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◆◆Principal FLP SIG activities in 2011◆◆

 

April 24th:Back to School event: hosted by JALT’s Osaka Chapter, in collaboration with the FLP SIG and Task Based Learning SIG, Call for papers deadline by March 20th (see below)

 

May 21-22, at Shinshu University, Nagano: JALT Pan-SIG Conference 

Submission Deadline: Feb 15th

 

June 10-12, at the Ramada Osaka: Asian Conference on Language Learning (ACLL)

Submission for FLP SIG colloquium: March 15th (see below)

 

June 19th Nakasendo Conference at Dokkyo University High School, Tokyo

Submission for FLP SIG session: April 8th(see below)

 

The FLP SIG are looking into hosting Mike Byram for an evening talk on either June 27th or 28th in Osaka; more details to follow.

 

November 18th-21st :37th Annual International JALT Conference 

National Olympics Memorial Center, Yoyogi, Tokyo

Deadline for submission to FLP SIG workshop/forum: April 1st

Deadline for general submissions: April 22nd (see below)

 

???2011 Seminars/Workshops???

Some SIG members have suggested holding a seminar like event regarding assessment or other related topics. These went well the first year of the SIG (in Osaka and Tokyo). If you have any suggestions regarding themes, dates or venues for these seminars please reply to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We may hold these in June and/or July.

 

 

JALT 2011

We are suggesting the following activities for the JALT 2011 national conference:

 

◆A FLP SIG workshop with the proposed theme of “Bringing the CEFR into the classroom”. This workshop will involve poster presentations followed by focused discussion and reflection by audience.

 

●If all goes to plan this will be followed by the FLP SIG forum with the theme: “Strategies for bringing the CEFR into the classroom”. This will involve 4 presenters presenting 20 minute presentations (on topics such as those that have been outlined in the previous paragraph) plus discussion.

 

Please send us your ideas (for the “Bringing the CEFR into the classroom” workshop, the “Strategies for bringing the CEFR into the classroom” FLP SIG forum, and any other short or long presentations and/or workshops) by April 1st! Please email MS word documents to Programme chair (Alexander Imig) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please follow these guidelines: titles of no more than 50 characters including spaces. Prepare a summary (maximum of 75 words or 150 Japanese characters) and an abstract (150-250 words or 300-500 Japanese characters).

 

JALT 2011 Website/details for regular submissions here

 

Back to School 2011 – Call for presentations

JALT’s Osaka Chapter, in collaboration with the Framework and Language Portfolio SIG and Task Based Learning SIG, invite submissions for this year’s Back to School event, to be held April 24 at Osaka Gakuin University.

 

Our goal is to exchange a wide range of ideas of practical application on a wide range of topics. Submissions for poster presentations and 25-minute presentations are invited on any topic related to the theory and/or practice related to Task-Based Learning, The Common European Framework, or any topic of interest or practical application to classroom language teachers. Some double time-slots will likely be possible, space permitting.

 

Submissions should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 20, and should include a title of 12 words or less, a summary of 60 words or less, a brief bio blurb including background and place of employment of presenter of 30 words or less, and the type and time of presentation preferred (ie poster presentation, or 25- or 50-minute presentation time-slot).

 

Acll 2011

CONFERENCE THEME: "Connecting Theory and Practice"

June 10-12 2011, at the Ramada Osaka

 

Learning a language something all of us have done with many having learned a second, third, or even fourth language; however, achieving proficiency in a foreign language is not something that can be taken for granted. Instead it is a challenge, and one that language educators are constantly grappling with, as we work to improve our craft and to help our students learn more effectively.The aim of this International Conference is to encourage academics, scholars and practitioners representing a exciting diversity of countries, cultures, and religion to meet and exchange ideas and views in a forum encouraging respectful dialogue. (from conference website: http://acll.iafor.org/index.html)

 

This conference fits very well with the FLP, because the CEFR (and the ELP) give a good model for managing diversity in Asia. Therefore the FLP is capable to present possible solutions at this conference. It would be good for the FLP SIG to organize a colloquium about Multilingualism, with 4 presentations. This conference will give us a good possible of networking. But also the colloquium itself could be an opportunity to expand contacts. It would be good to organize this colloquium with JALP (= Japanese Association of Language Policy, 日本言語政策学会, see: http://homepage2.nifty.com/JALP/). The multilingualism topic is an important topic for both JALP and the FLP SIG. If anyone wants to participate in the colloquium please contact the programme chair (Alexander Imig) at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by March 8th. Please send an abstract of 150-250 words.

