This section contains details of the sessions of excitELT. Both the times and the sessions offered are subject to change, but changes will be kept to a minimum.



Why are we here?

In this punchy, not religious but perhaps overly meta talk the speaker will address issues (big and small) surrounding ELT conferences. The needs and wants of attendees will be considered as will the reasons conferences tend to be the way they tend to be. No wonderful solutions will be offered but food for thought can be expected. 


Writing Process Approach through Technology in EFL Class to Improve Writing Proficiency

In most cases, product-oriented writing approach is still popular in secondary and higher education. Although the writing process is occasionally addressed but the teachers do not always demand the students to go through writing processes. The process of writing is often ignored, and forgotten to be conducted. The processes which are crucial in order to build writing proficiency. This happened mostly due to the time constraint, teachers argue that teaching writing through writing process approach is time-consuming in both preparation and execution. However, with the development of technology in language education field, it is necessary to make the best of technology can offer. This presentation attempts to discuss the prospect of using technology to convey writing process approach in the class in order to omit the time constraint and to improve students’ writing proficiency. This short presentation consists of three parts; the first part discusses brief common writing problem in the teaching context. The second part will discuss on writing process approach and writing process approach through technology, the last part will describe small practical demonstration to convey teaching writing in writing process framework through technology.


Things Teachers Should not Be Afraid to Say to Students

Teachers sometimes feel intimidated by their adult learners and are unable to stand up for their beliefs about language learning. Teachers sometimes need the courage to say 'Drilling the present perfect isn't going to make you good at speaking English' and 'You don't need to know all the words in English', amongst other things.

11:00 – 11:45


Seven Key Success Factors for Learning Design

This talk will look at the principles Service Design Thinking and User Experience Design and think about how we can apply those principles to ELT. We’ll consider how we can design better courses and lessons with more personalization and individualization of learning processes and content with specific focus on current learning contexts and ongoing changes in the learning environment.


Exploring Cultural Bumps

Participants will be asked to put on their “student hats” as they describe conflicts or misunderstandings they’ve experienced when interacting with different cultures or micro cultures. These “bumps” will be considered different perspectives and we will consider the cultural beliefs that might have guided the behavior of the other humans involved. By talking through these bumps and discussing the bumps of others, participants can expect to gain some insights into their own responses to different cultures and micro cultures. These insights can perhaps be used to guide future decision making and reactions. This will be based on a lesson done with advanced Korean learners of English but perhaps there are implications for learners of various levels. 


Podcasting as Continuing Professional Development

Podcasting is a burgeoning form of continuing professional development (CPD) for English language teachers. For many however, podcasting is still very much an unknown commodity. In producing podcasts, educators have the chance to further maintain an interest in language teaching by partaking in periodical mini research projects with one another, as well as entering into ‘critical co-presenterships’ - a collaboration aiding critical discussion and reflection with the aim of developing one’s professional awareness. Similarly with blogging and other forms of online professional development, podcasts give groups or individuals the chance to expand their personal and professional learning networks by reaching out to a diverse listenership. In this interactive workshop, participants will have the chance to learn more about podcasting as a mode of CPD in ELT, watch a live podcast being made, and understand more about the practicalities and technicalities behind producing a podcast. The session will end with participants forming small groups with one another and setting about recording their own show using the critical co-presentership model. It is hoped that this workshop will pique attendees interest in and awareness of podcasting for CPD, giving attendees the impetus to go out and develop their own podcasting projects.


Fluency Experiment: Reflection-In-Action

Workshop facilitators: Kayoko Yamauchi, Anna Bordilovskaya

Nation (1996) has developed a number of principles that should be met to make an activity effective for improving learners’ fluency, such as familiarity with the topic, vocabulary and structures; focus on meaning; some kind element of encouraging learners’ higher than a normal way performance. There are numerous activities that meet Nation’s principles and help developing speaking fluency. In this workshop we invite you to try and critically evaluate 4/3/2 fluency activity developed by Maurice (1983) and widely discussed by Paul Nation (1996). We suggest experimenting together with a number of its variations in order to brainstorm how the activity can be tweaked as we reflect on the needs of your learners with various levels of proficiency and motivation. We will have 3 rounds playing with a number of variables in the activity

1. Time pressure: 4/3/2, 3/2/1, 1/2/3, 2/2/2.
2. Content: individual brainstorming, pre-reading, visuals, working with a partner, no prep.
3. Listeners’ participation: reactions only (with/without cards), asking questions, assigned communication skill (Checking Understanding, Agreeing or Disagreeing).
4. Application of fluency for developing different skills.

