WELCOME TO LIBERLIT 5
The 5th Annual Liberlit Conference for Discussion and Defense of
The Role of ‘Literary’ Texts in the English Curriculum
Theme for Liberlit 2014:
Content with Your Content? Contexts, Concepts, and Connections
Plenary Speaker for Liberlit 2014:
A. Robert Lee
English Department: What’s in the Title?
We believe literature to be an essential element of the English curriculum in Japan, and its vital future presence must be ensured and defended. By ‘literature’, we mean authentic texts that use language in creative and careful ways to tell stories, convey impressions, express original opinions, pose critical questions and demand more than simplistic, pragmatic responses. Those texts could include poetry, novels, plays, movies, songs, TV series, or thoughtful authentic writings on culture, society, or history. Teaching literature always means teaching much more than just language. Liberlit will address attitudes and approaches to ‘literary’ texts in English.
We lament the ongoing ‘dumbing down’ and ‘infantilisation’ of English education in Japan and the consequent marginalization of literature in the curriculum at all levels. Our conviction is that literature offers learners access to the kinds of creative, critical, and non-complacent views of the world that Japanese students sorely need and indeed, in many cases, crave. Literature has the power to engage and motivate second-language learners; its potential for multiple interpretations develops the minds of students who often believe that every question has but one answer, and the authenticity of literary texts respects them as intellectually maturing adults. Eye-opening materials and mind-widening methods should be an integral part of the education process at all levels, but are essential at university level before students go forth to live among the complexities of the ‘real’ world.
Liberlit will explore the idea that it is unkind and disingenuous to deprive students of the marvelously varied, meaningful, and challenging content that only great works of literature and thoughtful authentic writings on culture can offer. We will also investigate and expound techniques, methods, and ways that literary texts can foreground the roots of education, liberate English language into maturely creative uses and instigate a freer, bolder expression of original opinions. With your participation, we hope Liberlit will open up an active and collaborative community of thought, reflection, inquiry and discussion. We hope to make Liberlit an ongoing forum in which we can establish how, where, and why literature should rightly figure in Japan’s English curriculum.
Theme for 2014:
Content with Your Content?
Contexts, Concepts, and Connections
What content is our teaching based on? And are we ourselves content? That first question is more complicated than it sounds. The second includes a well-intended pun. When we teach a literary text, what do we want our students to learn? Literary analysis? Critical thinking? Cultural sophistication? Emotional maturity? Specialized concepts? Intensified language? Life lessons?
Of course, we teach many things at once. We inevitably must foreground certain elements of a text, and thereby ‘back-ground’ others, but, how do we choose? Our concept of what we are actually teaching shapes our approach, attitude, choice of material, classroom style, and methods of evaluation. What we ask students to do and what we teachers do ourselves is ultimately guided by what we think and feel is the chief agenda.
The particular ways we manage the different levels at which we teach and how we coordinate the various, often-competing goals inside and outside the classroom are crucial elements of our profession. As teachers, the ultimate question we must ask ourselves is whether we are content with our content. And then, we must find ways to better understand and articulate our real content.
Paul Hullah & Michael Pronko
On-site registration. Meet your fellow attendees.
Words of Welcome and Introductory Remarks
(Paul Hullah & Michael Pronko) (Room C)
PANEL 1 (Room A: Chaired by Paul Hullah)
An Unexpected Journey to Original Texts, and Back Again (Paul Harper)
Where’s the Bridge?
Multimedia Scaffolding to Authentic Enjoyment of Literature (Anna Husson Isozaki)
Realizing Ideas in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Is the Play the Thing? (Neil Addison)
PANEL 2 (Room B: Chaired by Mike Pronko) Authentic Assessments in a Skills Class for the Department of English Literature
(Richard Pinner) Three Birds, One Stone:
Writing Skills, Literature, and Diversity in an EFL Classroom (Quenby Hoffman Aoki)
‘English through Literature’: Analysis, Interpretation, Creation (Sue Fraser Osada)
PANEL 3 (Room A: Chaired by Hugh Nicoll) In and Out of Translation: Poetry as Content (Jane Joritz-Nakagawa)
Humanizing EFL Pedagogy:
Expressing Voice through Haiku Composition in a Foreign Language (Atsushi Iida)
Japanese Learner Creativity and Non-standard Forms in Literature (Iain Lambert)
PANEL 4 (Room B: Chaired by Neil Addison)
Attempt to Examine What Kinds of Short Stories the Students Prefer and their Effectiveness of Developing their English Proficiency
Great Textpectations: Insider/Outsider Perspectives on the Teaching of Literature
(Azusa Miyazaki Miyuki Mura Barnaby Ralph)
LUNCH: a timely chance to mingle more and chat.
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE (PART 2)
English Department: What’s in the Title?
(A. Robert Lee) (Room C)
PANEL 5 (Room A: Chaired by Anna Husson Isozaki)
Room for Interpretation? Reading the Graphic Content of Comics (Sean Chidlow)
Using Pop Culture To Design Course Content (Damian Lucantonio)
A Metaphorical Journey with Bilbo (Chutatip Yumitani)
PANEL 6 (Room B: Chaired by Barnaby Ralph)
Sustaining the Literary (Joff Bradley)
Screenplay as Literature: Pedagogical Implications (Alexander McAulay)
Social Semiotics and Content-Based Learning (David Kennedy)
PANEL 7 (Room A: Chaired by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa) When Do We Stop Teaching English?
Models and Goals in English Language Literature Classrooms (Myles Chilton)
Is There a Texture in this Text?
