Here is our list of invited speakers for the Equity ELT Japan 2021 Forum.
We will be offering presentations, workshops, and roundtable discussions. Please be aware that if attending workshops or roundtables participation is highly encouraged.
Speaker(s): Dr. Thomas Amundrud
Title: Re-imagining language teaching organizations (Workshop)
Abstract: Language teaching organizations are a primary means for professional development. They are one of the key sites where teachers get the training and make the professional and personal connections that they need to build successful careers. Yet the potential for these organizations to be truly effective agents in the development of the teachers that comprise them is often constrained by their embodiment in and of the myriad injustices that constitute white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. In this workshop, participants will be invited to discuss and debate some proposals for transformation of our professional development organizations towards greater equity in our field and beyond. The goal of this session is to brainstorm, discuss, and make plans of action that we will carry out to improve the language teaching organizations we compose.
Date and Time: January 30, 13:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Suzanne Bonn
Title: Life after Japan: Professional and personal insights (Presentation)
Abstract: The presenter will take the audience on a journey following her teaching career in Germany, the U.S., Japan, and Canada. She will describe why she initially moved to Japan, her full-time and part-time teaching contracts, and her pursuit of a PhD while working and starting a family in Japan. After living nearly 13 years in central Japan, she moved to Canada. She will share her thoughts about feeling like a newly arrived immigrant in her home country, and how five years later, she has landed a permanent-track teaching and administrative position at one of Canada’s top universities while maintaining both personal and professional ties with Japan. The presenter will detail these experiences and address questions the audience may have. Participants will leave the session with new insights into the journey one takes after leaving Japan.
Date and Time: Jan 28th, 10:00
Speaker(s): Darby Brooks
Title: Challenges of an “International” Japanese workplace when you are other (Roundtable)
Abstract: International schools in Japan are by nature more diverse than public schools that are greatly dominated by Japanese students and staff. That does not mean that international schools have completely embraced racial, ethnic, gender, and sexuality diversity and equity. As a mixed race and bisexual teacher, it is not uncommon to experience microaggressions and the feeling that some aspects of your life remain best unspoken. This paper explores some of these issues from my experience working at international schools in Japan.
Date and Time: January 30, 19:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Melodie Cook
Title: Getting published: Dos and don’ts (Presentation)
Abstract: In this presentation, I will give general advice for authors wishing to get published. In particular, I will explain about different journal’s remits, highlight characteristics of good and not-so-good articles, and explain the process and timelines of publication from start to finish. I will also talk about the peer review process and end with information about predatory publishers: how to recognize them and why to avoid them.
Date and Time: January 30, 14:00
Speaker(s): Michael Ellis
Title: Promoting gender diversity in the classroom through drag (Workshop)
Abstract: This presentation is conducted in two parts. In the first, the presenter shares the experience of introducing drag to Japanese high school students (n=109) through the reality TV show, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”. Each step of the process is explained, from a pretest and mini-lecture on drag culture to the viewing of the show itself. Students’ response papers to the class are analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, indicating that they were able to understand and apply to their own lives complex concepts from the show, especially gender as a social construct and the importance of creativity and individuality. Finally, the presenter reflects on how this experience furthered his professional development. In the second part, the presenter offers practical advice for teachers interested in incorporating similar content in their teaching practice and then facilitates small group discussions to brainstorm how this might be done effectively in participants’ individual contexts.
Date and Time: January 30, 11:00
Speaker(s): Yoshi Joanna Grote
Title: Teaching you while being me: Authenticity in the classroom (Workshop)
Abstract: To what extent do you bring your authentic self to the classroom? Where do you draw the line between your personal and professional identities? What could be the value of controlled self-disclosure with your students? In this workshop I will argue the pedagogical value of prioritizing the creation of an authentic, cohesive, positive, brave and unique classroom culture. In the first part of the workshop, I will briefly introduce some approaches and activities which help build an environment for deep learning. In the second part, I will ask participants to discuss the extent to which they already bring their authentic selves into the classroom and encourage them to consider ways in which they could use their lived experiences as resources for learning.