1. Maurice, K. (1983). The fluency workshop. TESOL Newsletter, 17(4), 29.
2. Nation, P. (1996). The four strands of a language course. TESOL in Context, 6(1), 7.
3. Farrell, T.S.C. (2016). The practices of encouraging TESOL teachers to engage in reflective practice: An appraisal of recent research contributions. Language Teaching Research

12:00 – 12:45


Teaching Adaptation and Accommodation Skills to the International Communicator 

With English being used as the global language of trade, education and science, English users of different cultural norms and language competence are having to find ways of successfully communicating with each other across the borders. It’s time for English language teaching to go beyond the teaching of grammar and lexis and include communication training. The ability to adapt and accommodate the people we speak to can oil the wheels of international communication and also help build better working relationships. Using roleplays, critical thinking activities, and a touch of drama, Chia will explore some ways to help learners develop an awareness of different communication styles and cultural expectations, spot a communication breakdown when it happens, and become better at communicating internationally.


Thinking and Acting Safely on Social Media

Social networks have now become an indispensable part of teenagers’ lives, an online habit that has its flipside: articles often appear in the media reporting about school children who get into trouble on social media. In this session the presenter will acquaint the audience with a course on social media safety that was designed specifically for high school students in Tokyo. The main focus of this course was to help students make smart choices in their communication online, critically look at sources of information, be aware of online ethics and copyright issues while creating their own content. Participants of this workshop will have an opportunity to experience the course tasks and activities themselves, evaluate their own digital citizenship literacy, and get ideas on integrating this important topic into their classes.


Students' Motivation: The gap between theories and practices

"Motivation" is definitely not a new idea to ELT practitioners, but it is one of the “uncharted territories” – typical PGCE courses, for instance, do not include motivation in the curriculum. Why is it not included? Is it not important? Or is it impossible to adopt the so-called motivation theories in an ELT classroom?

This hangout aims at facilitating a discussion on motivation, firstly by introducing some recent motivation-relation theories, e.g. L2 Motivation (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2013), Investment (Norton & Darvin, 2015) and Desire (Motha & Lin, 2014), then attempting to explain why there seems a huge gap between these theories and classroom practices.

This hangout targets at anyone who is interested in knowing more on “motivation” as theories in ELT.


Observations and Feedback

Managing the observation and feedback cycle is a key part of the job for anyone involved in teacher training and development. With observers frequently being experienced teachers, it is an area in which there is little explicit training or support. Most start observing by 'shadowing' a more experienced observer and following the procedures already in place. There is little room for critical reflection in such arrangements and thus little room for observer development in the long run. Opportunities for teacher educators to meet and share ideas are also rare.

This discussion-based session is an opportunity for those involved in (or interested in becoming involved in) teacher observations and feedback to consider questions about observation and feedback, as well as share ideas/practice.  Sample discussion points include:

- the use of observation criteria
- the language used when giving feedback
- the usefulness of the 'feedback sandwich'
- what not to do

The session will conclude with a discussion of whether an online community of practice can be established, whether this is useful, practical or of interest, and how it might be done.

1:00 – 1:30


Getting Emotional about Emotions in ELT

The emotions of English language teachers have traditionally been ignored by researchers and training programs alike. Yet these uncharted waters have recently begun to be explored, and findings are increasingly complementing our understanding of the cognitive and motivational dimensions of teaching. Research has, for example, highlighted the crucial and complex role that emotions play in teachers' decision making, sense of identity, well-being, classroom practices and classroom outcomes, and it is surprising therefore that interest in emotions in teaching remains on the periphery. Here, the presenter will outline some of the important discoveries to date in teacher emotion research with relation to ELT, while further considering where we may go next. In doing so, he hopes to raise awareness of the need to learn more about teachers' emotions.


Culture as Practical Sense in EFL

Many theorists argue that learners need to be competent in the culture of the target language so that they can communicate appropriately within contexts. However, discussions on culture in the ESL literature typically focus on the sociolinguistic ‘what and how’ of particular cultural contexts, rather than the instrumental value that learning through culture may provide. The current presentation argues that culture can also be an important resource for understanding how language plays out in particular contexts. As such, it is valuable for students to step outside the comfort zone of the classroom to experience language in the real world. This concept is rationalized by drawing an analogy between how the rules of a particular sport are successfully exploited, bent and broken in the context of a game, and how classroom grammar, vocabulary, cultural aphorisms learnt in the language classroom may actually work in the outside world. From this we can see that learning culture is not only important in the sense of understanding what people from other cultures are likely to do, but perhaps more importantly, that it provides a practical sense for how to organize, comprehend and act within what could be an otherwise incomprehensible flow of linguistic information.