 

The Nakasendo Conference, June 19th,2011 at Dokkyo University Junior and Senior High School, Gokokuji, near Ikebukuro (Tokyo)

Nakasendo is an ever-expanding, multi-organizational English conference based on mutual support and collaboration. Initiated Initiated in 2008, it is both an annual event as well as a year-round cooperative online exchange. The theme for the 2011 conference is The Road Less Traveled. It examines previously little-explored and less conventional directions in ELT instruction and research across the board, and the changing scene of ELT, similarly across the board. The Internet, both in its so-called “original” and “Web 2.0” forms, the introduction of mandatory L2 English instruction into elementary school curricula from April 2011, and the introduction of English as a corporate language within companies engaged in business over a number of Japanese industries and markets, are all exerting a profound impact on the shape and direction of ELT instruction and learning throughout the country. The Road Less Traveled shall spotlight new trends, approaches, explorations and reflections on the changing dynamic of our field.

 

The FLP SIG would like to hold a session at this conference, if interest. The proposed theme is “Involving learners with the CEFR”. This workshop will involve poster presentations followed by focused discussion and reflection by audience. This will be very similar to the proposed FLP SIG workshop for JALT 2011 (see page 7), and indeed could used as a fun and invigorating ‘trial run’. For those interested prepare email a summary (maximum of 75 words or 150 Japanese characters) and an abstract (150-250 words or 300-500 Japanese characters) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 8th.

Framework & Language Portfolio SIG Forum at JALT 2011

 

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Sunday, November 20th 2011

Room 410 National Olympics Memorial Center, Yoyogi, Tokyo

37th Annual JALT International Conference (see http://jalt.org/conference)

 

Forum theme: Strategies for bringing the CEFR into the classroom

Overview:

In this forum the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) will be discussed from 4 perspectives: teacher, language tester, researcher and curriculum designer. The teacher will demonstrate how the goal-setting and self-assessment checklists in the European Language Portfolio (ELP) can be adapted and used to develop Japanese university EFL learners’ self-awareness and reflective learning.

The language testing perspective will give a brief overview of how the (English) tests IELTS, BULATS, Cambridge Maine Suite Exams, TOEFL and TOEIC are related to the CEFR and will explain how teaching materials and methods targeting specific CEFR levels and Can-do’s can help to get better test results.

The researcher will introduce basic background knowledge about the CEFR and offer some insights into future research about the CEFR, especially in Japan.

The curriculum designer will summarize how the Foreign Language Center at Tokai University has developed and initiated new CEFR-based Can-Do curricula for two combined-skills courses: Listening and Speaking, and Reading and Writing. Given this experience, he will also contextualize both the challenges and opportunities posed by the inclusion of a CEFR-based Can-Do system in a required university course.

Q&A will take place at the end of this forum.

 

Abstracts of these presentations are found below.

Teacher perspective

  • Presenter: Yoko Sato, Hosei University

 

  • Summary:

This workshop will demonstrate how the goal-setting and self-assessment checklists in the European Language Portfolio (ELP) can be adapted and used to develop Japanese university EFL learners’ self-awareness and reflective learning. After discussing common problems in implementation and possible adaptations, participants will consider the application of the checklists to their own classrooms.

 

  • Abstract:

This workshop will demonstrate how the goal-setting and self-assessment checklists in the European Language Portfolio (ELP) can be adapted and used to develop Japanese university EFL learners’ self-awareness and reflective learning. The presenter will first discuss with participants 1) typical problems encountered in the initial implementation of the checklists in general English classes, 2) need for modifications of the checklists so that they suit the particular context and 3) awareness-raising and practice activities incorporating the checklists. In particular, the importance of providing regular learner training on reflection will be highlighted. The presenter also reports the positive impact of the reflective practice on students’ self-awareness and attitudes to learning observed in her classes. In the latter half of the workshop, the participants will consider the possible application of the checklists and learner training techniques to their own classrooms. This will involve developing a set of can-do statements based on validated ELP.

