JII Learning Circle – Research and Study group

Join JII members who will regularly get together to share their research and best practices. Each meeting we discuss a different theme presented by a JII member. A great chance to broaden stay on the cutting edge of research and practice. For details see below.
To join or for more info: Contact Joseph or Hanna: events(at)japanintercultural.org


Next Meeting


November 2 (FRI) 7:00pm-9:00pm

Location: Juntendo University, Hongo campus (Ochanomizu, Tokyo) (Location details when you sign up.)
JII and JALT members: Free. (Non-members may attend once for free)
Culture in Language Teaching—Ideas and Activity Sharing
Joseph Shaules
Many language teachers are interested in intercultural issues, but may be unsure of what activities are effective. In November’s Learning Circle, we invite you to share and discuss the culture-related activities you use. We will start with an overview of some basic questions about culture in language education: How are language and culture connected? What are the goals of cultural learning? How can we talk about cultural difference? What about low-level learners? Participants will then share their activities, ideas and experience. The emphasis is on being inspired by each other’s creativity! You can introduce what you do, or simply learn from other members.

To join or for more info: Contact Joseph or Hanna: events(at)japanintercultural.org


Previous Meetings


September 7th, 2018
Culture (Shocking) your Students : Pedagogical Considerations for Intercultural Communication Education
Javier Salazar, Ph.D.
A lot has been written about Intercultural Communication Competence (ICC) models for language education, but little has been done in terms of how to translate this seemingly complex topic into the classroom. In the Japanese EFL education context, this gap between theory and practice is further expressed in the relative (and alarming) lack of available IC textbooks that approach the teaching of this subject in a way that takes into account the particularities of Japanese students ( i.e their general communicative skills and overall attitudes towards EFL education). In this presentation, I will tackle this difficulty by explaining a three-pronged IC teaching approach that is based on: a) A communicative approach where students’ strategic and discursive competence development is paramount for scaffolding the next two prongs ; b) A view of IC education that is concentrated on praxis as opposed to theory and c) The combination of Active Learning, Transformative Learning Theory and Embodiment Theory in order to develop a sense of an Intercultural Self in the EFL student. As a means for illustrating this approach, specific IC lesson plans that take into consideration the abovementioned will be described. As a result, participants will be able to see and judge by themselves how this approach facilitates the emergence of resistance ( by first “culture shocking” the students) and subsequent engagement (by also “culturing” the students).
Speaker bio: Javier Salazar is currently a lecturer in at the Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages and Tohoku University. His academic background is in Social Psychology, Cultural Anthropology and Human Informatics and his research interests gravitate towards Intercultural Communication Pedagogy, Communicative Competences Teaching, Gamification in EFL education, Humor in the EFL Classroom, EMI and CLIL.

July 6th, 2018
Title: Incorporating Culture in ELT to Enhance Japanese College Students’ L2 vision as intercultural speakers
Speaker: Harumi Ogawa, Ph.D
Description: Harumi will present an exploratory practice (EP) project conducted at a two-year college situated in the area severely affected by the March 2011 earthquake. An EFL course was specifically designed to enhance the students’ future visions of themselves as L2 users (Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2014). Harumi will discuss the findings by 1) tracing the trajectories of L2 learning and intercultural experiences of selected interview participants, 2) examining group dynamics and pedagogy adopted for the course, and 3) piecing together an understanding of the role that the teacher played in mobilising one focal participant’s future vision.

June 1st, 2018 
Title: Motivated Empathy and the Willingness to Change: Implications for Intercultural Adaptation
Speaker: Hanna Chouchane
Description: When talking about expatriate adaptation, the bulk of the literature is centered around a sojourners ability to efficiently function in a different environment. In particular, authors are generally guided by the concept that cultural empathy (an increase in which facilitates adaptation) is an ability that one possesses or lacks. However, adaptation defined by Shaules (2007) as “allowing for change in oneself as a response to adaptive demands from a different cultural environment” is “limited by one’s ability or desire for change”; a point not often talked about. This study examines the role of motivated empathy in a sojourners willingness to adapt.