top of page

2021 Teacher Development Symposium

2021 Teacher Development Symposium Proceedings

(Full document - including introduction and all articles)


Individual Articles

Doing a Doctorate: Three Experiences

Nicholas Bradley, Kevin Ottoson, and Andrew D. Tweed


A Semester of Choice: A Differentiated Approach to Online Learning

Jared Peo


Autonomous Learning: A Case Study of Four University ESL Learners and their Self-Study Skills alongside an English Language for Academic Purposes Course Online

Richard Hill


Japanese University EFL Learners’ Foreign Language Writing Anxiety

Jane Hislop


Incorporating Critical Thinking in Language Classrooms

Wan Jung Amy Lin


The Connection between Language and Culture: How Japanese Culture Affects Learning English

Lidija Elliott

2021 Teacher Development Symposium
                   Recorded sessions

Teacher Development Symposium

Date: Saturday 9th January 2021  

Time: 1:00 - 7:15pm 

Place: Online


2021 Teacher Development Symposium

                           Online via Zoom

          Presentation Information & Schedule


*Although initially planned as an event on campus, the recent increase in the number of COVID cases in Japan, and especially in the Nagoya area, has resulted in this event having to be moved online. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Details of the presentations and the schedule for the 2021 Teacher Development Symposium can be seen below. We would like to thank all teachers and researchers that submitted proposals. 

Zoom links for all presentation rooms can also be found below and are included in the downloadable pdf. 

Invited Speakers

Main Room - 13:00-13:50

Expanding ELT Research Potential through Systems Thinking:

Team Learning and MAP Grammar


Akira Tajino, PhD

This talk introduces systems thinking as a way to enhance ELT research and provide new directions for teaching grammar, using MAP Grammar. Soft systems methodology (SSM) utilizes systems thinking to harness the world views of stakeholders so that ELT research can be approached more holistically. This talk uses team teaching and grammar instruction as examples of research topics that can be developed through SSM. In other words, SSM enabled a reinterpretation of the notion of team teaching into the concept of “team learning”, in which teachers as well as students are included as members of the classroom. In addition, SSM aided in the reinvention of traditional grammar instruction into a two-dimensional approach called MAP Grammar, a meaning-order approach to pedagogical grammar. This new approach can provide the whole picture of English grammar, giving students and teachers a road map to learning and teaching English in a systematic way. It is hoped that this talk will provide some insight and encouragement to enhance future research in ELT.

Akira TAJINO, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, is currently Professor of Educational Linguistics at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. His research interests include classroom research, EAP, and pedagogical grammar. He is a recipient of the JACET (Japan Association of College English Teachers) Award for excellence in teaching (2011) and the JACET Award for excellence in academic publication (2014, 2020). He is the author/editor of more than 20 books, including Team Teaching and Team Learning in the Language Classroom: Collaboration for Innovation in ELT. (Routledge, 2017), A New Approach to English Pedagogical Grammar: The Order of Meanings (Routledge, 2018), and A Systems Approach to Language Pedagogy (Springer, 2019). He has served on the editorial panels of several journals, including ELT Journal (OUP).

Main Room - 16:45-17:30

Evolution of a Global Online Collaboration

Adam Jenkins

This presentation is about collaboration. Covid 19 has seen teachers and students adopting educational technology at an unprecedented rate. This rapid adoption of edtech provides new opportunities for collaborative materials development and teaching. To take advantage of these opportunities it is beneficial to have a shared platform as a starting point. In this presentation, I will describe the evolution of an institution-wide online learning platform built on Moodle. I will outline the various problems encountered while trying to get all students and faculty willing and able to make use of the system, along with the solutions and training used to overcome these obstacles. Also, I will showcase the many benefits that have resulted from this mass collaboration. Later, I will also introduce the global collaborative project that is the International Virtual Exchange Project (IVEProject), which is also built on Moodle. In the IVE Project, students, under the guidance of their teachers, interact in forums with students in many other countries using English to exchange information and ideas. They use text, audio, video and other multimedia to learn about their own and other cultures, authentically using the language they are studying. This global collaboration allows students to travel the world, virtually. 

