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Newsletter No. 27 - December 2019  Download (available here)

JALT CEFR & LP SIG Newsletter No. 27 - December 2019

 Dear members of the CEFR & LP SIG,

 The year-end is approaching, and this newsletter edition is to reflect on 2019 and look forward to 2020. In November 2019 JALT International was held in Nagoya with a lot of presentations by our members. This was really wonderful to see. Thank you to all of you engaging and presenting your research and your practices at JALT! Some highlights are shown on the next page.

 In December a joint event was held with the NARA chapter and CEFR & LP SIG, with presentations by Jack Bower (Tezukayama University) and Gary Cook (Hiroshima Bunkyo University). This was the second joint event of our SIG this year and a great success again. Thanks to the NARA chapter’s Leigh McDowell to organize this wonderful event!

 CEFR & LP SIG did not have many events this year, but as a SIG we were actively engaged throughout the year. For details, please see the report in Newsletter 26. This edition is only to report on recent events. This newsletter will mainly display the results of the survey (page 4-7) in November among our members. Thank you for taking part in the survey, which showed clear results important for our future planning. We would like to share the results with all our members.

 We look forward to 2020 with its events: PanSIG in Niigata in May, CEFR & CLIL workshop/symposium in Akita in October, JALT Annual Conference 2020 in November and other events of CEFR & LP SIG with other organizations.

 Until now, the SIG Forum was used as a place to inform our members about our research projects, going from research to practice. Starting in 2020 we would like to open the SIG Forum at PanSIG and JALT Annual Conference as a real FORUM, as a place where SIG-members can meet, exchange, share, and discuss on the CEFR and CEFR/CV. Each Forum will have a theme and we invite all members to present case studies from their practices in the Forum. It should be a place to meet and go from practice to research. To do so, the SIG Forum will have a different deadline than the regular deadline for vetted submissions .

(1) the theme of the Forum at PanSIG is “Tasks” and submission is by February 20th

(2) the theme of the Forum at JALT Annual is Mediation and submission is by April 20th

 If you would like to organize a joint event with the CEFR&LP SIG, please contact one of our officers. We ask all our members to become involved with organizing meetings and mini-conferences and by contributing to our newsletter. We’d love your cooperation to make this happen.

Best wishes for the year-end and a Happy New Year 2020 to all our members! Thank you for supporting JALT CEFR&LP SIG! 宜しくお願い致します。

Gabriela Schmidt

Your coordinator on behalf of all officers

Contents of Newsletter 27           

  1. JALT Annual Conference 2019                                
  2. Joint event with Nara Chapt
  3. Survey among CEFR&LP SIG members – results               
  4. CEFR Journal – Research and Practice       
  5. Events in 2020
    5.1 Pan SIG 
    5.2 JALT Annual
    5.3 CEFR-J
    5.4 CEFR&LP SIG events
    5.5 International Conferences
  6. Special Recommendation NEW FEATURE !
  7. At a glance

JALT Annual Conference 2019

In November JALT International 2019 took place in Nagoya are there were a lot of presentations by our members. Thank you to all of you for engaging and presenting your research and your practice beside the CEFR & LP SIG combined SIG Forum and AGM.

The Best of JALT 2019 of CEFR & LP SIG was granted to Timothy Wilson for his poster presentation at JALT 2018. Congratulations!

The photo (see pdf version) shows the ceremony in Nagoya on November 2nd, 2019 with Timothy Wilson (left), JALT president Richmond Stroupe (middle), and Malcolm Wayne (right).

Who will become the next Best of JALT 2020 for CEFR & LP SIG?

Presentations and publications in 2019 are eligible: SIG-members presentation at JALT events: Pan SIG, JALT Annual, SIG or Chapter events, or presenters at CEFR&LP SIG event or publications.

 These are the following presentations for 2020:

(1) Colin Thompson & Tim Woolstencroft (JALT)                         (2) Monika Szirmai (JALT)

(3) Rebecca Schmidt & Ellen Head (PanSIG)                         (4) Gary Cook (JointEvent)

(4) Rebecca Schmidt, Alan Simpson & Ellen Head (JALT)   (6) Motoko Teraoka (JALT)

(7) Ian Randall & Tyson P. Umberger (JALT). - Are there any presentations or publications in 2019 needed to be considered, please notify me by April 30th, 2020, to prepare the voting.