Applications of the Cognitive Poetics Approach (Tara McIlroy)
PANEL 8 (Room B: Chaired by Iain Lambert) Literary Content and Post Colonial Criticism:
Critical Roots and Classroom Routes (Neil Addison)
Foregrounding the Background:
Teaching World War II Internment Memoirs (James Gardiner)
Exploratory Practices for Teaching Literary Texts and Contexts (Hugh Nicoll)
‘Lightning’ Discussion, Any Other Business, Concluding Remarks
(Michael Pronko & Paul Hullah) (Room C)
CONFERENCE ENDS. PARTY TIME!
Details of post-conference party will be available on conference day.
PANEL 1 (10.10-11.30) Room A
1A. An Unexpected Journey to Original Texts, and Back Again Presenter: Paul Harper
Abstract: In April 2013, I began working with three classes of students in a content classroom setting. Two of these classes ran the entire year, while the third ran a single term. In consultation with colleagues, I organized a series of teaching plans and materials that would allow learners to choose original source texts for reading and discussion purposes. Materials allowed learners to explore ideas of liberty and freedom in Britain and America up to 1860. Texts include songs, biographies, letters, legal documents, maps, paintings, recipes, poems, and prayers. ‘An Unexpected Journey to Original Texts, and Back Again’ details the joys and difficulties of using a variety of original English texts, some from the 16th century, in reading and discussion classes. Learners accessed their own materials from the Internet for reading and discussion purposes. This presentation will appeal to any instructor keen to learn more about using extended passages of original text in English language classrooms. ‘An Unexpected Journey to Original Texts, and Back Again,’ will include video footage of several class activities, samples of learner-generated materials, and ample time for discussion and questions.
Biographical Data: Paul Harper is a certified TESOL instructor, holds degrees in English and Liberal Arts, and has more than twenty years of experience teaching English in Japan to learners of all levels. He now studies Parisian culture and commerce during the early 19th century at the University of London. Paul teaches as an adjunct instructor at Meiji-Gakuin University, Aoyama Gakuin University, Gakushuin University, and Yokohama National University.
1B. Where’s the Bridge? Multimedia Scaffolding to Authentic Enjoyment of Literature Presenter: Anna Husson Isozaki
Abstract: The first thing I hear from university students during self-introductions in reading classes is the admission that they don’t like to read, in English or even in Japanese. It’s no longer surprising, and they are not to blame, but I am not content with the loss of their chance, their right, to take pleasure in reading. Getting to fluent, unimpeded reading for pleasure in English is undeniably a challenge but it can be surmountable. Especially since the beginning of the 2000s, increasingly sophisticated research on the acquisition of reading L1 and L2 has brought us new understandings of what is happening in the brains of both beginning and skilled silent readers. We can incorporate these findings into our support of our learners and, thanks also to the multimedia increasingly available to us, there are more resources we can use to help encourage learners to try, enjoy, and succeed in bridging the gap from decoding text to reading fluently. This presentation will touch on the challenges, introduce some of the research, and share some experiments and evaluations from learners about scaffolds they have used to cross the bridge.
Biographical Data: Anna Husson-Isozaki (BA Mount Holyoke, MA Adv. Japanese Studies Sheffield, Certificate in Journalism UMass Amherst) has been teaching and translating in Japan for twenty years, tailoring her studies to meet her students’ needs. Her co-translations of bestsellers ;JP7’77,.’7: Crossfire by Miyuki Miyabe and :ft�d}.: Beyond the Blossoming Fields by Junichi Watanabe were well received by critics; more recently she has been editing translations (such as Building Waves by Taeko Tomioka) and teaching reading and listening, journalism, media studies and critical media literacy, translation, business and other courses at universities in northwestern Kanto. Naturally this means her current studies are in TESOL. She can be contacted at: email@example.com
1C. Realizing Ideas in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Is the Play the Thing? Presenter: Neil Addison
Abstract: Reading the plays of William Shakespeare can equip Japanese university students with cultural and mental insights additional to language acquisition; such plays contain poetic ideas and themes which are universal to the human experience. However, there are a number of problematic factors that practitioners need to contemplate when introducing Shakespeare’s plays into EFL reading classes, as such texts contain antiquated language, idioms and historically specific cultural references. Whilst cultural and linguistic factors may prove to be challenging for reading students, however, with careful teacher-led instruction they needn’t render such texts inappropriate for classroom use. Student reading lethargy and comprehension problems can also be attributed to the demands of textual length, and instead of attempting to teach an entire Shakespeare play from start to finish, such texts can be introduced in scaffolded bite sized chunks, with classroom focus centering on connecting a number of specific related scenes. This study thus documents how Shakespeare’s Hamlet was micro taught to sophomore Japanese university students, and also recommends several different approaches which can be utilized to realize and explicate key Shakespearean ideas. The presentation concludes with an assessment of the effectiveness of this approach through an analysis of post- course research data.
Biographical Data: Neil Addison was born in the U.K and first came to Japan over ten years ago. He is now based in Chiba City, and works as a university lecturer in the Kanto region. Having read English literature at the
University of Kent, and studied a Masters in Linguistics at Southampton University, his research interests reflect his passion for using literature in the language classroom to improve students` holistic reading skills and critical thinking abilities. He is currently undertaking his PhD in linguistics at Birmingham University, and his research thesis is entitled literary narrative analysis and EL2 reading proficiency. When not teaching, studying or presenting he can usually be found in Chiba Tonya drinking large amounts of coffee and gently whimpering to himself.
