This month we interviewed Clare Kaneko, current president of JALT (Japan Association for Language Teaching). We spent time chatting about the mission of the organization, how it’s structured, and what they do as a PD organization for language teachers. We also discussed the upcoming 2023 JALT conference happening from the 24th to the 27th of November in Tsukuba. You can contact her at email@example.com
Visit the JALT.org website for more information and other contact details such as local chapters, or SIG information.
The DIESOL podcast,
Brent Warner 0:03
Developing Innovation in English as a Second or Other Language,
Ixchell Reyes 0:06
Episode 93 interview with Claire Kaneko, president of JALT.
Brent Warner 0:24
Welcome to DIESOL This is episode 93. And we are your host. I’m Brent Warner.
Ixchell Reyes 0:29
I’m still Ixchell Reyes
Brent Warner 0:32
Hello Ixchell. How are you?
Ixchell Reyes 0:34
I’m pretty good, pretty good. It’s the end of the year. Closer to finishing wrapping up. How about you? How’s Japan?
Brent Warner 0:41
It is great. We’re finally talking a little bit about Japan today on the episode. So I’ve been here for a few months now. And we haven’t quite – I mean, we’ve mentioned it – but this will be a dive into some of the English language teaching stuff that’s going on around Japan. And so today we’re jumping into JALT The Japanese the Japan Association for Language Teaching, right? I wanna make sure I get the get the word – the phrasing, right. I always want to say Japanese right, but it’s Japan association…
Ixchell Reyes 1:13
I wanna say Japanese, too
Brent Warner 1:14
Right? So upcoming is the conference, the big conference, the 49th annual conference for language teaching and learning. And we’ve got – Well, we’ve got the president JALT here with us today. So Clare Kaneko. Hello, how are you?
Clare Kaneko 1:35
Hi. I’m really good, actually. I’m really glad to be here to talk about JALT and to let other people know that maybe haven’t heard of it. So yeah.
Brent Warner 1:45
So I want to make sure that people know about the conference itself, some just a couple of details. So it’s coming up on shortly after this episode. So if you listen to this and want to still get a ticket, you might be able to do that. I’m not sure if you can get a hotel room nearby. But it’s funny because you guys were sending out emails early on, you’re like, get a hotel room right now get a hotel room. Now because there’s other events happening in the city, I guess is that was going on?
Clare Kaneko 2:11
Yes, there is a marathon happening around the same time, but because it’s really good access links from Akihabara. There’s a express train that goes away through anything on that train line where there is a hotel could be a stopping point. So there are there are options. It’s not right next to the venue.
Brent Warner 2:29
Yeah, yeah. Okay, so it’s into Kuba in Ibaraki. And in Japan, of course, which is kind of outside of Tokyo. For me, I’m kind of lucky because scuba is where my in laws live. And so I didn’t have to worry about the hotel conversation. I’ll be staying with the family. But But yeah, so coming up November 24, to the 27th. And the theme is growth mindset in language education. So clear today, we kind of wanted to talk about two different sections. So we wanted, we wanted to kind of talk about deltas and organization. And then we also wanted to talk about the conference itself. And so so we’ll start with kind of keep it thematically in those two areas. But first of all, what, when you hear JALT, or when you say JALT, what does it mean to you? What do you think of and how do you try to communicate it to people?
Clare Kaneko 3:22
Um, you know, there, I think we need to also remember, there are a lot of language organizations within Japan. To start off with, it’s not something that’s just isolated to gel. So for me when I think of JALT in order to differentiate between our organization and perhaps the other language organizations, is that I see a lot of familiar faces. Because a lot of the other organizations are heavily based on Japanese teachers of English education, where as for many foreign teachers of English, and even other languages, such as German as well, because we do have those members in our organization. Without Japanese ability, it can be very difficult to function in some of those other organizations. So it gives a space for those teachers who are, you know, perhaps native speakers of English, or who are very confident in speaking English, to have a space where they can come together and share their ideas. And also, there’s a cultural aspect, I guess, as well, because as a outsider coming into Japan, our education style and the way that we were involved in education of our own can be very different to the Japanese style. And it can be a little challenging, perhaps is the right word to go into a Japanese organization and pick up their style when that’s something you haven’t experienced yourself or that you haven’t studied in your studies of education. So, for me, it’s a it’s a great place to have like minded people come together, not only just to share their wonderful ideas about education, and teaching within Japan, but also there is a social element as well, which, you know, helps some of us perhaps, who are a little bit more isolated in some areas of the country to have some interaction with some great people.
