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Winter Potpourri: Practical tips, Pronunciation training, Collaborative Research, and Exchange with Dubai

Sunday, January 29, 1:00-5:00pm  
(Doors open at 1:00, dinner afterwards at a nearby restaurant. All proceeds from the event will go to support Tohoku relief efforts.)

Winter Potpourri:

Practical Tips,

Pronunciation Training,

Collaborative Research,

and Exchange with Dubai

Four presentations by

Stuart McLean, Gábor Pintér,

Greg Sholdt, and Laura Markslag


1:20 - 2:05 Stuart McLean - From TESOL program to the classroom: Practical tips for teachers
Mclean will explain the developments in flash-card vocabulary learning sites and the advantages and disadvantages of using them with students. He'll then demonstrate the use of student assessment cards to motivate and efficiently monitor in-class activities, will discuss the benefits of monitoring students’ Extensive Reading progress, and will introduce a range of recommended teaching materials. Finally, participants will share their own practical teaching ideas, time permitting.
Stuart McLean teaches at Momoyama University and is one of this year's JALT Research Grant recipients.

2:10 - 2:50 Gábor Pintér - Limitations of Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training Systems
While intelligible speech is a cornerstone of foreign language proficiency, pronunciation exercises are somewhat peripheral activities in both traditional and computer mediated teaching environments. Pinter will enumerate some of the most important technological, human and business factors that have hindered wider use of Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training systems in language education, and will point out that an application framework that approximates the modular structure of general learning management systems, such as Moodle, could lead to great advancements in pronunciation training. An ongoing project will be introduced that puts this idea into action by offering a simple but extendable speech exchange and evaluation service over the web.

Gábor Pintér hales from Hungary and is an associate professor in the School of Languages and Communication at Kobe University. After obtaining his PhD in linguistics he worked for a speech recognition company conducting research and development mostly in projects related to English language education. Since returning to academics he has been researching innovative methods and developing software applications in order to bring achievements of speech sciences and linguistic research to language education.

3:00 - 4:10  Greg Sholdt - Collaborative Research as an Approach to Professional Development for Language Teachers

Making the transition from teacher to teacher-researcher can result in a range of classroom and career benefits; however, getting started in classroom-based research can be a bewildering endeavor when undertaken alone. In this presentation, Sholdt will introduce a unique project that aims to provide an opportunity for language teachers to independently replicate a quantitative research study on writing fluency in their own classrooms and do so concurrently with a team of other teacher-researchers connected through an online discussion forum and resource center built with the popular Moodle platform. Teachers who join the project will discuss issues, raise questions, and share ideas about the research process while making use of online resources and receiving guidance throughout the process. The goals for the teachers include developing skills and knowledge in fundamentals of quantitative research, connecting with a community of EFL teacher researchers, producing a manuscript with potential for publication, and gaining experience with Moodle. Sholdt will provide an overview of the project, describe and show the structure and function of the Moodle site, and explain potential benefits and applications for this approach to professional development. The project will begin in January 2012 with data collection taking place in the Spring 2012 semester. Interested teachers will have the opportunity to ask questions and sign up after the presentation.
Gregory Sholdt
teaches in the School of Languages and Communication at Kobe University. Based on his graduate studies and teaching of introductory statistics courses at the University of Hawaii, he has been exploring innovative approaches to professional development through classroom-based research. He has developed and offered a number of professional development activities for language teachers including workshops and presentations, an online research methods course, and a Moodle-based collaborative research project. Sholdt was a Featured Speaker at JALT 2011 (co-sponsored by Osaka JALT, Nara JALT, and MASH) and currently serves as the Consulting Editor for the JALT Journal.

4:20 - 4:45  Laura Markslag - Online Exchange with Dubai: Motivating EFL learners through culture and authentic English

Engaging students in the use of authentic English can be a difficult task within the constraints of an EFL classroom. In this presentation, Markslag will describe a successful online cultural exchange program designed to promote cultural awareness and understanding in a global environment - while using authentic English - that took place between mixed level Japanese students from Osaka Gakuin University and first year students from Dubai Women’s College from October to December 2011. Markslag will discuss the rationale behind the program, the technical requirements, the steps required to set up and run the program, student reactions, and the overall outcome.

Laura Markslag holds an M.S.Ed from Temple University and is an EFL lecturer at Osaka Gakuin University. She is interested in vocabulary acquisition and assessment, multilingualism, and the development of motivating classroom materials. She has served on Osaka JALT's Executive Board since 2009.

Osaka City Municipal Lifelong Learning Center, multi-media lab, 5F, Umeda's Eki-mae Dai-2 Building, across the street from the Hilton and the Maru building. Tel: 06-6345-5000.
JALT members: Free

Non-members: 1000 yen (500 yen for students)


Film Showing: The Grandpa from Brazil

Sunday, 12 February 2012, 2:00 - 4:30pm

Speaker: Nanako Kurihara (film director/producer)


The film "The Grandpa from Brazil" documents the life of Mr. Kenichi Konno, who emigrated to Brazil at the age of 19 in 1931.

Konno went abroad in search of a decent job, and he vowed to return after achieving success. He worked very hard for decades, and 60 years after leaving Japan he began making annual trips back to Japan staying for a month at a time in order to check on Japanese-Brazilians who had emigrated in the opposite direction. Konno had been very concerned about the many difficulties that these Japanese-Brazilians face in Japan. He made these trips over a period of 15 years, and he helped many people in the process.

This 60-minute film follows this extraordinary yet ordinary man as he retraces his journey through the streets of Tokyo and Kansai, recounting his life in Brazil, and discovering more about the actual situation of Japanese Brazilians. This heartfelt documentary explores issues of migration, ethnicity, family, and global citizenship.

After the film there will be time to meet and ask questions to the filmmaker, Nanako Kurihara. English subtitles will be provided.

Nanako Kurihara is a graduate of Waseda University and an award-winning Japanese producer/director. Her first film made in 1993, was “Ripples of Change” (also titled “Looking for Fumiko”) which is about the Japanese women’s movement in the 1970s. It has been shown internationally and has been broadcast in the United States and Australia. Kurihara holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.

This event is co-sponsored by SIETAR Kansai. (SIETAR =The Society for Intercultural Education, Training, And Research)

For more details about Mr. Konno, please see this 2008 article:

Takatsuki Shiritsu Sogo Shimin Koryu Center, 5th floor 視聴覚センター
Fee for JALT members: 500 yen for JALT & SIETAR members, and students
Fee for one-day members: 1,000 yen
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