PANEL 2 (10.10-11.30) Room B
2A. Authentic Assessments in a Skills Class for the Department of English Literature Presenter: Richard Pinner
Abstract: I have the very good fortune to work for the English Literature Department at my university, so I am expected to introduce students to literary texts. The problem is, the students often seem not to have expected this themselves, and are understandably bewildered by the myriad of language nuances, historical references and culturally embedded expressions that they are faced with. Writing a literary analysis essay is often still quite abstract to them even by the second year, and for many of the students, academic journals and literary criticism are foreign and unfamiliar. In an attempt to make their assessments more authentic (i.e. more meaningful and relevant to the students) we created a Class Journal which the students all contribute to with their final essays and other written reaction papers. I found that the quality of the written work produced was much higher when students knew that their essays would be published, and generally students seemed more motivated. In other words, by creating more authentic assessments the students worked harder and produced better written work overall. Class questionnaires and samples of work will be shown to illustrate this point. The ups and downs of the work will also be discussed.
Biographical Data: I am Assistant Professor in the Department of English Literature at Sophia University in Tokyo. I have been teaching EFL since 2004 but have only ever worked in the UK and Japan, although I have given presentations in Europe as well. Recent publications include an article in the Asian EFL Journal and also the International CLIL Research Journal. I am currently a PhD candidate at The University of Warwick where I am examining Authenticity and Motivation, two huge and unwieldy concepts which are likely to ensure I never get my thesis finished. My interest in Literature comes from my Undergraduate days and was rekindled when I started working at my current position. I love the challenges that teaching literature to L2 speakers brings and the opportunities for sharing cultural knowledge that it allows.
2B. Three Birds, One Stone: Writing Skills, Literature, and Diversity in an EFL Classroom Presenter: Quenby Hoffman Aoki
Abstract: Teachers, particularly those whose academic background is in Applied Linguistics or TESOL rather than Literature, may find teaching academic writing skills through the use of literature to be a challenging task. Given the limited time-frame of a standard Japanese university semester, we must also ask ourselves whether it is more valuable for students in an EFL setting to read and write about the classics of the established literary canon, or to broaden their cultural awareness by selecting more recent works written by female and minority authors. This presentation will discuss these issues with a focus on how one Writing Skills class for English Literature majors integrated the three goals of developing writing skill, appreciating literature, and introducing students to the diversity of contemporary American society. Participants will be encouraged to share their ideas and experiences, and consider practical ways of helping their own students to explore these issues.
Biographical data: Quenby Hoffman Aoki teaches at Sophia and Mejiro Universities, and includes free-writing and literature in her classes whenever possible. Her research interests include literature in the language classroom, global issues (especially gender), and all aspects of the writing process. She’s been scribbling in various notebooks her whole life and shows no signs of stopping.
2C. ‘English through Literature’: Analysis, Interpretation, Creation Presenter: Sue Fraser Osada
Abstract: ‘Adaptable, educational, and enjoyable content? When looking to engage learners and stretch them beyond the regimentation of textbook-based or exam-focused EFL courses, teachers should explore the potential of Literature in the Language classroom. Outlined in this presentation is a semester-long university course designed to develop learners’ understanding, interpretation skills, and appreciation of a range of genres of Literature in English, culminating in the production of a book of original class work. Follow-up creative writing undertaken collaboratively or alone includes responses to the texts, and adaptations by ‘writing in the style of…’, extending, updating, and genre changing. One component – ‘Diaries’ – is then examined to exemplify text selection, activity implementation, classroom outcomes, learner reactions and written work. Despite the typically broad range of literary knowledge, L2 levels and life experiences brought to the course, participants are motivated by the materials to interact, negotiate meaning, and explore new ideas. Thus, while absorbed in the content, they are developing their linguistic, communication and critical thinking skills, as well as self- confidence. Positive course feedback and work produced over the past six years demonstrate that the study of literary stylistics and attempts at creative writing can be incorporated effectively into different levels of the EFL curriculum.
Biographical Data: Dr Sue Fraser Osada lectures at Seisen Jogakuin College and Shinshu University, where her courses include teaching English through Literature and Drama. She is also a tutor and dissertation supervisor on Birmingham University’s distance-learning M.A.TEFL, and was previously a teacher trainer and materials writer at Edinburgh University. Her doctoral thesis for Durham University investigated communicative competence among Japanese high school students of English. She also holds a M.Sc. in Applied Linguistics and a RSA Diploma in TEFL. She has published on varieties of spoken English, learner autonomy, fluency, and language learning motivation, and co-authors a series of Japanese university entrance exam preparation textbooks. She is currently conducting a comparative study of Foreign Language education at primary and secondary levels in England and Japan. She believes that Literature is adaptable for all FL learners, since interesting content is key to successful teaching.
PANEL 3 (11.40-13.00) Room A
3A. In and Out of Translation: Poetry as Content Presenter: Jane Joritz-Nakagawa
Abstract: Definitions of ‘to translate’ include: to render into another language, to put into simpler terms, to explain or interpret, to express in different words, to convert or transform, to express in another medium, and to retransmit. I will distribute sample poems used by me and my students in courses, both relatively easier and relatively more challenging (linguistically, semantically, and socio-culturally) works utilized in language courses as well as in content courses such as comparative poetry, poetry in translation, British and American poetry, gender and society, and U.S. history. The poems can be viewed as sources of information in themselves (for example, used in the American history and Gender and society courses the poems offered examples of how some people felt about certain events, versus merely what the events were and when they took place) but also as works of art and forms of communication worthy of contemplation and study, examples of language in use, and springboards in terms of form and/or theme for learner listening, reading, writing, discussion, oral presentation and research activities. Many of the poems will be shared bilingually (originals together with English or Japanese translations).
