ALT,  Professional Development,  Programs

ALT Agorà ① – February 25 – Register Now!

Save the date! February 25, 2021 @7:30pm marks the beginning of ALT Agorà, the first national professional development event designed for ALTs! A free monthly event thanks to the support of the many presenters supporting this nonprofit project. The goal is to create an online learning environment that can give you something to use in the classroom from the following day.

Event: ALT Agorà ①
When: February 25th, 2021 @7:30pm JST (duration: 50min)
Where: Zoom (Register Here!)
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 (10 minutes together in the main room)

The importance of professional development for ALTs.
Daniel Pearce – Kyoto Notre Dame University
Daniel Pearce will focus on the professional development he underwent as an ALT, but also discuss some of the things he learned through teacher training at a Japanese university, what he wishes he had known, and how he might have been able to make a bigger difference as an ALT in the classroom if he had.

BREAKOUT ROOMS (40 minutes – choose one according to your needs!)

Room 1: Teaching culture to students
Daniel Pearce – Kyoto Notre Dame University

‘Culture’ is an extremely broad, and equally nebulous term. As ALTs, we are often expected to share ‘foreign’ culture with our students. In this session, I hope to share (and hear) opinions and ideas about what we expected students to learn through culturally-centered lessons, and how we can better contribute to learning.

Room 2: Connecting with your JTE/HRTs
Linfeng Wang – University of Fukui

Professional learning community with your HRT and JTEs. This room explores various ways to get more involved in your school. We discuss and share ideas about how ALTs can participate and contribute to weekly subject meetings, monthly research meetings, and open lesson study meetings.

Room 3: Using CLIL in the classroom
Nate Olson – Sophia University

Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) has recently been gaining attention in Japan. What is CLIL and how can teachers use it for professional development? Breakout room members will share experiences and discuss the potentials and pitfalls of this new approach.

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:

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.

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.

Linfeng Wang (University of Fukui)
My name is Linfeng Wang, and I am currently working for an M.Ed. program at the Graduate School of Professional Development of Teachers at the University of Fukui. The M.Ed. program is a school-based teacher education program for the professional development of both pre-service and in-service teachers. As a teacher educator, I have been supporting K-12 teachers at different stages of their careers in Japanese public schools since 2017. Given my background as a language teacher, my research interests also include foreign language materials development, and classroom teaching and learning.

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.


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.