Adam Jenkins is a lecturer at the Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology where he created and administers the iLearn@SIST e-learning system based on Moodle. In his role as system administrator, Adam oversees nearly 400 online courses taught by more than 60 professors and delivered to over 1,500 students university wide. Adam is also the system administrator for several organisations including the Moodle Association of Japan and the International Virtual Exchange (IVE) Project, a system with over 26,000 users worldwide.

Presentation Schedule

Information about presenters and their presentation abstracts can be seen below the schedule. The schedule (containing Zoom links) is also available for download in pdf format.

Doing a Doctorate: Three Experiences

Nicholas Bradley

Kevin Ottoson

Andrew D. Tweed

Like much of the world, the number of people holding a doctorate in Japan has increased dramatically over the last thirty years. This increase may lead many to consider undertaking doctoral studies to develop their career and keep pace with colleagues. Yet, is this necessary? In this presentation, three teachers who completed their doctoral studies in the last two years will talk about the reasons behind their decision to undertake a doctorate. Two of the teachers completed an EdD, with one teacher completing a PhD. All were completed at different institutions and were done while continuing to full-time work as teachers. After outlining the growing global trend towards doctoral studies and the impact this is having on the job market, the presenters will talk about the requirements and type of institution they studied with, the experience of getting to the end of their course, and the benefits they received from having completed it. With many teachers considering the possibility of doctoral studies, this presentation will offer the experiences and perspectives of three teachers who completed such courses and aims to provide audience members with a clearer picture on whether or not doctoral studies might be right for their situation.

Nicholas Bradley is an associate professor at NUFS. He holds MAs in TESOL and History, and a PhD in Applied Linguistics. He has taught at university in Japan for 10 years and is currently the director of the Core English Program within the School of Foreign Languages at NUFS.


Kevin J. Ottoson is a language instructor at Nanzan University in Nagoya. He holds an Ed.D from the University of New England. His research interests include study abroad and the development and assessment of intercultural competence.


Andrew D. Tweed holds an Ed.D. in TESOL from Anaheim University. He is a lecturer in the World Language Center and coordinator of the Self-Access Center at Soka University in Tokyo. Andrew’s research interests include learner autonomy and psychology in language learning.

A Semester of Choice: A Differentiated Approach to Online Instruction

Jared Peo

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, a small private school in the Tokai area transitioned from face-to-face learning to online instruction. While it may have been deemed a success in many ways, it was difficult to meet the needs of diverse learning groups in such short notice. To meet the needs of students who learn effectively in different ways and have varied learning preferences and multiple intelligences, the presenter modified the design of one online course to offer flexible forms of participation and flexible assignments with various modes of completion. While the main goal behind the changes was to improve students’ language development, the teacher additionally set out to foster student motivation and autonomous learning. The presentation will focus on the instructor’s experience and preliminary findings from a phenomenological case study involving 5-10 participants.

Jared has been teaching EFL/ESL at the university level for over 7 years. His time at NUFS has helped him focus his research and personal development on intercultural competence, motivation, autonomous learning, extensive reading, and study abroad.

Autonomous Learning: A Case Study of Four University ESL Learners and their Self-study Skills alongside an English language Academic Purposes Course Online 

Richard Hill

Students are to balance courses with self-study when attempting to improve their English skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking. However, with the emergence of the novel coronavirus and subsequent restrictions related 

to on-campus learning, students study English online and currently cannot access their tutors for one-to-one council in person. As teachers adapt to online classes, are students able to continue to study English outside of online classes? Based on data collected from four first-year students, this study looks at how they studied and what they did to overcome difficulties they believed were caused by a move to online learning. The study offers insight into what teachers can do to support students who want to support themselves. There are various materials and resources designed for students (unable to study inside a classroom) to give them direction and support in their autonomous learning. Furthermore, students’ opinions from reflections, questionnaires and interviews are offered with information that can assist teachers with assignments they distribute in the future of Academic Purposes courses. Based on the student surveys, our findings suggest that self-study, while complex, can serve to enhance online Academic Purposes courses even under the new time constraints and students’ commitments to studying.