Biographical Data: Jane Joritz-Nakagawa has over twenty five years of teaching experience, most of that in Japan. Her most recent full time academic post was Associate Professor at Aichi University of Education where she taught courses in American and British poetry, comparative poetry, gender studies, pedagogy, U.S. history and EFL. She is also a poet working on her eighth book of poems. She publishes and presents frequently on pedagogy as well as poetics. Her interests include feminism, ecopoetics, and student-centered pedagogical methodologies. Her most recent book of poems is titled FLUX (BlazeVOX, 2013) with a poetry chapbook, wildblacklake, forthcoming in 2014. She currently lives in Shizuoka city where she is studying Japanese literature. She is helping to organize a poetry event at Toyo University’s Hakusan campus on March 15th featuring eight poets including Nomura Kiwao. If of interest, Jane can be reached at
3B. Humanizing EFL Pedagogy: Expressing Voice through Haiku Composition in a Foreign Language Presenter: Atsushi Iida
Abstract: Many college freshmen in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts have little idea how to use the English they learned in junior high school and high school. They have studied grammar rules and the meaning of English phrases in preparation for entrance examinations, but the focus on error reduction and memorization of forms left them at a disadvantage when they had to use English in real-world situations (Iida, 2010). This presentation addresses this issue by exploring the value of composing haiku – a short, three-line Japanese poem with a specific number of syllables in each line- in English as a foreign language. The presenter will first describe some problems of traditional ESL/EFL pedagogy and then discuss how the teaching of haiku composition can humanize the language classroom and help students to develop the sense of voice in second language (L2) writing. In this presentation, he will also share his experience of teaching haiku in the Japanese EFL context. This presentation helps to expand our knowledge on the use of literature (or literary genres) in L2 education.
Biographical Data: Atsushi Iida is Assistant Professor in the University Education Center at Gunma University, where he has taught first-year and second-year English courses (e.g., English for General Purposes, English for Specific Purposes). He was awarded his Ph.D. (English/Composition and TESOL) at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA, USA in May, 2011. His research interest includes second language (L2) writing, creative writing, haiku composition, literature use in L2 education, ESP, and learner autonomy in language education.
3C. Japanese Learner Creativity and Non-standard Forms in Literature Presenter: Iain Lambert
Abstract: As part of ongoing research into how Japanese learners at University level perceive and deal with texts in non-standard varieties of English, this paper reports a study involving six classes of Japanese university students. Each class was divided into three groups, which were given a different short text by an author writing in Scots or a Scots-based style, together with a one-line description of the scene. Some groups were also given a matching picture for each scene in an attempt to discover the effects of prior knowledge on processing and comprehension, as outlined in Semino’s (1997) chapters on schema theory. After reading and discussing the original text in pairs or threes within their larger groups, students were asked to write a summary in English and, as an optional activity, draw a picture illustrating the scene. Finally they were asked to explain their text to two new partners who had read a different text. The majority of students had little difficulty in establishing the basic elements of each scene regardless of the group they were in, but struggled with individual lexical items, which tended to distract them from their initial hypotheses and concurs with Cook’s notion of Schema Disruption.
Biographical Data: Iain Lambert is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Kyorin University, Tokyo. His primary fields of interest in terms of research are in World Englishes and postcolonial literature, in particular the use of non-standard forms and the status of Pidgins in literature. Recent publications include ‘Engaging learner creativity through non-standard language in Literature’ in Matsuda & Suwannamai (eds), Teaching English as an international language: Principles and Practices (Multilingual Matters, 2012) and ‘This is not sarcasm believe me yours sincerely: James Kelman Ken Saro-Wiwa and Amos Tutuola’, in Gardiner, MacDonald, O’Gallacher (eds) Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature: Comparative Texts and Critical Perspectives (Edinburgh University Press, 2011).
PANEL 4 (11.40-13.00) Room B
4A. Attempt to Examine What Kinds of Short Stories the Students Prefer and their Effectiveness of Developing their English Proficiency
Presenter: Koji Morinaga
Abstract: In the last conference I reported the effectiveness of modern classics in heightening higher intermediate level students’ motivations to read, enhancing their culture and improving their English proficiency. In this research presentation I will report what kinds of short stories the lower intermediate level students prefer based on the questionnaire research and their effectiveness of developing their English proficiency. First I’ll introduce the questionnaire research date of what kinds of short stories the students prefer among eleven short stories of Debra Swallow, E. B. White, Langston Hughes, William Saroyan, Rudolfo Ayana, Mary Antin, Vickie L. Sears, Maya Angelou, Howard Maier, Pete Hamill, Ray Bradbury and Martin Luther King’s famous speech included in a reading textbook, Reflections (Japan Edition) published by Shohakusha. Then I’ll show you the date of Nation’s Vocabulary Levels Test and C-test administered in the 1st class and the last class to measure the rise and fall of the students’ English proficiency.
Biographical Data: Koji Morinaga teaches English as a part-time lecturer at Doshisha, Doshisha Women’s College and Ritsumeikan Universities. He obtained Master of Arts for his master thesis, ‘Wordsworth’s Imagination and Nature’ from Doshisha University. He also obtained Master of Language Education and Information Science for his master thesis, ‘A Method of Teaching Present Perfect Tense Utilizing a Visual Image’ from Ritsumeikan University. His present interest is in methods of teaching grammar and close reading, learning strategies, vocabulary learning and teaching English through movies. His recent oral presentations are ‘An Attempt to have students familiar with English modern classics’ and ‘Practice to improve students’ English presentation skills utilizing an English film’. His recent papers are ‘The Necessity of Establishing Intensive Reading Classes in University English Curricula: an Attempt to Teach Intensive Reading at compulsory and elective classes’ and ‘An Examination of Relationship between Use of Learning Strategies, and Reading or Listening Comprehension Abilities Based on the Research Data of Strategy Inventory for Language Learning By Oxford’.
