ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà ④ – May 20 – Register Now!

Join us for the fourth ALT Agorà, the monthly free professional development event for ALTs.
Come watch May’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: May 20, 2021 @7:30pm JST (75 min)
***please update your Zoom software to the latest version**
How to join: the link 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: Making the Most of One-shot ALT Visits
Peter J. Collins (Tokai University)

“So what game are you playing with my students today?”
This seemingly simple question is underpinned by assumptions about the limited nature of ALT contributions to student learning. It’s true that there are a number of obstacles to fully integrating one-shot ALT visits into a textbook-based curriculum, but it IS possible! A flexible universal lesson plan model will be shared for team-taught junior high classes that provides JTEs, ALTs, and students with meaningful classroom roles and involves relatively little preparation – promise!

Room 1: Extending Textbook Units with Communication Activities
Peter J. Collins (Tokai University)

This discussion is itself an extension of Peter J. Collin’s April breakout room; he’ll share activities that were designed and implemented by junior and senior high teams. These activities help meet teacher goals of deepening students’ understanding of the reading content and giving them chances to recycle target language. They also provide students with chances to interact with and get responses from non-Japanese communities outside the classroom. Participants will be invited to share and/or brainstorm activities for their own textbook units.

Room 2: Being the best ALT you can be: what makes an ALT successful?
Chelanna White (Kyoto JET PA)
In my four years as an ALT and year as prefectural advisor, I have noticed several key traits that successful ALTs have. In this short talk, I will talk about these traits as well as things ALTs can do to cultivate them. In the discussion following the talk, I hope to provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss what they think makes them successful ALTs, or the areas they would like to improve in. Attendees will share their experiences and advice with each other.

Room 3: Exploring culture with students
Daniel Pearce (Kyoto Notre Dame University)
Learning about culture is an integral part of foreign language learning. As ALTs, we are often expected to share ‘foreign’ culture with our students, but as time goes on, talking about ourselves and our home countries can become wearing. In this session, I will discuss the broad concept of culture, and how we can explore learning about culture with our students, as well as introduce a useful repository of resources for culture-centered lessons. I also hope that we can share opinions and ideas about what we would like our students to learn about culture, and how we can better contribute to learning.

Room 4: Teaching Pronunciation and Phonics
Cheyenne Weaver (Yamagata Prefecture ALT)
What sounds do your students struggle to hear and say? How can we get our students to connect sounds to print? If you’ve ever had questions like these (or if you just like talking about speech sounds), then this is the breakout room for you. In this session, we’ll exchange advice and effective activities so that we can build better phonological awareness in our students.


SPECIAL GUEST: English Kamishibai
Kuniaki Sakai (英語紙芝居師English Kamishibai Artis)
Sakai-sensei’s special presentation to close this month’s event with a smile! He is going to show you his “Kamishibai”, a traditional Japanese artwork. Definitely something you don’t get to see everyday! Don’t miss it!

The speakers that will join us for this event are:

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.

Daniel Pearce (Kyoto Notre Dame University)
My name is Daniel Pearce, and I am currently working as a teacher-researcher at Kyoto Notre Dame University. I was an ALT in several high schools of the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture between 2008 and 2013. Since I moved to Kyoto, I have undertaken the JTE licensing program at Kyoto University, and now collaborate on several research/teacher training programs from the elementary to the senior high school level. My research interests include team teaching and plurilingual/pluricultural competence.

Chelanna White (Kyoto JET Prefectural Advisor)
Chelanna is a 4th-year JET and 1st-year Prefectural Advisor in Kyoto. She’s also the co-chair of Programming for Kyoto JALT. When she’s not working, she’s knitting (though she sometimes manages to do that while working, too!).

Cheyenne Weaver (Yamagata Prefecture ALT)
Cheyenne studied Communication Sciences & Disorders at Ohio University. She developed an interest in phonology as she began tutoring pronunciation for the university’s English Language Improvement Program. From there, she took a leap to South Korea as an English Teaching Assistant, then back to her hometown as an after school ESL tutor. Now she is a third year JET Programme ALT, where she teaches in elementary and junior high schools.

Kuniaki Sakai (英語紙芝居師English Kamishibai Artis)
Kuniaki Sakai worked as an elementary school teacher in Niigata. He teaches college students who want to become teachers how to teach English and art. He has written many books on English and art education and about 10 picture books that can be used as teaching materials for young learners. He is also Editorial cooperator for the Elementary school textbook “New Horizon Elementary” (Tokyo Shoseki).

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.