2015: Sergio Mazzarelli – 2017: Jack Bower – 2018: Yukie Saito – 2019: Timothy Wilson - >


2. Joint event with Nara Chapter

 On December 7th, 2019 a joint event of JALT Nara chapter and CEFR & LP SIG took place at Nara Women’s University from 14:00 to 18:00. The event had the theme “Language Frameworks in Action”.

 Jack Bower (Tezukayama University, Nara) Suggestions and resources for using the CEFR in language education

The Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) has become increasingly influential in foreign language education around the world. However, many language teachers remain unfamiliar with the CEFR and unsure of how it can be used to improve foreign language curricula and classroom practice. This presentation will give a brief overview of the CEFR followed by succinct explanations of four major uses the CEFR for language teachers. (abstract shortened from the original)


Gary Cook (Hiroshima Bunkyo University) The CEFR Shuffle: Getting Familiar with Can Do Descriptors

While staff at Hiroshima Bunkyo University had participated in CEFR-focused professional development, little had been done for students to raise their awareness of the CEFR. This workshop will introduce the results of students’ performance from the ‘CEFR-shuffle’ over 3 years, and ask participants to take part in a descriptor-sorting exercise in which they can experience how useful this activity could be for themselves and their students to become familiarized with the CEFR. (abstract shortened from the original)

 A BIG, BIG THANK YOU to Leigh and all Nara chapter officers to make this a great success!


  1. Survey among CEFR&LP SIG members – results


The survey was conducted between November 12th and November 30th, 2019 among CEFR & LP SIG members. One third of the members responded to the survey.


Questions 1 to 6 asked about members’ knowledge, experience, and interest in CEFR. All responses indicated good or very good knowledge and most use the CEFR. Seventy percent use the English version, others the Japanese or other language versions.

Regarding the purpose for using CEFR, most answered (1) ‘developing teaching materials’, followed by (2) ‘course design’, (3 and 4) ‘curriculum design’ even with ‘assessment’ and fifth, and finally (5) ‘developing a portfolio’.

The aspects of the CEFR which members want to know more about, are first and foremost ‘2018 CEFR Companion Volume (which complements and expands upon the original CEFR volume)’, second ‘How to use the CEFR for assessment’, followed by third and fourth  ‘How to use the CEFR promoting learner autonomy’ and ‘Reference Level Descriptions like (English Profiles, i.e. linguistic material at each level)’. About a third of the respondents chose ‘How to use the CEFR for teaching material development’ while one quarter indicated “Illustrative scales (can do statements)’ and ‘How to use the CEFR for curriculum development’.

The combinations of the CEFR with CLIL and CEFR with ICC (Intercultural Competence) drew a lot of interest as well.

 Below you will find the results of the survey in detail given to question (7) to (12) and the comments (13). The quotes are not edited, only similar quotes are collected and separated by ; and /. For better identification and to be able to address the feedback, the numbers were added. For privacy reason names were omitted.

 (7) What do you want our newsletter to include? Recent newsletters have focused primarily on event announcements and conference / presentation reports.

(7-1) The newsletter is fine as it is. It's a volunteer effort. / I appreciate all that you do to get simply announcements out. You could invite readers to sending their CEFR-related questions and then in the following newsletter post responses.

(7-2) relevant literature-reviews

(7-3) CLIL-related events

(7-4) Conferences with a strong CEFR focus around the world; / International conferences related to CEFR

(7-5) Updated info on CEFR;

(7-6) 'CEFR resource of the month' or something similar would be useful.