Richard Hill holds an MA in TESOL and has experience in English language teaching ranging from kindergartens, JHSs, HSs, Colleges and Universities. He currently teaches integrated courses at NUFS having previously been a Learning Advisor at Meijo University.

The Impact of Creative Writing on L2 Writer Confidence

Iain Maloney

In 2019, I began teaching a creative writing course at a Japanese university. Earlier studies indicated that students were lacking in confidence over their L2 writing. Over the course of the academic year a study was conducted to evaluate whether creative writing had an impact of their confidence. 


Creative writing was offered as a compulsory elective to third year English majors. 13 students enrolled. Data collection was mixed method. Three times during each semester the students completed a “Language Skills Assessment” a Likert scale questionnaire in English and Japanese which asked them to assess their ability to complete certain tasks in English. Every two weeks (7 times per semester) the students completed a learner diary under free-writing conditions. These were analysed for qualitative content and word count was logged. At the end of the year two semi-structured interviews were conducted with small groups of students.


The results showed that student confidence had increased over the year. Statistical analysis of the questionnaires showed a definite upturn in assessment of L2 writing ability. Word count in free-writing activities showed a definite increase indicating a concurrent increase in writing fluency, an indicator of increased confidence. Responses in learner diaries and in the semi-structured interviews supported these statistical results, and a number of students were clear that creative writing was a significant factor in their increased confidence regarding L2 writing.

Iain Maloney currently teaches at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. He is the author of five books and regularly writes for the Japan Times newspaper.

Developing English Listening Skills: Can Active Learning Help?

Hosam Elmetaher

Listening is often a challenge for foreign/second language learners. Unlike other language skills, listening requires immediate understanding and processing (Vandergrift, 2004) and good background knowledge of the target language culture (Walker, 2014; Vandergrift, 2007). Studies have investigated the effect of both intensive and extensive listening in developing listening skills (i.e., Chang & Read, 2006; Jones, 2008; Renandya, 2011); however, to the best of my knowledge, no study has examined the effect of active learning (group discussion). The current study creates and implements active learning group discussion activities for a full academic term with a group of 25 L1 Japanese students. Pre- and post-listening tests were developed, administered, and showed significant listening development in this cohort. A discussion on the effectiveness of “group discussion” in developing listening skills has been included.

Hosam Elmetaher received his master's degree in TESOL. He is currently a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics. He is a full-time English lecturer at Nanzan University. Hosam has published textbooks and research papers on English language curricula, methodology, and tests.

Japanese University EFL learners' Foreign Language Writing Anxiety

Jane Hislop

This presentation focuses on foreign language writing anxiety among Japanese university students enrolled in a compulsory English academic writing course. All students were English majors and were taking either a second or third-year writing course taught by the presenter. All of the courses were taught online using Zoom and Google Classroom and the study addresses language learners’ anxiety in both online and offline writing since students completed some writing tasks online during class and other tasks offline as homework. The paper explores the causes of students’ anxiety in the various writing activities they completed as part of the process approach to writing: freewriting, outlining, peer reviewing, drafting of essays/reports/ proofreading and editing. In addition, the study also investigates learners’ perceptions of their proficiency in  writing in English and examines the correlation between learners’ perceived competence and the source and nature of their anxiety. This study employed a mixed methods approach and data were collected through the Foreign Language Writing Anxiety Scale (FLWAS), language learner diary entries and a background questionnaire. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the impact of anxiety on learners’ writing and implications for further research on anxiety in EFL writing.