Brent Warner 4:24
Yeah, that’s a great point. So I’ll say one of the first, when I first started teaching in Japan, I guess was like, I want to say 18 years ago or more. When I first came as a, as a teacher, and got my first job I didn’t know about Dalton existed, and it was pretty powerful. But I didn’t even realize the concept of professional organizations were around like, even in the States, I was like, Okay, well, I’m teaching and which, well, we’ll get into that later. But, but the, you know, it would have been really useful to me to have that because I struggled a lot with my first job was teaching at an elementary school kind of out in the countryside, and I was what they call it an ELT, the assistant language teacher. And so there was the primary Japanese teacher who was the English teacher. And then there was me, who was the assistant, who was the native English speaker. But I really struggled with her pedagogy and her approaches to teaching the students and I’m like, and it was very much like, grammar, translation model, and, you know, direct translation, and just tons of choral repetition, and repeat after me. And I’m like, the, you know, I was always like, getting crushed, because I didn’t have the independence to say, hey, let’s try these other types of activities, or these types of things. And I didn’t have any methodologies or ways to approach that conversation. And I get the feeling like, Oh, if I had known that there was an organization that kind of helps with those conversations as well. I mean, it’s not everything, it’s just one part, like, Hey, if you’re a new teacher, you know, there’s cultural aspects, you need to start understanding here as well. And so, it’s really important to recognize even if you’re listening from outside of Japan, or wherever, there’s probably an organization that helps in your local context, that can kind of bring you up to speed on the things that you need to know and be aware of.
Clare Kaneko 7:16
Yeah, I would, I would agree totally. I mean, I came as well as one of those elementary school teachers, or on the JET Program, which is a, you know, a very common way for a lot of foreigners to start teaching English in Japan. And of course, I didn’t know about the organization – it existed when I was here – but I didn’t know about it. Because, you know, it has been seen for some time as an organization that targets universities and college education, which is actually not true, we do have a lot of work within the young learners as well. And that’s, that’s a separate part actually, of our conference, there is a young learner section where the presentations and information is concentrated in one area. So if that is what your focus is, then you can, you know, have enough sessions to complete the whole weekend, just attending young learners sessions. So…
Ixchell Reyes 8:10
So, Clare, Brent mentioned how, you know, it’s hard to to I guess, as I don’t know, if it’s because you’re younger, you know, when you’re younger, you’re not thinking about these organizations, but how do you how do you maybe attract more members? Because the organization has been around quite a while? And and how do you Yeah, how do you maintain the membership? I know, that’s, that’s hard for an organization.
Clare Kaneko 8:35
It is very hard, and we’re not gonna lie, you know, COVID didn’t help us. And I don’t think we’re the only organization where it had an impact. And since COVID, and inflation, especially in Japan, joining an organization and having an annual fee, it’s also something that can, you know, be one of the first things that you’re going to remove from your budget if it becomes tight. So we do a couple of different things. Obviously, we’re always trying to look for new ways to entice members. There are always it gets it will help you by explain the structure of JALT a bit, because it’s going to sort of work in the question that you just had. So JALT is a national organization. But within JALT we then have local chapters, and we have special interest groups. So I’m going to leave the special interest groups on the side for a second and talk about the chapters. So the chapters are usually regional and usually each prefecture in Japan has a chapter not all and some of them are amalgamated we have some small prefectures and there are not a lot of universities. So therefore the the base of membership is going to be smaller. And what a lot of these chapters do will actually reach out by various different ways by putting an event on and getting people in to learn about the organization or I’m one of those is to reach out to the assistant language teachers. Now these are usually on the JET Program, which is the Japan English Teaching program which brings foreigners in from overseas. Another company like that is sort of Interac and they bring teachers in there all these organizations, but obviously they don’t tell their stuff about you know, they don’t tell their employees, hey, if you’re really interested in knowing more, improving yourself, how about this, they don’t do that. So we need to put the word out. And I think there are almost every chapter, I can’t say for sure, but most chapters have at least one ALT somehow involved as a member. And we often ask that ALT to reach out to the other ALTs because they have that network set up and say, hey, you know, we’ve got this event coming up, and it’s free for you to come for the first time. So bring them in and see if it’s something they’re interested in. I actually had an event here in Niigata a couple of years ago. And it was our biggest attended event. And it was a event on bilingualism, and raising bilingual children in Japan. And so we got this other group of people that had never thought about coming, because it was all about language teaching. But now we were talking about bilingualism, you know, there are a lot of people wanting to know, oh, how do I you know, make sure my child is raised bilingual. And these sorts of things, which also feed into language teaching as well. But it also helped us to, you know, get the JALT name out, and social events, Westerners and you know, that are – well my culture, I want to say my culture, obviously, you have people going out and having, you know, parties and meeting down at the pub, this sort of event was normal in my life back in Australia. Whereas coming to Japan, that doesn’t happen. So we were, you know, JALT can provide sometimes these events to bring people together socially, to then introduce the organization. So we do try, and we’re still trying.
