keynote & invited speakers' abstracts / The Association of Canadian Teachers in Japan ACTJ

日本カナダ教育学会 ACTJ
The Association of Canadian Teachers in Japan / L'Association des Enseignants Canadiens au Japon


Keynote & invited speakers' abstracts

Keynote Speaker

brian.JPGDr. Brian D. Denman BA, BA, MA, PhD

The 'Twin' Relationship between Globalisation and Internationalisation in Higher Education


Brian D Denman
University of New England, Australia

In the early 1990s, preliminary discussions at the OECD were organised on internationalisation strategies of higher education. These initial talks concerned issues of quality assessment and assurance as well as the witnessing of exponential growth and expansion of international education in tertiary sectors. Nearly 20 years have passed since Jane Knight initially defined internationalisation and, as it has further evolved into its current contextual meaning, globalisation has often been construed as its dynamic but fraternal twin.
This presentation addresses the 'twin' relationship between globalisation and internationalisation in higher education. Underscoring Knight's (2003) point that "internationalization is changing the world of education and globalization is changing the world of internationalization," analysis of the literature and highlighted supra-national initiatives will reveal that certain dimensions of international university co-operation are heavily influenced by the way we choose to look at them.

Invited Speaker

Anthony Fenton.jpgDr. Charles Browne, BA, MEd, EdD

Comprehending Authentic Video: The Importance of High Frequency Vocabulary

Although there are now many online resources for accessing authentic video in and out of the classroom, this presentation argues that the gap between the average vocabulary size of typical Japanese EFL language learners and the amount of vocabulary needed to comprehend those videos is usually quite daunting. In this session, the presenter will begin by developing the argument for the importance of teaching high frequency vocabulary, citing some of his background research on the serious vocabulary gaps that face EFL learners in Japan. After a discussion of the differences between high frequency vocabulary needed for proficiency in reading and that for listening, he will then describe the theoretical underpinnings and demonstrate several online tools he helped to develop for assisting students to be able to better comprehend unsimplified videos. Participants will be introduced to an approach for rating the difficulty of videos by their vocabulary content and developing targeted special purpose vocabulary lists based on corpus research of the videos, after which the presenter will demonstrate an efficient time-intervalled learning system for quickly acquiring knowledge of these new words, a tool for bilingual captioning of the videos with clickable html dictionaries, and voice recognition software that quickly identifies which words the student is having difficulty with as well as the specific problems they are having.

Invited Speaker

myles.JPGDr. Myles Chilton PhD

Reconfiguring the Humanities for a Globalizing World

Myles Chilton
Faculty of Letters, Chiba University

As higher education becomes more vocational and more devoted to pre-professionalization, the place of humanistic learning takes a back seat to courses on policy, economics, and development. Universities believe that students are more interested in these subjects because they deal with pressing problems created by economic globalization. Yet, the irony is that courses of this nature both reflect and perpetuate some of the harmful effects of globalization. The ‘other’ goals of the university, particularly the goals of humanistic education, are deemed irrelevant because of their lack of ‘real world’ applicability. But this outcome is partly the fault of the Humanities themselves: humanistic learning has become specialized to the point that it alienates rather than engages students. Moreover, humanistic education is often conceived of as a solely Western construct, thus of little relevance to the histories and world-views of students in non-Western sites. Given these conditions, is there any place for the Humanities in a globalizing world? I want to argue that the Humanities can reconfigure themselves for the globalizing world through a consideration of how they can contribute to the subjects that now dominate. By reflecting on my experiences as a professor of Humanities at a Japanese university, I will argue that many of my students’ assumptions and motivations are already frameable as the kind of problem for which the Humanities are ideally suited. I will also discuss these issues with reference to my institution’s new Master’s program in East Asian development – precisely the kind of education that is product of and contributor to globalization – and how the inclusion of Humanities courses can figure as more than peripheral contributions.

Invited Speaker

james.JPGDr. James P. Lassegard BA, MA, PhD

Multiculturalism and Diversity in Japanese Higher Education

As Japanese higher education finds ways to cope with the trends of globalization, increasing competition and commercialization of education, a quiet revolution of sorts is taking place in the classrooms of universities in Japan. Globalization and internationalization of higher education has not only brought more foreign students and staff into our classrooms, but it has brought about other changes as well. Japanese students have become more diversified. Many have lived and studied abroad, resulting in substantial changes in cognition, affect, and behavior. Also, their ideas regarding what should constitute university education have gradually changed over time. Moreover, the so-called typical Japanese student seems much less typical these days. Communication technology and the Internet have provided exposure to new ideas, values and ways of thinking, and have profoundly effected how students communicate. While increased diversity gives opportunities for education and new kinds of learning, it also presents challenges for instructors, particularly within a societal paradigm in which diversity is often neglected, or somehow seen as more of a curse than a blessing. This presentation will discuss the current generation of Japanese (and some foreign) students, using results from survey data and questionnaires taken by the presenter in recent years. We will discuss how diverse faculty members, particularly foreign instructors, may have a special role to play in promoting the educational benefits of diversity at their respective institutions.