4B. Great Textpectations: Insider/Outsider Perspectives on the Teaching of Literature Presenters: Barnaby Ralph, Azusa Miyazaki, Miyuki Mura
Abstract: This paper considers a series of fundamental questions about the teaching of literature and interpretation in a tertiary institution in Japan: What is the teacher’s purpose in delivering their courses? How can Japanese-language and English-language courses be seen as different? What do students expect? What do they get that fulfils these expectations? What do they expect but not receive? What do they get that is unexpected? In order to address these questions, three presenters will work together. Two of the presenters are first-year students at Tokyo Joshi Daigaku, and they will explain their answers in detail. The third presenter is an Associate Professor at the same institution, who will contextualize the discussion and also offer a teacher’s view. What makes this presentation unusual is that, whilst many similar pedagogic investigations purport to consider what it is that students expect and receive, very few actually allow the subjects themselves a candid voice when it comes to the discussion of the material. This paper hopes to offer a perspective that is, therefore, of tremendous potential interest to educators dealing with the typical curriculum of an English Department within a Japanese Liberal Arts University.
Biographical Data: Barnaby Ralph is presently an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature and Culture in English of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. He teaches a seminar in Cultural Studies, along with various other courses. Unable to commit to a single field of study, he studied extensively in Australia, England and Vienna, and somehow earned degrees in Literature, Law, Linguistics, Music and Rhetoric. His recent conference appearances include investigations of theories of authenticity, replication and cultural objects, a topic on which he has presented as far afield as New Zealand and Morocco. He is also interested in a re- evaluation of the work of James Elroy Flecker, the early twentieth century poet and dramatist, whom he considers to have been marginalized by the literary mainstream.
Azusa Miyazaki is presently a first-year student in the Department of Literature and Culture in English of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. Since a young age, she has been active as a violinist, and, at 17, appeared as a soloist in the 39th debut performance recital series in Nagasaki. Additionally, she has been active as an orchestral player and section leader. Her studies of her instrument have included her spending time in Austria. In 2013, she was accepted as one of a very small number of participants in a pilot mentoring project launched by the American Embassy. Called the “Tomodachi Metlife Women’s Leadership Program”, this initiative pairs talented and promising young women with professional international mentors, allowing them to develop skills, contacts and experience at the highest levels whilst still in the early years of their undergraduate careers.
Miyuki Mura is currently a first-year student in the Department of Literature and Culture in English of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. She spent a year abroad in 2009-2010, as an exchange student in Virginia, which allowed her to study English extensively, as well as broaden her cultural horizons considerably. After returning, she was able to earn a TOEIC score of 850. As a result of her experiences, she has subsequently worked for YFU (Youth For Understanding), an internationally-based organization which works to facilitate student exchanges and promote global discourse amongst young people. Following her return to Japan, Ms. Mura has been involved in active support for the next generation of students, helping with organization, offering practical advice and managing orientations.
And then, something for everyone…
PLENARY TALK FROM INVITED GUEST SPEAKER
(14.00-15.00, Room C)
English Department: What’s in the Title?
A. Robert Lee
Abstract: An English Department wholly given over to the teaching of literature? You must be joking. Is it not the job of an English Department to teach students to speak and write the English language? Is not literature in a second language too elusive to hold sway as an entire department? Well, on the reckoning of this lecture, not quite. Indeed, on this reckoning, not at all. This plenary address attempts to offer, first, a banner, a near-manifesto, as to literary study – its challenges, its relationship to the Monbusho’s “critical thinking,” and the way in which the question of English language skills might best be tackled within a regime where literature is the rationale. Second it alights on four literary examples of the kinds of literary-critical issues students might be invited to confront. Two British, two American. Each is meant, with all the difficulties recognized, to support the why and how of giving Japan’s students a full-score literary education. After which the speaker intends to flee the country.
Biographical data: A. Robert Lee, a Britisher who helped establish American Studies in the UK, was Professor in the English department at Nihon University, Tokyo from 1997 to 2011, having previously long taught at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.
He now lives in Murcia, Spain. His academic books include Designs of Blackness: Mappings in the Literature and Culture of Afro-America (1998); Postindian Conversations (1999), with Gerald Vizenor; Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and Asian American Fictions (2003), which won the American Book Award in 2004; Gothic to Multicultural: Idioms of Imagining in American Literary Fiction (2009); Modern American Counter Writing: Beats, Outriders, Ethnics (2010), and collections like Other Britain, Other British: Contemporary Multicultural Fiction (1995); Beat Generation Writers (1996); China Fictions/English Language: Literary Essays in Diaspora, Memory, Story (2008); The Salt Companion to Jim Barnes (2010); Gerald Vizenor: Texts and Contexts (2010); and Native American Writing, 4 Vols (2011), African American Writing, 5 Vols (2013), and U.S.Latino/a Writing, 4 Vols (2013). He edited the Special Japan edition of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies in 2006. His creative work is reflected in Japan Textures: Sight and Word (2007), with Mark Gresham; Tokyo Commute: Japanese Customs and Way of Life Viewed from the Odakyu Line (2011); and the poetry collections Ars Geographica: Maps and Compasses (2012), Portrait and Landscape: Further Geographies (2013), and Imaginarium: Sightings, Galleries, Sightlines(2013).
PANEL 5 (13.10-16.30) Room A
5A: Room for Interpretation? Reading the Graphic Content of Comics Presenter: Sean Chidlow
Abstract: Emperor Joseph II infamously criticized Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, for having ‘too many notes.’ Last year, while preparing a literature course for medical students, the majority of whom lack the language skills necessary to read short stories and novels in English, I looked at the books on my reading list and thought, ‘too many words.’ Inspired by the success of graphic novels (comics) to motivate ‘reluctant readers’ in L1- English literature classes, I decided on a reading list made up of four stories written in the comic format. The comic format drops the words that comprise the descriptive content of text-only literature, and replaces them with visuals. With comics on the reading list, it was my hope to give students the opportunity to not only follow plot, but also to think creatively and critically about themes and issues in the stories. In this presentation I will outline the methods of this course and share the results of the students’ task to write text-only adaptations of the comics they read. In the process I will defend the literary nature of comics and offer insight into the vast potential of this format for use in EFL and ESP literature classes of all levels.
