2012 Fukuoka JALT Conference and Educational Materials Expo

Writer(s): 
Kate Parkinson, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka JALT Program Chair

 

  • 2012 Fukuoka JALT Conference and Educational Materials Expo
  • Sunday, October 28th
  • 9:00 ~ 19:00
  • Seinan University, Fukuoka

For most JALT members, the year revolves around the national conference in the autumn. For many of us, it’s the first date to be penciled into the new calendar, top of the list of places to send presentation abstracts, and the final destination for the annual university domestic conference allowance. The result is an entertaining and invigorating three days of presentations, workshops, and socials, during which like-minded teachers and researchers renew old connections and make new ones. Face it; it’s fun!

At work, however, I’m surrounded by teachers and researchers who, for one reason or another, never get to attend the national conference. Family obligations prevent many teachers from taking off for a long weekend out of town, while others juggle multiple part-time jobs that do not provide research or conference budgets.

Fukuoka JALT tries to bring a little of the atmosphere of the national conference to more of our members with an annual one-day conference. This year we are pleased to welcome Marjo Mitsutomi as our Plenary Speaker. Professor Mitsutomi, of Akita International University, will be conducting one of the Featured Speaker Workshops at JALT2012, and we’re delighted that she has agreed to come and present at our conference, too. Her observations on common motivators shared by successful second language learners from around the world are relevant to teachers in all situations.

In addition to Professor Mitsutomi coming all the way from Akita, we are pleased to welcome presenters from as far afield as Korea, Malaysia, and the UK, as well as from Saitama, Hyogo, Chiba, Hiroshima, and Kitakyushu. In total, there will be around 40 presenters at this year’s conference. The topics are similarly diverse, including CALL, intercultural communication, vocabulary acquisition, teaching in public schools, and many more. From the beginning, we consciously avoided assigning any particular theme to our conference in the hope that potential contributors would feel neither pressured nor excluded by any sense of obligation to make their preferred topic fit. The resulting diversity of proposals we received has led to an eclectic mix of presentations that should appeal to the widest possible audience. Besides bringing a taste of JALT 2012 to Fukuoka, we’re trying to provide professional development opportunities to teachers in sectors other than college and university. To this end we have received koen-meigi from the Fukuoka City Board of Education, and the Fukuoka International Exchange Foundation. With these certificates, teachers employed in public schools can receive a day off in lieu of attending our conference on a Sunday. With this in mind, we re-opened our Call for Presenters, inviting Japanese teachers of English to submit proposals in Japanese. In this way we hope to meet more of our Japanese colleagues and hear about the issues surrounding their jobs.

Another desired outcome of the conference is to foster closer ties with other professional organizations. This year we have given a 90-minute time slot to the local ETJ Chapter. To many observers, JALT is viewed as the organization for university teachers, and ETJ the organization for teachers of children. While the respective membership lists of each organization might support this notion to some extent, neither organization seeks to exclude anyone, and cross-participation in local events such as this should ensure that all local teachers and researchers benefit from a variety of professional development opportunities.

The 2012 Fukuoka JALT Conference is combined with an Educational Materials Expo. National and local publishers will showcase their latest releases and best sellers in promotional presentations, and their materials will be on display in the main hall throughout the day. Representatives will be on hand to discuss your 2013 curricula and order your inspection copies of textbooks and other materials.

Naturally, our motives aren’t entirely altruistic. We hope that an event such as this will boost our membership and raise our profile in the eyes of local professionals who haven’t felt inclined to come to our monthly meetings. The kind offer by Seinan University to hold the conference on their campus has considerably reduced the cost of hosting such a large event, and affords us the luxury of waiving the usual One-day Membership Fee for non-members. So, if you’re planning to be in the Fukuoka area on October 28, drop in and see us!

Further information and the full program of presentations is available at <fukuokajalt.org>.

 

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