ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà – November 16, 2022 – Register Now!

New month, new Agorà. This month, one spotlight speaker with a really important topic that we can all relate to, and two breakout rooms to choose from depending on your focus! As we approach the next year, I would like to remind you all that we are always looking for teachers like you, so get in touch with us and host your own breakout room! You DEFINITELY have something to share. ALL of you!

One quick note, we are making changes to what happens behind the scenes. From this month, you should be receiving the zoom link IMMEDIATELY after submitting the form. If you don’t get it, please reach out to nicholas[@]

When: Wednesday, November 16, 2022, @7:30 pm JST


How to join: you will receive the link immediately after submitting the form. If you don’t, reach out to nicholas[@]
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This month join us to talk about the following topics!

SPOTLIGHT: TELL: Supporting the Mental Health Needs of the International Community in Japan.
Speaker: Jack Shaw (TELL Outreach Coordinator)

TELL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counseling services to Japan’s international community as well as helping to address the country’s growing mental health care needs. TELL’s half-century of experience has made us acutely aware of the challenges in adequately addressing mental healthcare needs within our international community. In this interactive presentation we will cover mental health topics related to populations living in Japan, including stress, depression, and suicide prevention. The presentation illustrates how TELL is tackling these mental health concerns by introducing the three pillars of our organization: Outreach, Counseling, and our Lifeline. The talk ends with group mindfulness and breathing exercise.

BREAKOUT ROOM 1: Using the whole picture book.
Speaker: Martin Sedaghat (Niigata University of Health and Welfare International Preschool)

Picture books have an important role in teaching language for young learners, but are we using the whole book and all of the resources it has to offer? First, we will look at Megan Dowd Lambert’s “Whole Book Approach” and learn about the different parts and design choices in picture books, such as jackets, endpapers, gutters, and spreads. After that we will have an open discussion about picture books to read in class, and creative ways to use them. Please bring your favorite books to share!

BREAKOUT ROOM 2: Verbal Classrooms: Beyond the AQp
Speaker: José Domingo Cruz (Kitakyushu University)

In previous ALTTO presentations, José Cruz has shown techniques to get students to speak faster, smoother, in greater quantity and with greater enjoyment. In this talk, he will try to work from that foundation of knowledge to show other techniques from the Verbal Classroom syllabus. Among them will be “Word Throw”, Incorporating a textbook, and how to measure speaking fluency.
View a presentation that Cruz gave to Nagasaki ALTs in 2021 last year below. This will give you a basic foundational knowledge of how Verbal Classrooms works: 
To view all of Cruz’s support materials for Verbal Classrooms, please visit his Authentic Listening/fluency practice website, GOLDFish365 –

The speaker that will join us for this event are:

Jack Shaw (TELL Outreach Coordinator; Ph.D. in Media Design)
Jack is responsible for outreach coordination in Tokyo/Kanto. A long-term Tokyo resident, Jack comes to the role of Outreach Coordinator with over 15 years of brand strategy and marketing experience. After his time in the private/corporate sector, he enjoys using his depth of knowledge to support the TELL mission through community outreach and advocating for mental health awareness in Japan, particularly among underserved communities. Having received his Ph.D. from the Keio University – Graduate School of Media Design, Jack has an interest in the impact of technology on mental health.

Martin Sedaghat (Niigata University of Health and Welfare International Preschool)
Martin Sedaghat is the English teacher and curriculum designer for the Niigata University of Health and Welfare International Preschool. He came to Japan in 2003 and worked as an ALT at elementary and junior high schools, followed by several years as a homeroom teacher at a private high school. He is currently studying for his MA TESOL and is the program chair for the JALT Teaching Young Learners SIG. His research interests include young learners, picture book usage, and game design.

José Domingo Cruz (Kitakyushu University)
José Domingo Cruz works on several English study projects, including his main venture, “GOLDFish365”. Cruz is the author of the soon to be published, “ZOOM for Educators”. He helped create the protocols for and led the team of volunteer Room Hosts that guided the presentations (The Fire Station) during the PANSig and JALT National conferences of 2020. Cruz is a leading member of Online Teaching Japan, where he and David Juteau host the weekly broadcast of “OTJtv”. Cruz is from Canada, and is a veteran university instructor and Japan resident, specializing in fluency instruction and authentic materials creation.

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.