Biographical Data: Sean Chidlow is an assistant professor at Oita National University in the faculty of medicine. In general, he is interested in the medical humanities, a multidisciplinary field that examines the educational role of literature and film within the study and practice of medicine. Currently, his particular classroom interest is in exploring the potential of graphic novels as EFL teaching materials. His ongoing national grant project is to build the first ever EFL medical humanities database.
5B: Using Pop Culture To Design Course Content Presenter: Damian Lucantonio
Abstract: Words have meaning because of the contexts within which they occur. No context, no meaning (Halliday & Hasan 1985, 1989). In recent years, the connections between context and content have become major issues in course design, with the dichotomy of content-based versus skills-based courses growing in popularity (Lucantonio 2009). The purpose of this paper is to describe how content for a global issues course can be derived from contexts identified in promotional videos (PVs) of popular rock / pop artists. Firstly, a brief rationale for the course design will be introduced. This includes the role of needs-based learning in motivation, the use of real-world materials, and the importance of current global issues in assisting students to become global citizens of the 21st century. Following this, a course syllabus will be analyzed. This will focus on the course topics, skills, and resources used in the syllabus, illustrating the connection between content and the global contexts identified from pop culture. Participants will gain a broader understanding of the notions of content and context, and how content can be developed in course design.
Biographical Data: Damian Lucantonio is an associate professor at the University of Electro-Communications, a national university in Tokyo. He has worked in English language education in Australia, Indonesia and Japan as a teacher, teacher trainer, Director of Studies, and researcher. He has an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Sydney, and a PhD in Education from the University of Technology, Sydney, focusing on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and Sociocultural Learning Theory (SCT). His research examines the applications of SFL to English language education, in particular the role of genre theory in spoken language.
5C: A Metaphorical Journey with Bilbo Presenter: Chutatip Yumitani
Abstract: Literature plays a very significant role in human life because language and cognition are extended in literature. Compared to cognition, language is limited. Thus, language is often extended both in daily life and in literary works to capture what we perceive cognitively. Furthermore, cognition is also extended through imagination in literature. We can appreciate literature because as humans we have the ability to extend both language and cognition. However, a great writer takes us far beyond where we can go on our own both cognitively and linguistically. Can a non-English majored EFL student go on such a literary journey? Metaphors are one of the many ways in which language can be extended. A way to create a metaphor is to pair a word with another word which is not its typical collocation. ‘Man’ and ‘island’ are not typical collocations; thus, ‘No man is an island’ is a metaphor. Is it possible for an EFL student who still struggles to learn typical collocations to understand a metaphor? The presentation looks at how language and cognition are extended in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the degree to which non-English majored ESL/EFL students are able to understand the extensions.
Biographical Data: Chutatip Yumitani received B.A (English and French) and M.A. (English) from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and M.A. (Formal/computational Linguistics) and Ph.D. (Linguistics/First Language Acquisition) from University of Kansas, U.S.A. She has taught at universities in Thailand and at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu. She’s currently teaching at Tohoku Fukushi University and Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai.
PANEL 6 (13.10-16.30) Room B
6A: Using a Novel to Facilitate Critical Thinking Presenter: Joff Bradley
Abstract: This paper explores the meaning-making of sustained content-based instruction. It looks at how one might combine and apply elements of multiliteracies – and variations of it in the form of multiple literacy theory (MLT) – in the (S)CBI classroom to probe ‘literary’ content (film) and engage students in a serious and thought- provoking way. I argue that courses which combine CBI-MLT methodologies best treat the meaning-making of the ‘sustained’ as operable through student-led and student-orchestrated research projects, overseen by several central thematic concepts (in my case, Hitchcock, German expressionism, mental relations, literary analyses, scopophilia, the gaze, synaesthesia, transition from movement- to times-images, visual parrhesia etc). I make the case that as a research paradigm that allows for the enunciation of complex connections – the critique of power, social life, events, etc – MLT is an interesting ‘post-Freudian’ framework for analysing ‘affects’ in film because it asks how affects are engineered. We shall examine how extensive film reading works in the classroom and what materials are necessary to sustain courses. I endeavour to show that the meaning of sustained CBI is recuperable if CBI is built around core concepts of autonomous learning, multiliteracy research, the archive, student production and critical import from the teacher.
Biographical Data: Joff Bradley, a lecturer in the Faculty of Literature at the University of Toyo, Tokyo, is a longish-term resident of Japan interested in collapsing the distinction between communication and literature. He has published articles in Japan, Australia, the US, and Iran, dealing with linguistics, philosophy of language, Deleuze & Guattari, phenomenology, Kojève, transnational culture, material culture, the refrain, otaku, schizoanalysis, and dromology.
6B: Screenplay as Literature: Pedagogical Implications Presenter: Alexander McAulay
Abstract: With favourable critical considerations of the literary merit of the screenplay now in the ascendancy, language teaching pedagogy is required to focus on how the screenplay-as-literature can be utilized. In this presentation, I will first of all consider the credentials of the screenplay as literature. In the latter half, I will argue for the use of screenplay in the classroom to foster media literacy, and offer practical advice on how to use screenplay texts.
