Social Justice + Language Teaching Working Group

Please review the following policies before engaging in any event

JALT Code of Conduct | JALT Social Media Policy
Social Justice Word Cloud

For inquiry in participating in this group, please contact Michael Ellis by email here.

March Meeting

Message from interim coordinator, Mike Ellis: Let’s use the March session to discuss the future of this group. Since I am stepping down as coordinator this month, it will be useful to review the history of the group and current state of affairs, and then look forward to how we can sustain things in the future. If you value this community, please consider joining this month. Message Mike for details about date and time of the meeting.

February Meeting

Date: February 21, 7PM~

Speaker: Gerry Yokota

Theme: Since semi-retiring from Osaka U in March 2020 and starting to teach as an adjunct that April, I have found one of the things I miss most is the end-of-the-semester reflective partnership circles we often did when I was full-time. We would share one of our course descriptions (often the one that failed the worst) and talk about befores and afters, what didn’t work and how we repaired it, and share ideas about how to be better prepared to deal with such unexpected bumps in the road (and moan and groan and commiserate, of course). Then I realized this group is a perfect place to do this! I would like to have a session where I introduce a couple of my own situations to prime the pump, get feedback, and then invite everyone to share their own issues, to reflect on the past semester and prepare for the next. I’d especially like to encourage people to talk about their efforts to introduce social activism in the classroom.

Contact: interim coordinator, Michael Ellis for more information 

November Meeting

The SJ + LT Working Group will have its November meeting on Nov 23rd or 24th. Current members: check your email and fill out the scheduling Doodle so we can set a date. This month’s format is: A “Hodgepodge Session”. If you are new and interested in attending this meeting, please contact the coordinator, Mike Ellis for more information.
What’s a Hodgepodge Session?
Have you ever had a topic you wanted to discuss with the group, but didn’t feel confident in facilitating a full session about it? At this hodgepodge meeting, we hope to conduct a series of three to four shorter discussions on topics proposed by members. We anticipate that each discussion will last 15-30 minutes, but can adjust depending on the number of topics and engagement in each. The goal is to provide a welcoming, low-stakes environment for sharing questions and ideas which might not be large or complete enough to fill a full 90-minute meeting. We’d like to pilot this in November, and if it is successful perhaps make it a routine in the future. Contact coordinator, Mike Ellis, for more information

September Session: How US Language Centers are Approaching Social Justice and DEI

facilitated by Betsy Lavolette

I’d like to start by previewing the presentation that I’ll be giving as part of a panel for JASAL 2022. Then, I’d like to open the floor to questions, comments, and criticisms. The initial presentation will focus on how US language centers are directly supporting students, related to social justice. So, it may seem less applicable to people who do not work in language centers or self-access centers. However, I think many of the ideas can be adapted to the classroom as well, and that can be part of the discussion. I will also have lots to share about how US language centers are supporting faculty in their efforts to teach more inclusively and equitably, and I think this information may be more directly useful to SJ+LT WG participants.

June Session: Living on the Edge 2022: Finding Home Replay

Let’s share our reactions to LotE2022. Whether you couldn’t make it, had to reluctantly choose between parallel sessions, or attended but didn’t have enough time for discussion, there should be plenty to talk about from this full and engaging conference earlier this month. This session will be free-form and allow participants to unpack our feelings and share points that resonated. The meeting will be in the evening on June 14, starting at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there! 

Our first MyShare meeting in January was so successful, we’re hoping to try another one this month. This will be a chance for us to talk together about pedagogy and practice. Please share your SJ-related ideas for feedback and friendly discussion. Bring your handouts, tasks, assessment rubrics, course plans, or anything connected to SJ. They can be polished best practices, works in progress which you’d like to workshop, or anything in between. If you’d like to share, please contact me ahead of time to tell me what you’d like to bring and how long you anticipate it will take to introduce. Within 5-10 minutes would be ideal. Of course, feel free to simply join as an audience member and offer advice or discuss the ideas presented. At the start of the meeting we’ll choose an order of events, and if we don’t have time for anything we’ll push that to a future My Share session.


Given that the Living on the Edge Conference will take place on May 21-22, I thought it might be better to schedule this session after that since many of our members are involved with organizing or presenting there.  Please get in touch if you’d like to join the meeting.

Looking Ahead

We have no plans after May at the moment, so if you have any ideas for future meetings that you can facilitate please let me know!

March: Teaching Japanese Students About Race: An Imperfect Attempt

Date: Between March 13-16 (TBD)

Facilitated by Gregory Paul Glasgow

It can be daunting to create a whole university CLIL course on the topic of race. Nevertheless, if you accept the fact that there may be missteps along the way and just try your best, the experience can indeed be more rewarding than you think. In this session, I will briefly share with you the course objectives, readings, activities and final outcomes that I set for an elective course for 3rd and 4th year university students that I taught last year. I would like to then spend the rest of the time exchanging ideas through frank discussions about how to broach topics of race/racism in the content and /or language classroom.

A message from Michael: 

Looking ahead, is there anyone willing and able to help coordinate this group from April, even if for a short period? Please get in touch!

February: Decolonizing the Syllabus

The February meeting will be facilitated by Margalit Fadan
Date and Time:  Evening of Feb 27 or 28. Email interim coordinator, Michael Ellis to register.

For many instructors, February is a season for reflecting upon and preparing new syllabi. Thus, in the February meeting, I would like to focus on the topic of decolonizing the syllabus. In particular, I hope to create a space in which we can discuss and share our own experiences of and strategies for decolonizing our syllabi in EFL contexts.

December 20, 2021: Internationalization Initiatives at Japanese Universities, Facilitated by Mahboubeh Rakhshanderoo

This month, the meeting will be facilitated by Mahboubeh Rakhshandehroo. It will be a discussion-based meeting. Mahboubeh will share her slides about multiculturalism and internationalization initiatives at Japanese universities and will talk about some of the activities she chooses for her classes related to multiculturalism. The meeting won’t take more than an hour unless attendees want to continue the discussion. The meeting is Monday, December 20th from 7-8:30 pm. If you are interested in joining the meeting, please email Mike Ellis (interim coordinator) to get the zoom link.

January 12, 2022: My Share, Facilitated by Gretchen Clark

Additionally, please mark your calendars for SJ+LT WG’s own ‘My Share’ event on January 12, at 7pm. Share your SJ-related idea for feedback and friendly discussion. Bring your handouts, tasks, assessment rubrics, course plans, or anything connected to SJ. They can be polished best practices, works in progress which you’d like to workshop, or anything in between. For example, Gretchen is planning to talk about a discussion activity she has tried and needs help scaffolding for the lower level language learner. How about you?

Sharers are encouraged to contact Mike Ellis to tell him what they’d like to share and how long they anticipate it will take to introduce. Within 5-10 minutes would be ideal. Of course, feel free to simply offer advice or discuss the ideas presented and not share your own. We’re looking forward to discussing lots of great ideas. Join us!

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