 

Language Tester perspective

Tony Smith, Osaka University

  • Summary:

The biggest English tests are now linked to CEFR; by acquiring “CEFR abilities” students can improve their scores on any of them. This is because CEFR abilities are a synthesis of important language abilities measured on tests and observed by teachers, and their placement on scales has been statistically validated.

  • Abstract:

IELTS and BULATS test a range of levels and yield scores linked to CEF.  Each test in the Cambridge main suite is designed to let a student prove a specific CEF level.  Educational Testing Services, ETS, have linked TOEIC and TOEFL to the CEF.  The fact that they are all linked to the CEF makes CEF-based teaching and learning practical for virtually any teacher or student concerned about these tests.  Because the CEF has established carefully validated descriptions of what good students can do at each CEF level, both teachers and students can refer to those descriptors when deciding what to teach or study.  There are “can-do” checklists that students and teachers can use to estimate what skills must be acquired to achieve a given CEF level.  By focusing on the can-do’s that the majority of students in a class cannot yet do within a level, a teacher can help students acquire the missing abilities and prove achievement of their target level on a test, especially one designed a priori to measure CEF abilities.  On the other hand, if a student advances in terms of CEF abilities/levels, that progress will be detected by any valid standardized test, including TOEIC and TOEFL.  In this way, CEF allows teachers and students to study efficiently for standardized language tests WITHOUT TEACHING TO THE TEST. (Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to become very familiar with the format of any test, such as by taking practice tests, before test day!).

 

Curriculum Designer Perspective

  • Presenter: Charles Robertson, Tokai University

 

  • Summary:

A growing number of Japanese institutions are adopting CEFR-based Can-Do systems because of world-wide trends in education and recent MEXT guidelines.  The Foreign Language Center at Tokai University has developed and initiated new CEFR-based Can-Do curricula for two combined-skills courses: Listening and Speaking, and Reading and Writing. The panelist will try to contextualize both the challenges and opportunities posed by the inclusion of a CEFR-based Can-Do system on a required university course. (72 words)

世界的な教育の潮流となりつつある「ヨーロッパ共通参照枠(CEFR)」と、それを反映した最近の文部科学省(MEXT)のガイドラインを受けて、多くの日本の教育機関がCEFRのCan-Do項目システムをプログラムに取り入れている。東海大学外国語教育センターでは、2種類の統合スキルコース(「リスニング&スピーキング」及び「リーディング&ライティング」)に対してその基準をCEFRのCan-Do項目に結びつけた新しいカリキュラムを開発・導入した。パネリストは日本の大学の必修コースにCEFRのCan-Do項目を適用するという文脈から、そこで直面した問題点と新しい可能性について説明する。

  • Abstract:

The adoption of a CEFR-based Can-Do curriculum can help institutions attain substantial increases in standardization, accountability and external validity, as called for by new MEXT guidelines. In this sense, Tokai University’s new curriculum has effectively achieved its goal. However, while the new curriculum represents significant gains in institutional control and transparency of learning objectives, these gains have come at a cost to some teachers’ sense of autonomy. Without autonomy, teachers are not able to plan trajectories of learning in negotiation with their students; thus, when implementing CEFR-based curricula, tension between institutional control and perceptions of teacher autonomy may result. The implementation of any new curricula requires a careful balance between program objectives, institutional goals and operational limitations. It also requires mechanisms which will allow individual teachers the opportunity for meaningful input and opportunities to attend faulty development trainings. In both cases, Tokai has been very progressive. Often when implementing CEFR-based Can-Do curricula, universities face new operational challenges. At Tokai, operational issues related to common testing, the processing of individual student reports (based on student self-assessment sheets) and the full adoption of a European Language Portfolio (ELP) system have yet to be fully resolved. The panelist will, however, try to contextualize both the challenges and opportunities posed by the inclusion of a successful CEFR-based Can-Do system on a required university course while explaining the efforts which are currently being made to realize its full potential.

