On behalf of Saitama JALT, it is our great pleasure to host an interactive workshop with Mr. Joel Laurier, Assistant Professor in the Centre for English for Global Communication at the University of Tsukuba. His research covers the importance of cooperative learning in Japanese language education. Details of his presentation can be found below:
Teaching Beyond Tests Through Cooperative Learning
With the introduction of English as a mandatory course of instruction in 2020, teachers will be asked to meet new educational standards. For teachers of English this will be a daunting task, especially when according to the MEXT: “50% of junior high school and high school students attain the goals defined according to the Course of Study - Grade 3 of the Eiken Test or higher by the time of graduation from junior high school; Grade Pre-2 or 2 of the Eiken Test or higher by the time of graduation from high school (http://www.mext.go.jp/en/news/topics/detail/1372625.htm).
With a renewed sense of urgency, schools are asked to help develop proficient English speakers. The key to achieving these goals is not in finding the perfect textbook or giving more homework. Rather, it is building new mindsets and new supportive learning environments. We must present our students with a sense of learning that goes beyond tests and assessments.
This two-part workshop will introduce cooperative learning as a successful approach to learning. This first part of the workshop will help clarify the difference between teamwork and cooperative learning. Attendees will be shown practical and easy-to-implement structures to get more out of their learning teams. The focus of this part will be on classroom dynamics and how to properly develop an appropriate culture of learning though class building and team building structures.
The second part of the workshop will focus on assessment techniques. Strategies like Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development that are effective tools for developing student motivation can also build teacher confidence. Here we will look at effective strategies to plan lessons that help measure learning. Things like reward systems and supportive feedback. We will also look at the use of rubrics to bring about desired learning results.
As always, please plan to make time to join us after the event for drinks and refreshments and one of the nearby establishments.