Biographical Data: Alexander McAulay teaches English and Screenwriting in the Graduate School of International Social Sciences at Yokohama National University. He is also an award-winning screenwriter working between Japan and the UK, having studied at New York Film Academy and The Media School, Bournemouth University. He has given talks on film-making and screenwriting at RMIT (Melbourne), Waseda University (Tokyo), Sophia University (Tokyo), Beijing Normal University and Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. His 2012 short film Three Days in Kamakura screened at various festivals in France, Spain, USA, Japan and the UK, winning two awards. Recent publications include ‘Based on a True Story: Negotiating Collaboration, Compromise and Authorship in the Script Development Process’ in Screenwriters and Screenwriting: Putting Practice into Context. Batty, C (ed). London: Palgrave (in press), and ‘Screenwriting in the Primary Classroom’ in Writing in Education, 57, NAWE (2012). More information can be found at www.kibofactory.net
6C: Social Semiotics and Content-Based Learning Presenter: David Kennedy
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to outline a more ecological, social semiotic approach to learning and semiosis (meaning-making) within a content-based curriculum. I will do this by challenging prevailing assumptions about the relationship between language and meaning, as well as between individual learners and their social environments. I will suggest that a reductive (componential) perspective on these elements provides a far less descriptive account of learning than a relational (ecological) one, which is based on the biological and social roots of semiosis. I will also argue that a social semiotic approach to content-based learning, one that embraces the full range of semiosic resources, affords a richer and more socially inclusive context for learning and meaning-making. This is particularly applicable when considering the ways in which meaning and identity are shaped in an ever more globalized, pluralized, multicultural, and multi-ethnic world. Semiosis is in a very real sense a never-ending creative iteration, or as Maturana and Varela (1998) put it, ‘bringing forth a world’, manifesting itself ‘in all our actions and all our being’. An ecological perspective thus befits a multidisciplinary lens, taking in a wide spectrum of semiotics, linguistics, psychology, social theory, the arts, education, phenomenology, and the natural sciences.
Biographical Data: David Kennedy is a contract lecturer in the Department of English Communication at Toyo University. He has taught part-time at numerous other universities in the Kanto area. His research directions include (among others) content-based learning, semiotics, sociolinguistics, literacy theory, and social theory. He is particularly interested in grounding language pedagogy in a firmer recognition of the full scope of meaning- making potential in the unique experiences of individual learners and in the complex social worlds they inhabit.
PANEL 7 (16.40-18.00) Room A
7A: When Do We Stop Teaching English? Presenter: Michael Dancsok
Abstract: If we were to do the math, by the time a student in Japan graduates from high school the student will have had approximately 1250 hours of formal language education. This number can vary from school to school, a little higher in some, a little lower in others. But what is important is that the number of hours is, generally speaking, over 1000. By comparison, if a person wishes to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (S JfsB- � J:J�� ) the recommended hours of formal language education a student should have before they attempt the highest level (1&) is 900 hours (2005). So the question that arises is shouldn’t the number of hours students study English in Junior High School and High School be sufficient for students to challenge themselves with abstract themes and topics at the post-secondary level? Drawing from research that analyzes the relationship between student motivation and language proficiency in language learning this presentation will suggest that most students are reluctant to produce and utilize what they know because many curricula suggest students reach native level proficiency before they can adequately contribute to any given discourse. By providing examples from Content Based and Content Integrated Language courses I will show that students can express critical thinking in their second language and contribute to the discourse of their chosen discipline. Also within this presentation participants will be given an opportunity to quantify when students should discontinue focusing on the language and begin exchanging ideas with the language that they have.
Biographical Data: Michael Dancsok is originally from Canada. He has an MA in Media Studies from Concordia University, Montreal and an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Technology Sydney. His MA thesis ‘Transcending the Documentary: The Films of Arthur Lipsett’ has become the ‘go to’ text for anyone interested in researching the works of Arthur Lipsett. Michael is currently teaching language and content courses at Waseda University, Meiji Gakuin University and Dokkyo University.
7B: Models and Goals in English Language Literature Classrooms Presenter: Myles Chilton
Abstract: Content with content? One way to answer this question is to consider whether course content matches course objectives. Those objectives are different in the case of English language literature classrooms and English language classrooms. In the latter case there are useful models for articulating pedagogical goals, such as Carter and Long’s three models for teaching literature: the cultural model, the language model, and the personal growth model. At first glance they appear unproblematic, offering commonsense and practicable frameworks for using literary texts for the purposes of language learning. Moreover, they bear more than a passing resemblance to the main goals of the study of poetics, which lies at the heart of all rhetorical analysis. However, their applicability to English language literature classrooms is questionable: a closer analysis of these three models reveals important limitations that have been exposed by over four decades of the development and institutionalization of literary and cultural theory, and by the global spread of English literary study. In my presentation I will analyze these models through some of these theories in order to address their limitations in English language literature classrooms.
Biographical Data: Myles Chilton (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Nihon University. His academic interests are in exploring relationships between contemporary world literature, globalized cultures, cities, and pedagogy. He has published several articles on modern Canadian, British and Japanese literary representations of global cities. He is presently at work on two book manuscripts, one on the uses of Toronto in Canadian literature, the other on the globalization of English literature and literary pedagogy.
7C: Is There a Texture in this Text? Applications of the Cognitive Poetics Approach Presenter: Tara McIlroy
Abstract: ‘Literature is defined by its texture’ (Stockwell, 2009) and is the very essence of the literary experience. Exploring texture in texts can help develop an understanding of how literature creates such powerful responses from the reader. A cognitive poetics (CP) approach creates opportunities for such a discussion, drawing on cognitive science and literary reading simultaneously. First, this presentation will outline some aspects of the CP approach such as engagement through emotion, intensity, resonance, empathy and the relationship between feeling and meaning. In a content-based university language and literature course created in 2013, principles of a CP approach (2002, 2009) were considered in the design of units and lessons. Examples from course materials utilising texts such as Life of Pi by Yann Martel will be introduced and teaching procedures described. Some applications of CP principles are re-examined through a review of student responses to the materials. Finally, some considerations for future development of the course materials are discussed in light of the outcomes of the year’s first full cycle of teaching.
