Spring semester 2012 brings new faces, changes to the ELI

11 07 2012

18 new lecturers joined the ELI at Kanda University of International studies. This cohort is comprised of 17 teachers and one learning advisor. Lecturers arrived from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The lecturers have brought a wealth of educational experience with them. For example, Caroline Hutchinson, of Cardiff, Wales, has taught in Yamaguchi prefecture high schools on the JET Programme, in Budapest, Hungary as a business English teacher, and at RMIT University in Hanoi, Vietnam. Caroline also added, “I used to be a salaryman.”

New members are shaping the future of the ELI with their research interests. James Atcheson, from Forth Worth, Texas, said, “Critical theory is interesting because it provides teachers with a framework to establish a strong link between what’s happening in the classroom and what’s going on in the society outside the classroom, the so-called “real world.”

The management team has changed as well. Dr. Paul Lyddon joined the ELI as the assistant director of curriculum. Dr. Michael Torpey retired and Assistant Director Phil Murphy has been promoted to the Director of the ELI.

2012 marks Phil’s 15th year here. Dr. Murphy explained his top goal as, “to help create the optimal environment for students to develop as language learners and lecturers to grow professionally whether it be teaching, advising, and/or researching.”

The first semester is nearly done. Shawn Hupka, from Windsor, Ontaria comments, “So far, Kanda’s been great. It’s exciting to share ideas and work with so many instructors from all over the world,” said Shawn cheerfully.

Shawn Hupka and Caroline Hutchinson, new ELI lecturers.

Published: Working with textbooks: reconceptualising student and teacher roles in the classroom

3 07 2012

ELI lecturers Luke Rowland and Keith Barrs published the following article in the Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching journal:

Rowland, L., & Barrs, K. (2012). Working with textbooks: reconceptualising student and teacher roles in the classroom. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching [Online version]

Student reactions to different methods of in-class textbook use have received little attention in the literature on English language teaching. This article explores the responses of 57 Japanese university students to the replacement of teacher-led textbook lessons with small group, role- based textbook work in regular English reading classes. Insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by small group, role-based work were gained through a qualitative analysis of the students’ written lesson reflections. The findings reveal that although the students tended to view the new approach favourably, there were underlying issues related to responsibility, pressure and collaboration that emerged from the students’ lesson reflections. Conclusions point to the context-dependent and individually realised nature of classroom enterprise. In this article, the authors also contend that insights into classroom activity are best gained through research methodologies that allow for inquiry into
teaching/learning environments without disturbing pedagogical endeavour.






Published: Fostering computer-mediated L2 interaction beyond the classroom

28 05 2012

In the February 2012 issue of Language Learning and Technology, ELI lecturer Keith Barrs published an article titled,  Fostering computer-mediated L2 interaction beyond the classroom.


In language learning contexts a primary concern is how to maximise target language interaction both inside and outside of the classroom. With the development of digital technologies, the proliferation of language learning applications, and an increased awareness of how technology can assist in language education, educators are being presented with new opportunities to engage learners in innovative ways. This article reports on how technology was used to deal with the issue of an identified lack of English language interactional opportunities outside of the classroom at the author’s university in Japan. An Action Research (AR) project was initiated with a Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) programme being implemented during an eight-week summer vacation period, in order to provide a platform for students to interact in the target language outside of class. The article reports on the action research methodology undertaken and the results of the CMC programme interactions. It shows that a CMC programme can offer students a convenient and useful platform on which to continue to communicate in the target language while outside of their classes, but that the construction of the platform needs input from both teachers and students.

Published: Creative tools that facilitate the advising process

25 05 2012

SALC Learning advisors (past and present) have published a chapter in an edited volume published by IATEFL.

Publication details are as follows:

Yamaguchi, A., Hasegawa, Y., Kato, S., Lammons, E., McCarthy, T., Morrison, B. R., Mynard, J., Navarro, D., Takahashi, K., & Thornton, K. (2012). Creative Tools that Facilitate the Advising Process. In C. Ludwig & J. Mynard (Eds.) Autonomy in language learning: Advising in action (pp. 115-136). Canterbury, UK: IATEFL.