Invited Speaker

マクドナルド先生②.JPGDr. Lary MacDonald PhD

Communicative and Cultural Constraints to Participatory Management in Japanese Higher Education

Participatory management practices have been promoted in higher education institutions in the West. For foreign EFL teachers in the Japanese higher education context, constraints premised on communicative distant and cultural precedents can further complicate management practices built on mutual participation. This presentation is a reflection of the organizational challenges faced by foreign middle management in the Japanese higher education context. Situated between Japanese institutional protocols and foreign teacher expectations, the presenter will share the administrative challenges associated with his position as the Assistant Director of a language program in a Japanese institution. Among many administrative challenges, balancing program goals and objectives with imposed administrative constraints, initiating change in administrative frameworks against the backdrop of embedded bureaucracy, and channeling foreign teachers concerns to the appropriate administrative staff will be discussed.

Invited Speaker

photo.jpgDr. Mayako Murai PhD

Comparative Literature in the Age of Globalisation

While literary studies based on the traditional notions of national identities have been on the decline in universities worldwide, a new kind of literary analysis, a way of reading texts across national borders, cultures, languages, time periods, genres, as well as disciplines, has emerged in globalised academia. Diverse analyses which take up this critical method are usually put together under the umbrella of comparative literature, a discipline which has undergone a great change since its birth in the late nineteenth century and keeps expanding its scope in the age of globalisation. Comparative literature, unlike a cannon-based curriculum, holds no clearly delineated field of knowledge which a student is required to master in order to be granted a degree. Rather than offering a concrete base of knowledge, comparative literature programs promote a technique of analysing materials commonly associated with disparate disciplines. In other words, comparative literature should be understood as a set of transferrable skills, rather than as a set of established knowledge. Like other interdisciplinary pursuits, the comparative approach seeks to synthesize knowledge across disciplinary borders; it is a strategy of education which by definition holds no demarcated disciplinary base within the university. This presentation will consider how comparative literary studies can provide unique insights into the world’s changing cultures today and, in doing so, will raise questions about the future development of interdisciplinary education and its place in the university.

Invited Speaker

Joseph Intro.jpgDr. Joseph Shaules PhD

Access, effectiveness and the “51% rule”:
Non-Japanese finding their place in Japanese universities
Invited presentation—ACTJ Annual Conference 2010
Joseph Shaules --

Non-Japanese educators sometimes complain about the difficulty of obtaining positions of responsibility in Japanese universities. Japanese faculty, on the other hand, sometimes complain about the difficulty of finding appropriate foreign candidates to fill the tenured positions that lead to influential roles within universities. The speaker will share his experience working on the inside of Japanese educational institutions, including a major university, Japanese publishers, and NHK. He will discuss the challenges of transitioning from being a foreign “outsider” to an institutional “insider”, including: language ability, educational background knowledge, relationship building, power versus influence, the role of academic qualifications, and operating effectively as an “insider”. He will argue that the cultural, linguistic and perception gaps between foreign and Japanese faculty and administrations is often larger than either side realizes. He will argue for the “51% rule”, an approach to bridging this gap.

Invited Speaker

richmond.JPGDr. Richmond Stroupe BA, MA, PhD

Affecting Change within the Japanese conceptualization of Internationalization

Increasing the level of the internationalization of the education system in Japan is not a new policy initiative. Based on recommendations put forward by the Ministry of Education, Japan has focused on “opening to the world” (1966), promoting understanding of Japan (1974), increasing the number of foreign students studying at Japanese universities (1983), and cultivating “Japanese with English Abilities” (2002). While many of these polices have been implemented with mixed results, more recently, there may be a new emerging urgency to such internationalization strategies as Japan is facing increased competition in the world economy, and other regional institutions are challenging the international rankings of Japanese universities. In addition, the downward pressure on the university age demographic in Japan shows few signs of improving, possibly encouraging universities to look abroad for new markets from which to recruit students. The result of these realities may lead to fresh opportunities for faculty members and administrators to encourage and contribute to potential ‘internationalization’ activities as conceptualized at Japanese universities. This presentation will consider practical recommendations on how educational leaders can productively contribute to and affect change related to the unique internationalization process that may be occurring, or which could be encouraged, at their institutions.

Invited Speaker

IMG_3561.jpgDr. Akiyoshi Yonezawa PhD

‘Foreign’ Faculties at Universities in Japan: Building Internationally Attractive Communities

Confronted by the forces of globalization, Japanese universities are challenged to internationalize. Attracting foreign faculty members is critical for the successful promotion of Japanese universities as international contexts for study and research. ‘Foreign’ faculties, however, are a highly diversified social group in terms of countries of origins, status at the universities, education/professional experiences, career perspectives and personal life styles. Based on the findings from a national level survey conducted in 2009, the author will examine the profile of foreign faculties at universities in Japan and offer some recommendations for constructive university reforms.

Invited Speaker

IMG_2471.JPGProfessor Kensaku Yoshida

Fish Bowl, Open Seas and International English

The Japanese are notorious for their weakness in communicating in English. Why is this so? I will present data from our survey of Japanese and Korean high school students, and show how they differ in their experience with English, both in and out of the classroom. I will also argue for the need to understand the concept of International English, and how that will affect the attitude of the Japanese towards English.


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