Rethinking Our Role as Teachers

This short talk will look at the key features of what makes people effective international communicators and challenge conventional thinking around the role of the language teacher.

I’ll identify a number of key areas which are not specifically related to language learning or acquisition, such as, cultural sensitivity and awareness; flexible thinking and behaviour; the ability to recognise the need to adapt one’s style of giving feedback, mediating conflict or influencing, and so on.

The talk will provoke reflection on what we do as teachers, what we should be doing, and if we need to rethink our approaches to helping our learners.

1:30 – 2:30


2:30 – 3:15


Who’s feeling CLILish?

 Content and Language Integrated Learning has been the new, new thing for long enough in Europe that it seems mainstream. At least it seems that way from the Tokyo perspective. But it is just taking off in Japan and other parts of Asia. How does is translate? Does it translate? When CLIL gets transplanted from European mainly primary and secondary education to Japanese higher education, what happens to it? I’m trying to figure that out, and so are my colleagues. And, every time we discuss it we keep referring to things as “CLILish”. With the inaugural meeting of the Japan CLIL Pedagogy Association on 15 April 2017, all things CLIL are likely to get a bit more of a local formulation. Are the borders about to get drawn? What makes something CLILish enough? And, who gets to decide?


A Glimpse into a Reflective Practice Group Meeting

The term reflective practice (RP) has long been a buzzword in our profession, with many teachers voluntarily reflecting on their classroom experiences by writing teaching journals or blogs. Another powerful route available for reflective practice is teacher reflection groups which provide non-judgemental spaces for meaningful group reflection and support. In this hangout, the presenters will acquaint the audience with their experience of initiating and managing a group based in Tokyo. After a VERY brief introduction into the core principles of the group, all participants will experience what a typical RP group meeting is.


The Role-Play Spectrum

 English language teachers comes across a variety of role-plays over the course of their career. However, each teacher has a unique relationship with the idea of using role-plays in their classes - while some use them for script-based drilling (which doesn’t always motivate their students in the way that proponents of drama promise it should), others feel overwhelmed by the open communication and improvisation that some role-plays entail. 

The workshop will provide the participants with hands-on activities that will make them aware of the drama continuum that underlines all drama activities. This awareness will help them choose appropriate role-plays based on their lesson/course objectives and the characteristics of their learners. The workshop will also introduce a repertoire of drama activities that can be used to extend, deepen, and review role-plays.

3:30 – 4:15


Making ‘McEnglish’ More Appetizing: A discussion on developing pedagogy and research in eikaiwa schools

In my hangout I wish to open up a discussion for educators who have experience teaching in an eikaiwa context.  My hope is that we will be able to share ideas concerned with plausible steps that could be taken in order to stimulate both improvements in classroom practice and an increase in research carried out on this largely overlooked educational sector. Research on eikaiwa is scarce, particularly classroom level action research, and parallels have been drawn by a number of writers between eikaiwa teaching and the fast food industry: turning out a cheap product lacking nutrition and served by poorly trained foreign help (Appleby, 2013; McNeill, 2004). By discussing ways motivated eikaiwa instructors can navigate the wide range of contextual constraints that often hamper sound pedagogical practice, it is my hope that we can affect change in classrooms that have to date been abandoned as lost causes and make what millions of learners are consuming a little more nutritious.


The Gist Is in the Detail: Working on listening

 Listening is a skill that many learners have trouble with. This is particularly true in contexts where grammar and reading are prioritised, like many of those in Asia. To work on this, almost all coursebooks have listening comprehension exercises. A standard procedure with these involves setting the context, then working on gist listening skills before moving on to more detailed listening. However, this ignores the phonological mechanics of listening, which often go untaught.

This session looks at what those mechanics are and some ideas to work on them. Following a brief outline of some key phonological concepts, we will work through three short, simple and practical ideas that can be incorporated into any listening work. Those attending will try out the activities and discuss their effectiveness for classroom practice. There will also be opportunities to share related techniques.


Peer-Generated Vocabulary: Testing to increase motivation and learning outcomes

This workshop will describe and demonstrate a range of teacher-designed but student-generated vocabulary tests that can be successfully incorporated into a wide range of language classes. These tests were designed to offer not only the benefits of test-enhanced learning (Butler, 2010), but also to increase time-on-task, and motivation for deliberate vocabulary study. While vocabulary is widely believed to be one of the most important factors for successful language comprehension and use (Nation, 2013), it is often difficult to motivate learners to devote the considerable amount of time and effort needed to master the thousands of words needed for successful performance in the target language (Schmitt, 2008). The peer-to-peer tests demonstrated in this workshop have been proven to increase motivation and time on task (Wilkinson, 2015), and are quick and simple to administer. These tests can be used with students at any language level, in any class size, and with any vocabulary items, even those self-selected by learners. After being introduced to the tests, workshop participants will be asked to discuss how these tests may fit in to the language courses they are responsible for, and will also be given an opportunity to try out the tests for themselves.