Jane teaches English at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and has also taught English in New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. Her research interests include second language writing and second language acquisition.

Helping Students to Differentiate Fact from Fiction in the Age of Fake News

Henry Troy

This workshop will include two or three activities (depending on time) that can be incorporated into language teaching classes to assist students with assessing the reliability of information. These activities are useful both for writing courses, where using reliable sources is vital, and other English discussion courses, as being able to support points with appropriate evidence is an important tool when expressing oneself. The current era is labelled the "Information Age", and yet it is more common than ever to see misinformation spread, and this can cause real-world damage. Educating students on how to assess the information they come across can not only make them more informed citizens, but also improve their language skills. The activities will be demonstrated during the workshop, with the audience given a chance to try them out.

I am from London and work as an EFL Lecturer at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. I studied Journalism Studies for my undergraduate degree, and currently teach a course in Journalistic Writing at NUFS, during which these activities have been utilized.

Nurturing Presentation Skills by Lessening Anxiety

Niall Walsh

Increasingly, a more diverse range of materials targeting presentation skills is needed by educators as the ESL classroom in Japan, especially at the tertiary level, has recently seen a requirement for students to not only critically analyze various topics but also to discuss and present their opinions on these topics in front of a group of people. However, comprehensively articulating opinions in front of an audience is often intimidating for students and may result in a heightened level of anxiety that suppresses effective communication. Therefore, language teachers must develop materials that not only empower students to use language adeptly but also enable them to manage language use while competing with the anxiety of public speaking. This presentation focuses on the need for the development of materials that aid language teachers in providing students with the necessary skills to make impactful presentations. It introduces practical techniques and activities that educators can use to assist them in improving student presentations. On conclusion, teachers should be better equipped to deliver comprehensive training that empowers the student and lessens some of the apprehension connected with speaking in front of a group of people.

Niall is a full-time lecturer at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies and has lived in central Japan since 2004. His primary research interests include materials development, literature in language teaching, and written corrective feedback.


A Case Study on the Effectiveness of Asynchronous Online Peer Feedback on Japanese University Students’ Lexical Diversity Development in Genre-Based Writing

Naoya Shibata

Both synchronous online peer feedback (SOPF) and asynchronous online peer feedback (AOPF) are often integrated and implemented into online writing classes. However, while SOPF on students’ writing is often investigated, AOPF is rarely explored. Therefore, the effectiveness of AOPF on language learners’ writing abilities, including lexical diversity (LD), is not revealed. Hence, this study aims to examine the effects of AOPF on their LD development and compare it with those of SOPF on their LD development. 

This quasi-experimental case study was conducted with a total of 23 intermediate-level Japanese university students (10 students in the SOPF group, and the other 13 students in the AOPF group) for three months. Data were collected through their genre-based essays and drafts. For this research, students wrote three genre-based essays: narrative, process, and description. After their LD were analysed with the text inspector, the Friedman tests and the Mann-Whitney tests were employed.

Findings illustrated that, regardless of genres, while SOPF had no statistically significant effect on students’ LD, AOPF had a statistically significant positive influence on them. As LD can indicate the developmental stages of second language writing proficiency (Vo, 2019), AOPF can be a useful approach to assist learners in improving their LD.

Naoya SHIBATA is a part-time lecturer at various universities in Aichi. He is also an Ed.D in TESOL candidate at Anaheim University. His research interest includes second language writing, theme-based instruction, learner motivation, learner beliefs, learning strategies, and teacher development.

