Saitama Nakasendo Conference 2015 Thoughts

I had a brilliant time at the Saitama Nakasendo Conference yesterday. I feel I have loads to do because I left with a ton of things to think about and so now have quite a few summer projects on to of DipTESOL portfolio writings and a summer course in writing for a mixture of ESL and EFL kids.

Paul Raine‘s keynote presentation made me regret forgetting most of the little JavaScript, JQuery and Python that I learned but also made me double keen to get back into it. Chatting to him before and after was interesting: plenty of sites and other stuff to read on my list, too.

Jesse Ewak demonstrated a bit of Voicethread, which is something I might use in the future after I have a bit of a mess around with it and find out what it can and can’t do.

I wish I had gone to see Vanessa Armand‘s presentation because after seeing her slides I realised that her ‘fishbowl’ idea might be useful for a reading class that I teach.

Rob Lowe‘s presentation on integrating a blind student into his classroom was a presentation that he gave at the Tokyo JALT/TEDSIG Teacher Journeys conference a few weeks ago. There were four of us in the audience and basically what seemed to come up was that:

  • institutions need to provide a bit more notice when assigning students with special needs to teachers;
  • there is next to no information about integrating blind/visually impaired students (or any student with special or specific needs) into the EFL/ESL/ESOL classroom.

To this end, I decided to set up a Google Plus community, SEN in ELT as a place for teachers to share information.

My presentation was quite full, probably because my title was quite simple and something that most teachers need to do (‘Teaching Listening‘). I felt almost clever by involving a bit of research that I had done and using some unusual listening material choices. It seemed to go down quite well and I felt relieved because I feel a bit like somebody’s going to point out that I’m talking through an unorthodox orifice whenever I start new classes never mind presenting in front of people with PhDs and publications and stuff.

To cap it all off, I have ideas about discourse-level language teaching and JQuery-based web apps in my head, a lesson jam to schedule and publicise and other stuff too.

Everybody I met at the conference was lovely, including the mother of one of my former junior high school students, and it was rather a festival atmosphere throughout, except I had convenience store rice balls and canned coffee instead of cold beans and a bottle of vodka for lunch.

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