Biographical Data: Tara McIlroy has an MA in English from the University of Aberdeen, UK a PGCE in English from the University of Bristol, UK, and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University in Wellington, NZ. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, UK. She has been teaching English literature and EFL for over 10 years. Her interests include literary reading, investigating uses of creative texts and uses of world literature in the language classroom. She can be contacted at
PANEL 8 (16.40-18.00) Room B
8A: Literary Content and Post Colonial Criticism: Critical Roots and Classroom Routes Presenter: Neil Addison
Abstract: Although introducing authentic works of literature into an ELT classroom can be beneficial for a wide variety of reasons, the type of literature employed in such classes often conforms to a narrow, Western centered, elitist standard. Such texts are often saturated with Western content, which, if not explicated properly, can confuse students who come from very different schematic backgrounds (Widdowson, 1990).
English literature, moreover, often produces a specific and stereotypical way of thinking about and perceiving non-Western cultures (Pennycook, 1998; Phillipson, 1992, Said, 1978), and some concern is held by practitioners regarding the possible effects such content may have upon students of English as a foreign language. In order to address these concerns, this discussion advocates employing a wider selection of global literature in addition to Western-centered texts, and recommends teaching mediated post-colonial critical theory to encourage students to compare and contrast such content. This presentation will introduce a 2013 university reading course design which sought to achieve these ends, and concludes with an examination of the effectiveness of this approach through an analysis of triangulated research data.
Biographical Data: Neil Addison was born in the U.K and first came to Japan over ten years ago. He is now based in Chiba City, and works as a university lecturer in the Kanto region. Having read English literature at the University of Kent, and studied a Masters in Linguistics at Southampton University, his research interests reflect his passion for using literature in the language classroom to improve students` holistic reading skills and critical thinking abilities. He is currently undertaking his PhD in linguistics at Birmingham University, and his research thesis is entitled literary narrative analysis and EL2 reading proficiency. When not teaching, studying or presenting he can usually be found in Chiba Tonya drinking large amounts of coffee and gently whimpering to himself.
8B: Foregrounding the Background: Teaching World War II Internment Memoirs Presenter: James Gardiner
Abstract: How – and should – foreign instructors teach Japanese involvement in World War II? With the dark shadow of the past looming over contemporary Sino-Japanese relations, it is highly relevant to examine origins and explanations for the on-going tensions in the region. Approaches to this subject are tempered by the knowledge that Japanese students remain largely, and controversially, ignorant of this period of history. One of the many remarkable aspects of literature is the way in which it creates a space through its interdisciplinary, intertextual, and interdiscursive nature for matters considered culturally sensitive or ‘difficult’ to discuss to be posited under the seemingly benign banner of ‘storytelling’, thus enabling a closer relationship with ‘difficult’ subject matter between text and reader to coalesce, which, in this instance, the formal and less nuanced re- telling of History, cannot so tangibly and devastatingly portray. With my research interests in postcolonialism, trauma theory, and historicism, I will present my experience of teaching two memoirs that can be analysed by way of these disciplines: Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki-Houston, based upon the internment of Japanese-Americans, and J.G. Ballard’s Empire of the Sun, which details the Battle of Shanghai and the subsequent internment of European and American expatriates.
Biographical Data: James Gardiner teaches Humanities at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka. His previous experience includes teaching in universities in Korea and China. James’s background is in English Literature, with his research interests being in memoir, trauma theory, and World War II, which will form the basis of his forthcoming PhD.
8C: Exploratory Practices for Teaching Literary Texts and Contexts Presenter: Hugh Nicoll
Abstract: This presentation will explore approaches and tools for helping undergraduate students develop their understandings of literary texts in an American studies seminar. The presenter will report on a study project undertaken from November 2013 to January 2014 at the seminar members’ request, designed to help them develop a deeper understanding of African American history from Emancipation to the Harlem Renaissance. The project represents an attempt to bring the principles of Exploratory Practice (Allwright and Hanks, 2009) into the seminar room, and into a dialogue with ‘close reading’ in researching a shared approach to helping the students develop their understanding of the complexities of literary texts within their historical context. The primary challenges for the instructor include negotiating approaches to teaching that result in the co- construction of deeper understanding of the teaching-learning relationship; provide appropriate models and teaching resources for demonstrating how literary texts — ‘machines made of words’ — work; and simultaneously provide the students with chances to develop their own capacities for academic and socio- cultural literacies. Texts to be discussed include excerpts from W. E. B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, and Langston Hughes.
Biographical Data: Hugh Nicoll, Professor of English and American Studies, Miyazaki Kouritsu Daigaku (MMU) has been teaching in Japan since 1983. He is interested in learner autonomy in language education. critical pedagogy, literature, multiple literacies, and arts education practices in university settings.
THE LIBERLIT JOURNAL OF TEACHING LITERATURE!
We will shortly be unveiling an open access, peer-reviewed online journal, titled as above. Myles Chilton will join us as a co-editor of this venture. We have submissions for this year, and will start accepting new submissions in the fall (so keep the Liberlit website bookmarked!).
Our aim is to pioneer a community-driven interactive journal that gets to the heart of teaching literature, to demonstrate the sense of focused community that has always underpinned Liberlit conferences, and to make our shared beliefs and our work openly accessible while maintaining peer-review quality.
With your continued and greatly appreciated support, we hope this journal will become a significant part of the LIBERLIT movement as a whole.
Myles Chilton, Paul Hullah, Mike Pronko (Co-editors, Lit Matters)
…AND DON’T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR NEXT YEAR’S CONFERENCE!
Details online soon @ www.liberlit.com
THANKS! SEE YOU ALL NEXT YEAR!