ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà ② – March 18 – Register Now!

Join us for the second ALT Agorà, the first free professional development event for Assistant Language Teachers working in Japan.
Every month features a spotlight speaker and themed breakout rooms to engage with other ALTs in a professional but friendly environment.
Each room will be assigned to a facilitator who will introduce the topic, support the discussion and answer your questions.
This event is free and open to all.

Event: ALT Agorà
When: March 18, 2021 @7:30pm JST (duration: 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)

CLIL and the future of English education for ALTs
Nate Olson (Sophia University)

Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is a dual-focused educational approach in which students learn content through language and language through content. Nate Olson will give an overview of the approach, highlight how CLIL is ahead of the curve in MEXT’s Course of Study, and discuss the unique opportunities it offers ALTs for professional development.

BREAKOUT ROOMS (choose one according to your needs!)

Room 1: Understanding your students
Miguel Mision (University of Nagano)

Part of improving your skills as a teacher involves getting a deeper understanding of how your students think. As teachers from western countries, the education ideas and methods we grew up with can be very different to those of students in eastern countries. In this workshop I will explain some concepts of the origins of these differences and participants will be asked if they can share their experiences and think of methods for western teachers to connect with eastern students.

Room 2: Bridging gaps between Conversation and Communication classes
Peter J. Collins (Tokai University)

Team-taught conversation and solo-JTE-taught Communication I-III classes seem to present two separate (but not equal) versions of English. Are there ways teachers can begin integrating the two? Breakout room members will be invited to share their experiences and discuss ways to help students see these components as part of a unified curriculum.

Room 3: CLIL in the classroom
Nate Olson (Sophia University)

This room will explore how content and language integrated learning (CLIL) can be implemented in the classroom. We will discuss and share ideas related to CLIL principles and practices such as materials design, scaffolding, translanguaging, feedback and assessment.

Room 4: 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.

The speakers that will join us for this event are:

Nate Olson (Sophia University)
Nate Olson, a former ALT and current researcher at Sophia University, is promoting team-taught CLIL (content and language integrated learning) for his Ph.D. project. He has created a team-taught CLIL training course video series which will be featured on ALTTO Courses.

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.

Miguel Mision (University of Nagano)
Miguel did his undergraduate in engineering and international studies with a major in Japanese at the University of Technology, Sydney. Once upon a time he was an engineer and worked for Toshiba Corp in Australia. He came to Japan in 2009 and worked as an ALT teaching all levels from kindergarten to highschool to corporate. Miguel has an MA in Education majoring in TESOL with the University of Wollongong. His research interests include both Computer and Mobile Assisted Language Learning.


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.