ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà ③ – April 22 – Register Now!

Join us for the third ALT Agorà, the monthly free professional development event for ALTs.
Come watch April’s spotlight speaker and choose your themed breakout room to engage with other ALTs in a professional and friendly environment.

As always, the event is free and open to all!

Event: ALT Agorà
When: April 22, 2021 @7:30pm JST (duration: around 60min)
Where: Zoom (Register Here!)
**please update your Zoom software to the latest version to be able to choose your room**
How to join: details will be sent to the specified email address by the afternoon on the day of the event.
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This month join us to talk about the following topics!

SPOTLIGHT (together in the main room)
Easy (extensive) reading, and its role in developing stronger English (vocabulary) skills in junior and senior high school students.
David Coulson (Ritsumeikan University)

I will outline a model of vocabulary knowledge, and how lexical skill can be expected to develop either with or without extensive reading. I will then briefly present data taken from 608 junior and senior high school students in Niigata showing their ability to process the most common essential English words through a test of word recognition. Finally, I will introduce a free website for extensive reading which could help plug the gap.

BREAKOUT ROOMS (choose one according to your needs!)

Room 1: Teaching vocabulary and flashcard practices
David Coulson (Ritsumeikan University)

Words are basic for learning a foreign language. But which words, and how should teachers guide the use of flash cards, for example? The speaker will mention these issues and invite discussion by asking teachers to share their experiences.

Room 2: Textbook + Creativity = Happy students!
Gretchen Clark (Kyoto Notre Dame University)
According to educator John Hattie, classroom decisions should be made to engage, complete tasks, have fun and ‘reinvest in the game of schooling’ (2012). How can we reinvent standard textbook activities to ensure students are motivated and learning? The presenter will share her go-to activities and invite attendees to brainstorm other ways of keeping lessons interesting for students.

Room 3: Recognizing and Realizing JTE-ALT Relationships
Peter J. Collins (Tokai University)

Why team-teach? More specifically, what can a JTE-ALT team do that couldn’t be done by a JTE-JTE team, an ALT-ALT team, or a bilingual solo teacher? In this session, we’ll talk about ways to move beyond simple turn-taking and consider four kinds of JTE-ALT relationships that can make the in-class experience more meaningful for both teachers and students.

Room 4: Design Thinking in the ALT Classroom
Rishma Hansil (Tokyo JET Prefectural Advisor)

Design Thinking is a solution-based approach to solving problems, used across a range of disciplines from engineering to education. In the language learning classroom it can be a new way of thinking and working. This workshop looks at the 5 stages of Design Thinking, discussing ways in which we can generate ideas with our students, design lesson materials and engage students in hands-on learning activities.

The speakers that will join us for this event are:

David Coulson (Ritsumeikan University)
David Coulson teaches and supervises research projects in the MA TESOL program at Ritsumeikan Graduate School, Kyoto. He is particularly interested in issues related to vocabulary research and instruction. He also teaches in conjunction with University of British Columbia in their teacher training programme conducted in Kyoto. He has an MA in Japanese Studies, MSc in TESOL and a PhD in applied linguistics.

Peter J. Collins (Tokai University)
After teaching English at secondary schools in Kenya, Taiwan, and Mexico, Peter received his MA in TEFL at the School for International Training in Vermont. He came to Japan in 1995, and in 1998 started at Tokai University’s Foreign Language Center. In 2004 joined Tokai’s Higher Research Institute of Educational Development, which supported and advised JTEs and ALTs at junior and senior high schools around the country. He has contributed to three MEXT-approved textbooks: empathy Oral Communication I and Magic Hat English I and II, and One World English for junior high. In 2014, Peter started at Tokai University’s International Education Center. His research interests include teacher collegiality, learner autonomy and ways to extend secondary textbook units with communication activities.

Gretchen Clark (Kyoto Notre Dame University)
Gretchen Clark is currently an assistant professor of English at Kyoto Notre Dame University in Kyoto, Japan. She has lived and taught English in various capacities in the Kansai region of Japan for over 20 years. Her research interests include ELT pedagogy, NeuroELT and how social justice and critical thinking operate within language teaching.

Rishma Hansil (Kyoto Notre Dame University)
JET Prefectural Advisor (Tokyo), Author and Illustrator of “Animal Adventure” book for young learners and Assistant Language Teacher specializing in Educational Technology.


Nicholas J. Wilson is an elementary and junior high school English teacher and curriculum developer fostering students’ digital literacy through foreign language education. He is a Level 1 & 2 Google Certified Educator and Level 1 Adobe Creative Educator in charge of supporting the professional development of English and Japanese teachers as a mentor, area leader, and member of the local board of education’s Digital Transformation Committee. His current research focuses on exploring the potential of the metaverse as a learning environment. He is also an active JALT officer involved in planning, promoting, and coordinating regional events and national conferences, and the founder and organizer of ALT Agorà, a series of monthly webinars designed for assistant language teachers, part of the ALT Training Online grassroots initiative.