Development and Globalization in Japanese Education – Videos available for viewing

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The Kyoto Chapter of JALT, in collaboration with the Gifu Chapter of JALT, the Kobe Chapter of JALT, and the Global Issues in Language Education Special Interest Group of JALT presented their 3rd annual event on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) issues in ELT on January 29th, 2023. The Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s (MEXT) policy is pushing many educators in Japan towards a more “globalized” or “diverse” education system. This goal is important but many of us have unclear definitions as to what this means and how it will affect them in their roles in their respective fields.


  • 10:20 – 10:30 : Opening and welcome
  • 12:00 – 13:00 : Lunch break & networking

Morning sessions: practical classroom ideas

SessionRoom 1Room 2
Session 1 : 10:30 – 10:55Bringing DEI Content and Issues of Sustainability and Ethical Travel into an “English for Tourism” Course
Jenny Morgan (Sophia University)
Black in America
Anna Ito (Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School)
Session 2 : 11:00 – 11:25Global Citizen Workshop
May Kyaw Oo (Nagasaki University)
Gerry Yokota (Professor Emerita, Osaka University)
Cultivating Learners to Become Future Changemakers
Ann Flanagan (Ritsumeikan Junior and Senior High School)
Session 3 : 11:30 – 11:55Teaching for World Citizenship: Global Studies at a Japanese National University
Kip A. Cates (Tottori University)
Using Universal Design Icons to Develop Cross-Cultural Communication Skills – Practice-Based Workshop
Alexandra Burke (Gifu Shotoku University)

Afternoon sessions: Featured speakers & discussion in plenary

SessionRoom 1
Dr. Yilin Sun
13:00 – 13:55
Shifting Paradigm: Integrating Asset-based Culturally Responsive Pedagogical Principles in Teaching and Learning
Dr. Yuko Igarashi
14:00 – 14:25
Globalization in English language education: To what extent is globalization addressed in Japanese EFL textbooks?
Discussion in plenary
14:30 – 15:00
Facilitator: Gerry Yokota



Shifting Paradigm: Integrating Asset-based Culturally Responsive Pedagogical Principles in Teaching and Learning

Dr. Yilin Sun

With significant changes in the global society and the ELT field mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other societal and global issues, ELT educators can no longer do business as usual. Such changes and challenges have put ELT educators working in unprecedented times, dealing with the increasing gaps of access and equity to quality education especially for students from remote areas and from historically under-served student population, and the pressing needs to help students cope with the pandemic disruptions and fight against Coronavirus exhaustion. The speaker, who has extensive teaching, research and teacher education experience in ESL and EFL settings, will focus on the following questions: What educators can do to prepare ourselves to shift the paradigm in the in the new learning environment? How can ELT educators integrate asset-based pedagogical principles in teaching to ensure equitable access to quality education for all students? The speaker will engage participants in exploring these questions and challenge the conventional ways of teaching English learners in Japan.

Dr. Yilin Sun image

Biography: Dr. Yilin Sun emeritus professor, former president of TESOL International Association (2014-15) and the founding president of MAAL (Macau Assn. for Applied Linguistics). She has extensive experience in teacher education, leadership, assessment, adult education, and professional development. In 2021, The English Language Specialist Program of U.S. Department of State recognized Dr. Sun as one of thirty specialists who have made a lasting impact on the TESOL field since 1991. Over the years, Dr Sun has given numerous keynote/plenary and featured presentations at international professional conferences.

Globalization in English language education: To what extent is globalization addressed in Japanese EFL textbooks?

Dr. Yuko Igarashi, Ritsumeikan University

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan has established some language education policies to respond to globalization. While these policies have been established, it was not clear to what extent globalization was addressed in current English language education. One way to determine this is to examine English textbooks approved by MEXT; the use of these textbooks is required at schools from elementary to senior high, so that MEXT can ensure the implementation of its curriculum.

In this short talk, I will present some of MEXT’s language education policies to provide a background of the current curriculum for Japan’s English language education. One of the newer policies is to create global jinzai who communicate successfully with diverse English speakers. In response to this, I will introduce my quantitative study results about how globalization is addressed in senior high school English textbooks, demonstrating the use of readings by culture type and the depiction of English use by native and non-native speakers. Given this data, I will then share my views on how MEXT can better prepare learners for establishing a successful communication in English in our global society.

Yuko Igarashi image

Biography: Yuko Igarashi is a Professor in the College of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto where she teaches English to Japanese students and international students in content-based courses. Yuko received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Victoria, Canada with her focus on the interaction between language policy/planning and language education. Her current research interests include English language education to prepare learners for establishing a successful intercultural communication and critical approaches to language learning and use.

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Bringing DEI Content and Issues of Sustainability and Ethical Travel into an “English for Tourism” Course

Jenny Morgan, Sophia University

The travel and tourism industry has been deeply impacted by the global pandemic and travel restrictions, and students who had previously aimed for a career in this industry, or simply traveling or studying abroad, now have those plans curtailed. What relevance do language courses on “Travel English” continue to have, and how can teachers create interesting and engaging syllabi that still motivate language learning and foster transferable knowledge and skills for our learners in an altered global context?