Date and Time: January 29, 14:00
Speaker(s): Caroline Handley and Nicole Gallagher
Title: Publishing and Volunteering in JALT’s The Language Teacher (Presentation)
Abstract: In this presentation, the current Co-Editor of The Language Teacher and the JALT Publications Board Chair will give an overview of the various publishing opportunities in The Language Teacher. We will explain the submission process for peer-reviewed articles, which are published in English and Japanese, as well as the possibilities for submitting to non-peer-reviewed columns, such as My Share, and the support available for novice authors and researchers. We will also describe ways you can volunteer with The Language Teacher and other publications. Drawing on our own experiences in various positions on The Language Teacher and the PostConference Publication, we will discuss the benefits for professional development of getting involved with this side of publishing. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions throughout and at the end of the presentation, and we hope you will leave feeling inspired to submit an article for publication, volunteer, or even both.
Date and Time: January 30, 16:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Natasha Hashimoto
Title: Diversity and equity issues in the commercial ELT sector (Presentation)
Abstract: In this presentation, I will share some rarely heard teachers’ voices. The participants in this multiple case study were non-Japanese nonnative English-speaking teachers working in the commercial ELT sector. The data were collected between 2013 and 2020 through interviews with teachers and school owners, emails, SNS messages, reflective diary entries, and eikaiwa job posts. Many of the NNEST participants reported experiencing discrimination in the ELT market because of their NNES status, race, and nationality. However, those who were perceived as White, came from Western countries, studied in dominant English-speaking countries, and spoke with so-called “native-like” accents in English found employment more successfully. Most of the participants had only part-time jobs, not by choice, at several schools simultaneously. Despite the negativity, the participants did mention some positive aspects of their jobs, such as building their social and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986) and enjoying the flexibility of eikaiwa work.
Date and Time: January 28, 14:00
Speaker(s): Sandra Healy
Title: In their own voices: Women in STEM (Presentation)
Abstract: It is well-known that women remain under-represented in STEM related fields worldwide and there are many stories about why this is, for example, women are not interested in STEM, lack of support and encouragement, or just men are better at science. How do these stories shape the experiences of women in STEM and how are women shaping these stories? This presentation explores the narratives of four female postgraduate students, two Japanese and two international students, in STEM at a national university in Japan. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the participants to explore their experiences in a male-dominated environment. Through analysis of the interview data it was found that the participants reported largely positive experiences with few experiences of gender-related bias. However, concerns about future employment and working conditions as well as the need for more female role models and increased diversity were highlighted.
Date and Time: January 28, 20:00
Speaker(s): Keilyn Henneberry
Title: End unintentional discrimination against non-Japanese (Presentation)
Abstract: Why do elementary school, junior high school, and high school teachers refuse to use “Sensei” when referring to ALTs? A common excuse is that it may be “too difficult for the students to pronounce the foreign names”, but they are taking a learning opportunity away from the students. Both the students and the ALTs suffer from this action. The students learn that Japanese honorifics do not need to be used with people from abroad, and ALTs do not learn to be referred to with the honorifics their social status deserves. This is a huge issue. The Japanese government, prefectural governments, city governments, and local schools all need to consider this and train teachers to use the proper honorifics with the non-Japanese ALTs. If not, the country is raising a generation of children who do not realize that they are being trained to treat non-Japanese with disrespect when speaking Japanese.
Date and Time: January 28, 19:00
Speaker(s): Michael Hollenback
Title: Beyond language teaching: Interdisciplinary approaches to ELT (Presentation)
Abstract: While Applied Linguistics and TESOL/ELT are burgeoning fields, they are rooted in a traditional view of linguistics that focuses on the systematic or functional approaches to language (which itself has a theoretical background). Recent developments in Educational Research and Linguistic Anthropology should impact upon how we orient our epistemological and ontological approaches to research, and our goals for academic writing and ELT teaching. This presentation will focus on how broadening our approaches in an interdisciplinary manner, including the wider inclusion of the humanities, can give us new perspectives on our field and our teaching. It is hoped that a re-orientation towards education, language and research will allow for a more progressive approach in the ELT field itself.
Date and Time: January 29, 15:00
Speaker(s): L’Shawn Howard
Title: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome (Workshop)
Abstract: No matter how accomplished we are in our careers, feelings of inadequacy can creep up and cause us to doubt ourselves. This experience is known as imposter syndrome, and 7 out of 10 of us will probably experience it in our lifetime (Psychology Today). This number could be even higher among women and people of color due to the impact of our lived experience of gender and racial discrimination (Nance-Nash, 2020). Imposter syndrome can prevent us from recognizing our accomplishments and keep us stuck. This workshop explores the root cause of imposter syndrome and introduces a simple yet powerful method that can be learned in a short time, and when used on a regular basis, can help diminish the effects of imposter syndrome. Over time, this method can weaken and eventually break the chains of self-doubt, allowing us to realize our true potentials.