(7-7) Activity reports of members; / Research and practice examples of members; / Current interests of members; / Outline of CEFR based lessons and mini-lessons; / Reports from people adopting/adapting CEFR to their situations;

(7-8) Why not invite SIG members to submit short, highly focused contributions of between 200 and 2000 words?  These might include critical feedback on specific points in the CEFR, the CEFR CV, and recent developments; practical ideas for teaching, learning, and assessment implementing specific concepts from the Framework; and proposals for tentative 'can-do' statements for competences, activities, and strategies, carefully distinguishing between the Framework and its many possible different implementations. The contributions might resemble footnotes or abstracts and could explore the field in all its dimensions, e.g., "mediation strategies", "pragmatic competences", "general competences", "social domains of language use", "plurilingualism and code-switching in Japan". *Newsletter content may not always require peer review, but a careful vetting of contributions remains a necessary precaution for any scholarly publication. With quality secured at an early stage, some contributions could develop into peer-reviewed articles for the Journal.

(7-8) Maybe have a column on classroom tips for using the CEFR, in which teachers could share short examples of how they have successfully applied the CEFR in their context.


(8) At the JALT International Conference, what topics do you want to see covered in the CEFR&LP-SIG Forum?

(8-1) I think this year some attendees were a bit confused, because the JALT schedule said the forum was about autonomy, but actually our forum turned out to be a bit of a CEFR free for all. Maybe we should base the forum around a specific question related to the CEFR next time, or base it on a single specific topic, to make it more precise.

(8-2) Writing

(8-3) How to use Mediation descriptors; / Mediation in CEFR/CV; / New possibilities of the CEFR/CV

(8-4) Thematic topics as ELP, CLIL, teaching material

(8-5) An exchange of members approaches to the CEFR; Practical application of CEFR

(8-6) Not just practical matters regarding teaching, but more focus on curriculum development, assessment, and above all research - including issues surrounding publication (CEFR Journal); little workshops producing abstracts for an upcoming volume might be an idea.

(8-7) General topics to help get people interested in the CEFR (benefits of using it).

(8-8) Descriptor shuffle; hands on materials design; how does increasing availability of big data (like learner corpora) affect what the CEFR could do or move the goalposts for CEFR validation;

(8-9) CEFR and ESP

(8-10) (a) "the social domains of language use: how 'the needs' of learners are identified and conceptualized"; (b) "the CEFR : a common framework for autonomous research and public justification?" (c) practical examples of how the CEFR's multidimensional approach can support curriculum development for CLIL and L2-medium instruction; (d) developing pragmatic competences using concepts and categories from the CEFR; (e) practical ideas for mediation activities and strategies; (f) "a framework of reference versus specific implementations"; (g) "the CEFR and translanguaging: the plurilingual versus the multilingual"; (h) "'paid to know': CLIL versus L2-medium instruction, and how clarity in CEFR-related concepts and categories reduces the risk of misdirected resources"

(8-11) I think a variety was presented. I'm interested in better assessing students, so assessment is an area I'd like go into more.


(9) At regional JALT events and/or the PAN-SIG conference, what CEFR-related topics would you like us to cover? What format do you prefer: presentation / workshop / panel discussion?

(9-1) Different topics: curriculum, can do, like the one at Nara in December 2019

Something, narrow, specific and practical. For example how to use portfolios in the classroom, or how to use English profile etc.

(9-2) Parallel poster sessions; / panel discussion 2 counts and/or // Workshop 5 counts; / presentations 2/ round-table discussion: All good depends what presenters want to do

(9-3) CEFR-related resource workshop

(9-4) More specific/'advanced' topics at Pan-SIG.

(9-5) CEFR and ESP


(10) Are you interested in writing an article for our online Journal, CEFR Journal (the on-line journal published by the CEFR&LP SIG)? If yes, on what topic?

(10-1) On CLIL, how to design CLIL lessons

(10-2) CEFR/CV and CLIL

(10-3) The CEFR in Japan and East-Asia

(10-4) May be on classroom interaction and CEFR use

(10-5) Yes, but I am too busy now. I may be able to write something either in Feb/March or in the summer next year. / Not yet; / Yes in principle, but I don't know on what topic just yet

(10-6) yes. assessment for learning. Maybe mediation.

