useful the CEFR can be when thinking about our courses.

101121 OUP Q presentation

I had a great audience for this and thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.

Tired but happy (JALT 2010)

Just got back from Nagoya and an exhausting but satisfying JALT 2010. Presented three times, got very stressed, learned a lot, met even more great people and managed to spend time with ones I already knew, and got a huge amount out of the conference. Thanks to everyone I saw and hope to see you all again soon.

I’ll be posting my presentations here in the next couple of days, but right now I need some sleep!

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