Date and Time: January 29, 20:00
Speaker(s): Nami Imagawa and Emily Kovacs
Title: Coping with native speakerism: A Japanese female teacher’s story of struggle in eikaiwa (Workshop)
Abstract: Although there are many Japanese teachers of English working in eikaiwa schools in Japan—most of whom are female—, their voices and experiences are rarely heard in ELT conferences or conversations. L1 English teachers from inner circle countries —most of whom are male—are often unaware of their Japanese colleagues’ struggles and fail to recognize their own complicity and participation in the discriminatory ideology of native speakerism. This presentation focuses on the economic and mental struggles of a Japanese female English teacher in a corporate eikaiwa school. She and her “native-speaker” colleague will explore how English teachers, school managers, and owners can work together toward an equitable working environment. Participants will be invited to reflect on their own positionality, experiences, and discuss ways to improve equity in ELT. Non-Japanese teachers who are racialized or whose L1 is not English are also encouraged to share their experiences of marginalization.
Date and Time: January 29, 10:00
Speaker(s): Jackson Koon Yat Lee
Title: The uphill battle for non-Japanese Asian English teachers (Presentation)
Abstract: Many people in Japan hold expectations for their English teachers to have certain physical appearances. When such expectations are not met, the expectation gaps often turn into suspicion and doubt towards the validity of the teachers’ ability and identity. As a Hong Kong Canadian, the presenter shares his experience living and working in Japan with the duo-identity of a “native” and “non-native” speaker, as well as his early struggles to embrace a part of his heritage due to the pressure of what the ELT industry desires. To further demonstrate the reality non-Japanese Asian English teachers face, he also recounts testimonies from other teachers whose professional identities were undermined and who felt that their Asian backgrounds have hindered their opportunities and self-confidence in teaching English in Japan. Undermined teachers alone cannot neutralize the industry’s toxicity. As such, this presentation aims to raise awareness and encourage everyone to take action for equity.
Date and Time: January 29, 19:00
Speaker(s): Jackson Koon Yat Lee
Title: Shifting from ALT or eikaiwa jobs to university teaching (Presentation)
Abstract: Some ALTs and eikaiwa teachers in Japan often find themselves limited in career choices within their teaching environments, while the option to shift to university teaching seems to have an intimidatingly high barrier to entry. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce this career path and make it more transparent for passionate educators who are interested in teaching at the university level. This informative session will provide concrete suggestions on the preparations and procedures applicants should consider taking to help with their chances. Realistic expectations about the logistics and the nature of the job will also be set as the presenter provides examples of responsibilities at such positions. Different levels of positions and potential career paths at university teaching will also be explored. A short Q&A with the attendees is planned at the end of the session.
Date and Time: January 30, 10:00
Speaker(s): May Kyaw Oo
Title: Navigating the EFL Landscape as a NNEST (Roundtable)
Abstract: In many countries where the primary language is not English, there is a great demand for English language teachers. According to Braine (2010), non-native English-speaking (NNES) professionals constitute the majority of the English teachers around the world yet they are not given opportunities equal to those of native English-speaking teachers (NESTs). In this talk, I will share my experience working as a non-native NNEST teaching in Southeast and East Asia for over ten years. Through my accounts, I’d like to highlight the discriminative hiring practices based on skin colour and nationality and how these practices impact career trajectories of NNEST teachers, their identities as teachers, and their self-esteem. I would also like to provide some examples of how allyship and mentoring at an individual level can promote positive change towards these practices and what we can do to challenge these unfair practices to promote equality and bring about systematic change rather than surface-level equality.
Date and Time: January 30, 20:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Derrace McCallum
Title: Lessons I learned on my journey to a PhD (Presentation)
Abstract: Should I get a PhD? Will it make me better off? What are the challenges involved? What should I focus on? How long does it take? Is it even possible? These are just some of the questions plaguing many who are considering a PhD. For many people, particularly the super busy and those engaged with other demanding life challenges such as marriage, family life, a business, a demanding job, a PhD often remains on the back burner or as a sort of unlikely dream to be pursued when things calm down. This sort of time-based relegation of a PhD programme is often not only related to busy lifestyles, but is also grounded in an unrecognized fear of the demands that come with a PhD. This fear may be based on limited knowledge or the observed negative experiences of friends or family. I cannot promise any expert knowledge, but I hope that sharing my lived experiences will help someone make an informed decision regarding the pursuit of a doctoral degree.