Peer Review Instruction in the EFL Writing Classroom

Steven Charles

Many EFL students are expected to conduct peer review without proper instruction and support. Peer review, when students are properly taught, helps students build both writing and reviewing skills. Without proper instruction, peer review can become frustrating for both reviewer and reviewee. Many students do not have much experience with peer assessment and may give feedback that is ineffective and potentially

counter-productive. This project, covering a second-year writing course over a 15-week term at a university in Japan, seeks to document how peer

review skills were taught in the classroom and how students’ skills progressed over the term. Using quantitative methods of analysis, data were collected and examined to track students’ interactions with the

teachers’ peer review instruction. Students’ evaluations were then compared to the teacher’s evaluations of students’ writing for the purpose of instruction and developing more effective peer review skills.

Steven Charles holds a BA in anthropology and an MS in ESL education. He has been teaching in Japan since 2003. His current research interests include peer review and self-assessment in writing.

Exploring Language Immersion Programs at the University Level

Etienne Marceau

Language immersion programs, originally developed in Canada, have produced students with high second language skills without having to sacrifice content courses. Its popularity grew around the world, but not in Japan where only a handful of pioneers like Katoh Gakuin and international schools have adopted such approach despite its documented success (Cummins, 2000).

At the university level, Japan does not offer many programs entirely in English. From 2009 to 2014, the MEXT-funded ‘Global 30’ project aimed at developing degree programs in English and increasing the number of international students (MEXT website). In 2014, the MEXT refocused towards developing global Japanese students instead (Rose & McKinley, 2018). 

Language immersion programs can be seen as strictly for children, but if attending university entirely in a second language is common practice in Quebec, Canada, why is it not the case in Japan, despite the considerable amount of money and effort dedicated to EFL education? This presentation will compare immersion programs and explore their possibilities. What would an immersion program look like in a Japanese university, and is there a place for such programs, or are content-based EFL classes already fulfilling that duty?

Originally from Quebec, Canada, Etienne is a lecturer at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies (NUFS). Etienne grew up speaking French in a climate of separatism in Quebec, and later learned English by studying music at McGill University, Montreal.

Incorporating Critical Thinking in Language Classrooms

Wan Jung (Amy) Lin

Whether or not to teach critical thinking skills in language classrooms has long been discussed among language teachers. With the awareness not to impose either Western or Asian ways of thinking, the presenter will share some simple ideas that incorporate critical thinking into content-based integrated English skills courses through questions asked after reading and presentations, informal debates, and carefully designed discussion questions that require evaluating and analyzing skills. Activities were carefully designed to encompass both contextualized (i.e., relational and group-oriented) and decontextualized (i.e., individual-oriented) discussions. After a semester of instruction, a short survey conducted shows students’ struggles in asking questions and thinking further when they read and listen; nevertheless, the survey also indicates their increased motivation, learner autonomy, and curiosity towards topics covered in the curriculum, all of which facilitate English production.

Wan Jung (Amy) Lin has been teaching English in Japan for the past eight years, from K-12 to university and is currently a full-time lecturer at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. Her multicultural and multilingual background allows her to cultivate her interest in intercultural communication, empowerment, and multiculturalism.

The Connection between Language and Culture

Lidija Elliott

This presentation focuses on the connection between culture and language learning in an EFL context in Japan. Many researchers and teachers have been acknowledging the importance of integrating cultural knowledge into foreign and second language teaching in the classrooms because there is a strong link between the way the language is used and the cultural values which dictate this use.  This study focuses on how cultural values and beliefs can sometimes be an obstacle for learning English or any other foreign language and how these affect students' use of this language. This can be often seen in university classrooms when students appear reluctant to speak or are silent. The research that will be presented was conducted among students enrolled in English communication courses. The presentation will outline cultural misunderstandings encountered in teaching English and how I attempted to deal with them. In this presentation, I will discuss possible strategies in order to help teachers and their students to overcome cultural barriers and reduce cross-cultural misunderstandings in language learning.

Lidija teaches English at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. She has an M.A. from Leeds University, U.K. She is also TESOL certified and has been an English language teacher in Mozambique and Japan for more than ten years. Her research interests include teacher development, motivation and culture in language learning and teaching.

online schedule.JPG
bottom of page