Teaching Critical Reading

This session is an abridged version of a class taught to my Critical Reading and Writing module that I have been developing this semester. Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in activities that promote critical reading and authentic discussion based around newspaper articles.

4:30 — 5:15


Getting Started with Student-Created Content

There are compelling reasons to get students involved in creating original content in class -- increased motivation, learner autonomy, authentic language use, and building critical and creative thinking skills. There are also some legitimate concerns -- projects that focus on things other than language learning, activities that take too much long when contact time is limited, and are beyond students' abilities to complete using English. With smart parameters and simple guidelines, it's possible to get the benefits of both student involvement and excellent language skill building. In this workshop you'll try out three types of activities -- manipulatives, board games, and found stories -- that enable students to go from participant to creator, that work for both small and large classes, and are adaptable for any age or language level. Come prepared to play!


ELT in Large-Size Classes

Are you currently teaching English in large-sized classes with more than 30 students per class? Do you want to brainstorm what ELT can do to make our language classrooms better? If so, let’s discuss the effective strategies to cope with particular challenges in this learning environment. Considering a quality language-learning environment, the discussion of this hangout session focuses mainly on making large-sized classes more communicative and student-centered.

In the session, we will discuss the following:
- your classrooms (sizes and layouts)
- challenges of teaching a large class
- ideas from published articles on teaching large classes
- your ideas of teaching a large class
- sharing your gains from this session


Pronunciation and Listening for Global Communicators

This workshop is aimed at teachers interested in addressing the needs of students who use English as a lingua franca (ELF), i.e. as a common language, e.g. between a Japanese speaker and a German speaker. The session aims to raise awareness of the varieties of Englishes around the world and the key aspects of pronunciation necessary for intelligible communication. It will focus on the importance of communication as a ‘two-way street’, i.e. that students need to develop both active listening and speaking skills. Teachers will leave the session with practical lesson ideas to:

- design appropriate listening exercises for ELF users
- select pronunciation exercises specifically for Japanese users of ELF
- improve students’ use of communication strategies (e.g. signalling non-comprehension and paraphrasing)

The workshop will also demonstrate ways to develop flexible listening skills, to foster a positive attitude towards accent variation. Teachers will receive outline lesson templates and materials to adapt and use in their own classes. They will have the opportunity to participate in activities to experience how they work in practice.



The Same Maps Keep Taking Me to the Same Places

“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
― C.S. Lewis

How are we supposed to explore uncharted territories if the terrain of English language teaching--and education in general--is already littered with maps, charts, rubrics, schemas, and learning outcomes statements? As useful as some of these might be, every time we structure our thinking in one way we tend to close off other routes to understanding. In this ten minute espresso shot, I’d like to walk through a few well-worn metaphors that we find underpinning research, papers, and classroom practice. How good are they really? Are these our best choices? Have we accepted judgements we might object to? And, might we do better by designating one or two to be, “considered harmful,” and long overdue for replacement? I hope to leave the ExcitELT participants ready to discard some baggage on the next journey.


Play and Creativity in Language Learning

Based on my classroom research and exploration of the literature on play, creativity, and functional language learning, I hope to share ideas about how and why play, especially playful collaboration, has a place in language classrooms. For example, when learners are focused on constructing an idea that is new and valuable to them and others, they are making their second language use more authentic to them and thus internalizing the language more. This connects to the concept of creative automaticity, in which procedural language learning through repetition takes precedence and occurs in the background while learners are ostensibly just playing around with the language. In my presentation, I hope to provide brief, helpful explanations of the key concepts involved as well as offer quick ideas about how to apply all of this in the classroom. I will draw upon my own published work on playful and creative activities and their observed effects on learners in my classroom.


Designing EFL Materials that Work

'Let’s Go' has the distinction of being the first EFL course book series for children, and of remaining one of the world’s best-selling course books through four editions over 25+ years. As co-author, I've seen trends come and go in materials design for young learners, but some fundamentals have withstood the test of time. I will talk about these in terms of guidelines that can help teachers create effective EFL materials, whether for children in your own classes or for children in classrooms around the world.



This special session will be a chance to reflect on everything you’ve learned from the day with some of your peers.