Ixchell Reyes 12:12
It’s hard. Brent and I were part of one an organization and in California when we both lived there, but we definitely know how hard it is to get teachers who are new teachers, and then also to get them excited. So I’m also wondering, for those teachers who come back after one of your events, what are the areas as you said, one area you found out was bilingualism, but what other avenues? Or what does what else this job do to support their professional development for members.
Clare Kaneko 12:47
So the chapters will often put on different events with different themes, they will either do this on their own, or they can work with the special interest groups that we have. Because not everybody is interested in the same type of education, you know, everyone has their own interest and what they like to do and what they want to focus on. And I think one of the strong points of JALT is that at the moment, we I think it’s 32, different special interest groups that we have, which is huge!
Ixchell Reyes 13:17
that’s a lot.
Clare Kaneko 13:18
It is a lot. You know, some of the the new ones are things like the art research and teaching, where, you know, we have a lot of we actually have some amazing artists within the organization. But now they have a place to come together and talk about what they do and how they, you know, use art in their education or their teaching. You know, we have obviously some of the bigger ones like computers, the computer assisted language learning – that group is huge. But when chat GPT sort of became, in everyone’s mind, it actually started for us around November, in 2022, which is when it all went off. And in Japan, where I work at my university, no one even knew about it, and no one was talking about and until the new year hit, and all of a sudden, I was like, Oh my gosh, have you heard about ChatGPT, but this, this group had already been talking about it since November since it came out. And people were already starting to research it people were already telling others how it could be used in, you know, language education. So I think we’re really lucky that we get to, you know, often be at the start of a lot of things because we have these special interest groups. And if something new happens or something comes out, then they’re ready to attack it and to share with the rest of us what’s going on. So it does sort of get these new people interested and there’s something for everyone which is really really good. And I’m I’m actually one of my favorites, even though I’m not a part of it, is that we have other languages as well, in general, so it’s not 100%, English language focused. So I love going to the conferences or events and seeing, you know, some well known French teachers or some German teachers. And I like that it’s more global that way. So yeah, there is a place for everyone.
Brent Warner 15:27
Yeah, that’s great. And it makes sense. It sounds like those are some of the different ways that it’s like, you know, you can, with those interest groups, it makes it easier to kind of stay on top of trends or stay with, you know, like, whatever people are interested in, there’s a place to get that conversation started. And then Is that how it works, then that kind of rises up through the interest groups or through the through and then in and then into the larger organization and spread is kind of like a fountain goes up from the bottom and then spreads back out?
Clare Kaneko 15:59
Yeah, I think that’s a really good way of putting it Yeah. because I obviously I didn’t know about ChatGPT until someone else who you know, is interested in that sort of brought it forward. And I’ve have an IT background myself, but I hadn’t even I hadn’t been looking for it wasn’t on my radar. But obviously those that have these interests, it’s going to be on their radar. And so that’s where it starts at the bottom, they pick it up. And then they develop it with perhaps some of the others that are interested, like minded, and then that fountain effect happens. And that’s when you start having those people present, perhaps at events with chapters, either online or in person. And the word gets spreading even further. And at the events, I know the events that I attend my local events. It’s very comforting, comfortable, and it’s very accessible, to talk with the presenter and to ask them for more information. Some of the presenters that we have in JALT are internationally recognized. And yet, they will come to your prefecture and give a presentation on ChatGPT. So the level of, you know, some of the presentations you have access to is just phenomenal. So I’m really glad that we had our ChatGPT event.
Brent Warner 17:19
So we currently just shift gears a little bit here, because you’d mentioned the pandemic and kind of you know, I think we’re just at a year since Japan opened back up. Is that right? Officially?
Clare Kaneko 17:32
Yeah, it’s it’s difficult to tell with this country, because people even when it opens up, it doesn’t open up.
Ixchell Reyes 17:40
Last year, I think they were had just officially started which was sometime in… Gosh, what may?
Clare Kaneko 17:47
Yes, May was the I think the official month sort of things opened up. Yeah. Yeah.
Brent Warner 17:52
So I guess we’re just a little a little bit here on, you know, how that changed the organization. I think, you know, like, I mean, because JALT is already, if you’re spread across the whole country, right, like the world went to zoom at this point. And so it’s a lot easier to meet up with people from different areas. But I don’t know if you guys were on online, kind of in mixing it up before that or not. And, you know, all the work that you have to do. It seems I’ve been in in a couple of the meetings so far. And it seems like people are pretty well connected, regardless of where they are. And I’m just interested to see a little bit about how, you know, in the context of the pandemic, how their organization has changed and made adaptions?