 CEFRのCan-Do項目に基づくカリキュラムの採用は、教育機関にとって、標準化、アカウンタビリティー、外的妥当性の大きな増加をもたらし、それは文部科学省(MEXT)の新しいガイドラインの求めるところである。この意味で東海大学の新しい英語カリキュラムはその目的を効果的に達成したと言える。しかし、新カリキュラムが教育機関としての管理と学習目標の透明性において重要な成果をもたらす一方で、それは教員の一部にとっては自律性の減少と把えられた。教員の自律性が確保されなければ、学生と交渉しながら行う学習活動の方向性を自分で計画できないことになり、このようなカリキュラムの実施に際しては、教育機関の管理と教員の自律性の間に摩擦が起こり得る。いかなるカリキュラムの導入においても、プログラムの到達目標、教育機関の掲げる目標と実行上の制約の間で注意深いバランスを取る必要がある。また、個々の教師が意味のあるフィードバックを返すメカニズムと教員研修に参加する機会も必要である。この両面において東海大学の新カリキュラムは先駆的である。CEFRのCan-Do項目に基づくカリキュラムを導入する場合、多くの大学は新しい実行上の困難に突き当たる。東海大学において、それは統一テストや個々の学生の自己評価リストに基づく申告の処理、そしてヨーロッパ言語ポートフォリオ(ELP)システムの本格的な導入であり、まだ問題は完全には解決していない。パネリストは日本の大学の必修コースにCEFRのCan-Do項目を適用するという文脈から、そこで直面した問題点と新しい可能性について説明すると同時に、この新カリキュラムの可能性を十分に発揮・実現するために現在継続的になされている努力について触れる。

 

Researcher Perspective

  • Presenter:  Alexander Imig, Chukyo University, Nagoya

 

  • Summary

This workshop-part will explain research that has been done to create and maintain the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) as a guiding document. After briefly explaining the central issues for research at the beginning of the CEFR and giving some examples about the research in Europe, some research projects for and in Japan will presented in some detail.

  • 要約

このワークショップの部分は、ヨーロッパ共通参照枠組み(CEFR)を作成し、維持するために行われている研究について説明します。CEFRは2001年後ヨーロッパの多国の言語政策と言語教育の改革のために重要な文書である。

簡潔にCEFRの初めに研究の中心課題を説明し、欧州における研究に関する例を与えた後、日本における研究プロジェクトは、ある程度詳細に紹介される。

 

  • Abstract:

This presentation will demonstrate that continued research is a key-factor for the growing of the Common European Framework for Reference (CEFR) worldwide. The CEFR is in fact a product of a Swiss-research project about English teaching and a compilation of research done by language testing agencies in Europe. For implementation of the CEFR in Europe further research was done. As the research discussed here is closely linked to all previous parts of the forum, it will in a way summarize the whole forum.

Without some research about their own students no teacher can effectively implement ELP-checklist, as Yoko Satos part of the workshop demonstrates.

The part of Tony Smith showed, that the CEFR is useful instrument to relate the lesson contend to widely accepted examinations, while Charles Robertson demonstrated, that it is possible to create a curriculum inside this Framework. I think all three parts showed, that the CEFR has to be adapted to the Japanese situation. This presentation shows two examples, and how adaptation can be done. One high stakes research example, can only be done with sponsors and with a team of researchers. And the other example is more action-research oriented research of a single teacher, which can be done by everyone. The action-research explains (briefly) the creating of tasks for oral communication, taking the can-dos of some scales of the CEFR as a model.  

The final part of this presentation will emphasize that research is needed to create strategies for bringing the CEFR into the Japanese context. This will lead to final part of the forum, a discussion of audience questions and possible future developments.

This online toolkit is supported by KAKEN Grant-in-Aid project no. 16K02835 and aims to support teachers of all foreign languages in Japan in using the CEFR