In chapter 8, Atsumi Yamaguchi et al. briefly describe some of the tools used by learning advisors at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. Tools such as visual models, learning plans, interactive diaries, reflective tasks, learner autobiographies, shared reflections and portfolios of work facilitate the advising process by supporting the advisor-learning dialogue. In this chapter the authors briefly describe a theoretical model for advising in language learning and then provide some examples of advising tools and explain how they are used in practice in order to facilitate the advising process and promote deeper reflection on language learning.

Published: Edited book on advising in language learning

21 05 2012

The following book was published this year:

Mynard, J., & Carson, L. (2012). Advising in Language learning: Dialogue, tools and context. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education.


Advising in Language Learning (ALL) brings together examples of advising practice and research from various international contexts in a fast-developing field. A theoretical model based on constructivism and sociocultural theory (the “Dialogue, Tools and Context Model”) is proposed and supported thoughout the book, as each of the contributions focuses on one or more areas of the model. In this volume the editors set out the general aims and understandings of the field, illustrating the innovative manner in which advisors around the world are working with learners and researching the practice of ALL.

Purchase on Amazon.co.jp

Published: The degree of directiveness in written advising

22 04 2012

KUIS learning advisors Jo Mynard and Katherine Thornton have published an article in the special issue of SiSAL Journal: Advising for language learner autonomy. Details as follows:

Mynard, J., & Thornton, K. (2012). The degree of directiveness in written advising: A preliminary investigation. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 3(1), 41-58.


In this paper, the researchers analyse written discursive devices that learning advisors (LAs) at their institution use in order to give input to learners on their self-directed work. The researchers analysed written advising approaches by seven LAs throughout an eight-week period and coded the discursive devices according to their degree of directiveness. The results of the research indicate that LAs draw on a range of discursive devices and use varying degrees of directiveness when addressing the needs and learning stage of the students. The results have implications for LA training at the authors’ institution.

Keywords: advising, self-directed learning, written feedback, discursive devices



ELI organizes first KUIS presentation contest

5 01 2012

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The ELI hosted its first presentation contest at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan last month on December 17, 2011. Students at the university competed for two top prizes of ¥ 300,000, applicable to a study or volunteer abroad program of their choice.

The competition asked students what aspects of Japanese culture they were proud of and how they could best represent Japan abroad. Over 30 first and second year students created presentations on this theme.

In the morning, students competed in individual and group categories, and were scored by ELI teachers. The top four scores in each category battled each other in a final afternoon round.

The afternoon round included presentations on Japanese festivals, culture, food, and personal experiences abroad. A panel of three judges scored each and asked follow-up questions specific to their talks. Adam Chapin, one of the judges, commented, “I was impressed with the students’ English abilities, presentation skills, and enthusiasm. Every student who participated is a winner in my eyes and I encourage them all to keep up the good work.”

Yohei Koyama’s presentation on the influence of Japanese education won top marks in the individual category. “I plan on using the prize money on volunteering abroad as a part of the Habitat for Humanity organization and will be going to Nepal to build a house this March,” said the winner. Group category winners Eriko Adachi, Haruka Matsuzaki, and Kaori Tsubaki shared personal stories to discuss what it meant to be Japanese for them, and how these positive aspects of their culture can be shared abroad. They plan on using their winnings to travel in Asia.

Executives from the Daily Yomiuri newspaper, Kanda board members, ELI lecturers and many student supporters attended the afternoon session located in the Crystal Hall of the Multilingual communication center (MULC).  Jaclyn Pitts, ELI lecturer and main organizer of the event, said, “Everyone was impressed with the presentations and it was nice to see all of the students so excited. Even though it was only our first time doing the contest, we had many students participate and the quality of their presentations was great.”

In addition to the top prize, second place students won tickets to Disneyland, while third place winners earned iTunes gift cards. ELI Director Dr. Michael Torpey explained, “Chairman Sano was interested in enhancing Kanda’s reputation as a university known for producing students who can use the language confidently. The presentation contest emerged as one way to showcase this aspect not only to the KUIS community but additionally to the outside public – such as the Daily Yomiuri visitors.”