Date and Time: January 28, 15:00
Speaker(s): Jennifer L. Teeter and Alison Kitzman
Title: Distinguishing yourself through your resume and cover letter (Workshop)
Abstract: Minorities continue to face challenges in acquiring higher paid and senior positions in academic institutions, although they are fully qualified. From the moment a resume is submitted, one faces systemic barriers. Notoriously, resumes are read in less than 10 seconds. Further, it is more likely that a resume submitted by a minority is thrown out. A strong resume and cover letter may not break all barriers, but they can open some doors. This workshop will start with practical skills for improving both the design and content of one’s resume and cover letter to effectively highlight your strengths. After providing some tips, the conversation will be opened to the audience to share their best practices. We, two females experienced in career counseling, love helping people get the jobs they deserve.
Date and Time: January 28, 13:00
Speaker(s): Adrianne Verla Uchida
Title: Fostering critical friendships through reflective practice (Workshop)
Abstract: Engaging in reflective practice (RP) challenges teachers to look inward to discover and understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This examination of one’s beliefs and making connections to their practices is what Farrell (2019) calls “a way of life,” (p. 76). There are various tools available for practitioners including concept mapping, diary writing, and action research, however for some people reflecting with others is more beneficial. The presenter has found fostering a critical friendship (CF) with a colleague to be the best way for her to engage in RP. This practical workshop will offer a brief introduction to RP and invite the participants to engage in an RP exercise. Then the presenter will share about her critical friendship and facilitate discussion about ways that participants can foster their own CFs. In contexts with limited formal teacher support, these friendships can help reduce teacher isolation.
Date and Time: January 29, 11:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Gerry Yokota
Title: Learning to Decenter (Workshop)
Abstract: In this workshop, I introduce the idea of decentering as I first encountered it in the work of women of color collected in the 2000 anthology Decentering the Center. I propose how we might learn from that dynamic tradition, especially recent articulations more focused on ELT such as Gerald (2020), about ways to decenter whiteness in our research and teaching. Bring samples of your own writing or lesson plans and come prepared to respond to the challenge issued by Claudia Rankine in a recent New York Times interview (Nov. 26, 2020): “I wish writers would consider more deeply how whiteness is constructed in their work. The unmarked ways in which our white supremacist orientations get replicated in books and go unquestioned in theory remain one of the most insidious ways racist ideas continue to shape our consciousness.”
Date and Time: January 29, 13:00
Speaker(s): Amanda Yoshida
Title: Bottom-up professional development in practice (Presentation)
Abstract: This presentation will give an overview of the inner workings of a professional development committee that consists of a convener, four sub-committees and their leaders. As a former convener, I will share my experiences working on this committee both as a member and as a convener to give people some ideas about the potential to make sure that teachers are receiving the support they both want and need as well as empowering them to make it happen. For example, four sub-committees may include the following: Peer Workshops, Reflective Practices, Peer Observations, and Help Desk. I will explain what each of these entailed, what kind tasks teachers performed, and how the committees worked together to provide these “services” to their fellow colleagues. One benefit of encouraging various types of PD is that it can inspire action research projects amongst teachers as they interact, discuss, and reflect with each other.
Date and Time: January 28, 11:00
Speaker(s): Dr. Jennifer Yphantides
Title: EFL teachers’ experiences with neurodiversity (Presentation)
Abstract: This narrative research study explores English foreign language (EFL) teachers’ experiences with neurodiverse students at the tertiary level in Japan and their qualitatively-reported levels of self-efficacy for inclusive practice. Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacywas used as a framework for interpreting teachers’ interview data. Findings indicate that EFL teachers at the tertiary level in Japan lack training for working with neurodiverse students, their self-efficacy for creating inclusive classrooms is relatively low, and they lack communication with other institutionally-based professionals who could support them. The practical implications of this study are that EFL teachers in the Japanese context should be afforded additional training and issues related to the stigma of neurological differences need to be addressed in order to facilitate discussions between teachers and students about curricular accommodations or modifications.
Date and Time: January 30, 15:00