In designing content and materials for a university “English for Tourism” elective course, the presenter wanted to expand on the typical situational roleplays in many “Travel English” textbooks (e.g. How to greet foreign travelers at the hotel) and bring in awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and an ethical traveler’s mindset from the course outset.

The presenter will share materials and activities that encourage learners to draw on their own rich experiences of diversity and interests in travel and tourism, and co-create knowledge with their peers through role plays, discussion, research and presentations. While developing language skills and expanding their content knowledge, learners also develop a critical understanding of important related issues including ethical travel, DEI, and sustainable tourism in today’s globalized world.

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Black in America

Anna Ito, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi High School

This presentation will summarize the one-semester unit entitled “Black in America” that I taught in an elective English class to high school students at a private girl’s school in Kansai. This unit explored what life is like for African Americans today, incorporating the challenges they face with their unique, beautiful culture.

During summer vacation before the semester began, students listened to eight different songs about the African American journey and wrote reflection journals. After teaching about black history, police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, mass incarceration and culture through PowerPoint, YouTube clips, and discussions, students wrote interview questions for an African American teacher on campus. I conducted the interview and students watched a recording of it in class. In the final part of the unit, we watched the movie “The Hate U Give” (2018). Students connected well with the main character of this movie, as she was also a female high school student. In my presentation, I will talk in more detail about activities in the unit, my motivation to teach about this topic, and how the content was evaluated.

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Global Citizen Workshop

Mary Kyaw Oo, Nagasaki University | Gerry Yokota, Osaka University

The goal of this workshop is to engage participants in reflective partnership to collectively examine our teaching practice in the area of global citizenship and DEI. Whether we use commercial textbooks or authentic online materials, standard teaching practice frequently involves presenting templates as scaffolding. Is such scaffolding inescapably deficit-based? How might students be involved to engage with it creatively so that it stimulates rather than inhibits self-expression?

To explore these questions, in the first part of the workshop, a sample activity designed to raise awareness of global issues and expose students to the concept and practice of social activism will be presented. This activity uses a social action website called Global Citizen. It provides customizable templates for action such as petitions, letters to world leaders, and videos expressing support for a cause. The class culminates in a poster contest, where students create a public service announcement (PSA) to call attention to their chosen cause. In the second part of the workshop, an activist and an educator will share what activism means, the kinds of activism it and the moral and ethical responsibilities of introducing activism in the classroom. They will also provide how activism can be introduced inside and outside of the classroom. Towards the end of the workshop, we will invite participants to share their own ideas, and ask questions on activism.

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Cultivating Learners to Become Future Changemakers

Ann Flanagan, Ritsumeikan Junior & Senior High School

There are many pressing challenges and injustices today, such as climate change, fast fashion, food loss, and food waste.  One person cannot solve all of these problems. Understanding and raising awareness about these global issues requires everyone to work together to create positive change. But how can educators support students to feel like changemakers when the world’s problems seem too overwhelming? Can educators provide students with a lens through which they can see the problems and their ability to create positive change?

In this short presentation, the presenter will share the insights she has gained from teaching a Global Learning Course and share the activities students have been tasked with. The presenter believes that when students are challenged to see ways to act, they can see the value of solving problems that contribute to the greater good of society. Furthermore, students feel empowered, purpose, and accomplished through their social actions. Finally, using their agency to do good contributes to their ability to be changemakers.

Teaching for World Citizenship: Global Studies at a Japanese National University

Kip A. Cates, Tottori University

What does it mean to be a global citizen? What should be taught in schools to enable students to survive and thrive in our multicultural world? How can language teachers prepare their students to become socially-responsible adults able to tackle world problems in an age of globalization? This presentation will describe a campus-wide “Global Studies” program taught at a Japanese national university that aims at educating and empowering Japanese students to become global citizens.

This English-medium program consists of two courses designed around three key content areas: world themes (international topics such as world flags, world languages and world religions), geographic literacy (world regions such as Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America) and global issues (world problems such as war and peace, human rights, development and the environment). The presenter will describe the background to the program, explain the design of the two courses, discuss teaching topics and materials, outline classroom activities and explain how the course promotes global awareness, world citizenship and English language skills.

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Using Universal Design Icons to Develop Cross-Cultural Communication Skills – Practice-Based Workshop

Alexandra Burke, Gifu Shotoku University / University of Shiga Prefecture / Gifu Women’s University / Shiga University

As part of an undergraduate first year university English Communication course, students learned a range of socioeconomic terms to describe and compare Japan and other countries. In their final project, students have made posters which include images, plus icons to represent terms such as population, life expectancy, exports, languages spoken, and other data. The students have reacted very positively to the idea that anyone could look at their poster and understand the content, without being text dependent.  When asked by other students “What is this number?” They could easily answer “It’s the overall life expectancy.”  without needing to refer to speaking notes. This increases interaction skills including conversation coherence, rejoinders and nonverbal communication. They also paid attention to the layout of posters and use of fonts to make it easy to read.  This workshop will show how this was presented to students and the resources used.

2023 DEI Flyer image