(10-7) Not yet, but some day CEFR and ESP

(10-8) Yes, About CEFR/ CV and its application in Japanese contexts

(10-9) Yes: "show-and-tell" examples of classroom practice and points for discussion and research, e.g., (a) "continuity in genre across cultures: how awareness and control of academic writing in L1 influences the equivalent in L2 and vice versa"; (b) "tentative 'Can-Do' statements for communication tasks involving orthoepic control"

(10-10) Yes. It's a bit vague, but (1) creating a CEFR-aligned Listening curriculum. And/or (2) Creating a CEFR-aligned placement test for non-English majors


(11) What services could our SIG provide that are currently missing?

(11-1) It’s ok. A newsletter feature with a list of recommended youtube talks on CEFR might be good.

(11-2) More members involved;/ Platform for members to exchange and support each other;

(11-3) More practical advice to institutions: at meso AND meta level.

(11-4) system to get members more involved in our SIG

(11-5) Sharing cases on CEFR practice among the members

(11-6) A secure online environment makes other services possible, such as online discussions and polling. *Unfortunately, as of mid-November, the login function on the SIG web pages appeared not to be working.

(11-7) Difficult to answer as I'm relatively new to the SIG. I am impressed so far with how active this SIG appears to be.

(11-8) I think you're all doing a marvelous job!


(12) Do you any comments about this questionnaire (missing questions etc.) 

(12-1) Good idea

(12-2) no

(12-3) It's grand. Thanks.

(12-4) The committee put effort into being open to members’ ideas, which is appreciated.

(12-5) Question (5) asks for suggestions on which aspects of the CEFR to discuss and includes as examples of discussion topics the vertical scales “A1 to C2” and illustrative descriptors. Why not offer further examples highlighting other dimensions of the Framework for which scale-specific illustrative descriptors are not always available? (See the suggestions for the Newsletter at (7) above.) Doing so could enable productive discussion of topics otherwise difficult to capture and formulate.

(12-6) Perhaps you could ask people where they would be interested in helping the SIG. I've only been in this SIG about a year or so and am not certain where you might want help or where you need help. Are there easy things a person could do to get a taste of the SIG without committing too much time?


Please feel free to give us any comments on our SIG.

(13-1) Continue for more than 10 years!

(13-2) More years of productive exchange

(13-3) I feel that the SIG has done some amazing things for the language teaching community in Japan. Keep it up!

(13-4) Well done.

(13-5) Thanks always for your leadership!

(13-6) I attended the discussion at JALT and was impressed by the diversity and in some cases level of expertise. Also the fact some people are coping with an institutional requirement to use the CEFR. So the SIG might be able to create a discussion list which could be used for q and a or brainstorming.  Or recommend an international one if there is one?

(13-7) Thank you for all of your work over the years to help familiarize people in Japan with CEFR.

(13-8) The SIG has recently seen the launch of the Journal and other important developments; the officers responsible deserve special thanks for their efforts!

(13-9) Appreciate the time and effort the SIG Board puts in to keep this SIG vibrant and active. Thank you.


Some of the ideas shared are really practical and easy to include (e.g. (7-2), (7-4), (7-6)). How to get members to submit to the newsletter and other events is the question I have had in mind ever since I took over as coordinator. Every member is at any time more than welcome to submit to the newsletter and take office and to get involved in the SIG. The newsletter is aimed to support the communication inside of the SIG and inside of JALT. Please, get involved. It should be giving and taking. Please write what you want to read. Share your ideas and your thoughts!!!

Yet, one item to address is the homepage which is progressing slower than expected. I have to apologize and will work on it. That is the answer to comment (11-6). It had been planned to create a space in the homepage where members can discuss and exchange. There is no login for members yet. The login visible is for administrators only. We desperately need someone to help out with the HP.

 Thank you for answering the survey! I appreciate every single comment. We received insights to plan events next year.


For the events see the pdf version or on this homepage Events.



This online toolkit is supported by KAKEN Grant-in-Aid project no. 20K00759, no. 19K00808 and no. 16K02835 and aims to support teachers of all foreign languages in Japan in using the CEFR and CEFR/CV efficiently.