Clare Kaneko 18:34
That’s a good question. I think we were like a lot of people and organizations in places really caught off guard when the pandemic hit. And this is also for education within the school system in Japan that got that was even worse than our organization in the way that things were dealt with. So I think we were reasonably lucky. And because we have such a big base of members, there obviously, were people in the organization that already had a lot of IT experience that already knew about – not zoom as such, because that just sort of went, you know, in skyrocketed – but they had experienced doing something similar. And they were able to then teach others within the organization, how to use it, how to do it and how to move forward. So I was somewhat involved with the Board of Directors before COVID. And I would attend three times a year in person a meeting. And those that were not invited in person were either on Skype or they were just on speakerphone. So that was we did have some interaction with the Skype but we certainly didn’t have things like webcam set up properly, you know, or speakers that could, you know, deal with everybody in the room. It was sort of you know, if you want to speak, come up to the microphone that’s on this phone. (Laughter) And people in the room couldn’t be heard. So we did change that. We had to invest money in some tech equipment, things like the owl that we have. I don’t know if anyone if you know about an owl, it’s a expensive piece of equipment, unfortunately. But it is a 360 degree camera. That also includes a microphone and speaker. So you can set it up in a room and somebody can actually control the the camera, it’s not always 360 They can focus it in spotlight on a presenter
Brent Warner 20:39
It pivots around and moves? Okay. Yeah,
Clare Kaneko 20:42
Well, it’s actually inbuilt. So it doesn’t move at all.
Brent Warner 20:45
So you just pointed, okay, yeah. And then you in turn..
Clare Kaneko 20:48
Yeah, the there’s like a remote. So things like this, we had to obviously invest in, it’s gonna cost money, Zoom accounts cost money as well. But I think because of having people that already were involved with it, and getting their advice, it did make the move a little bit easier, which I think caught a lot of schools in Japan off guard because they don’t have those kinds of people. And it’s just really weird. Like, I was so shocked because I gave a zoom session to my daughter’s class, because I knew what zoom was. It was like a practice session. But we’ve since you know, obviously, we’re continuing to use these new skill sets and tools that we’ve obviously learned from the pandemic, for example, the Executive Board meeting before the pandemic was 100%, in person. So if you were a president of a chapter or a chair of a SIG, we asked you to come to a physical location for two days to attend an event. Well not an event but a meeting. And that’s now changed, where it’s hybrid 100% Hybrid. So if you’re unable to attend in person, or you would prefer just not to attend in person, if your child has a birthday party at, you know, Saturday night, then you can still go to that without having to attend, which is great, you know, it gives people the option then of either coming or staying home. And personally, I do like the interaction that happens in those coffee break moments or in walking from the meeting to the hotel. I don’t think we can, you know, quantify just how useful those snippets of time are in our development as as people and as teachers and as educators, because the meeting is so focused on what is actually going on that coming together also to see how people are going and see how their research is moving or whatever it is. Those snippets of time are just invaluable to me. And so that’s where I like to go in person. So but we are, yeah, we are using the it that stuff that we learned and also, you know, moving forward as to how do we integrate that even more? Or what do we take away now? So one of the things we haven’t talked about the conference, because that’s the next section…
Ixchell Reyes 23:03
I was, yeah, I was just about to ask you about the conference (laughter)
Clare Kaneko 23:30
I can lead to that I’ll do a transition. (laughter) So I’ll lead you into the conference. So obviously, with the, you know, transition between pre-COVID COVID, and then post COVID. We’re now at this strange sort of part where we’re like, Okay, we’ve done fully online conferences in 2020 and 2021. We did a sort of hybrid, let’s come back for the first time in November of 2022. in Fukuoka, obviously, we’re doing sort of a hybrid mix again this year for the conference. But moving forward, do we really want to be doing both for a conference, I don’t know if you’ve ever had to set up a conference or organize a conference, but it’s not an easy thing to do.
Ixchell Reyes 24:17
It is not easy, and it’s a lot of volunteer work.
Clare Kaneko 24:24
And if you look at – for those of you who are who have ever done hybrid teaching, it is not easy to do hybrid teaching. It takes almost twice the amount of time for me anyway, because I’m giving instructions to students in the classroom and then having to give similar but different instructions to those online. So that just takes twice as the amount of time that it normally would and then having to put students in breakout rooms that are online. Whereas in the classroom, I just Okay, talk to the person next to you. I don’t have to physically do anything. So having a combination conference which is both in person and online, or a hybrid version can actually cause a lot more work for the conference teams? Yeah. So that’s one of the questions we have moving forward is how much emphasis do we want to put on the online component? Or do we separate that and make it its own thing? Do we have online as online and, you know, have people, for example, if it was in the summer holidays, you would be able to then have teachers who’ve gone back to their countries read the for study abroad, because they have to take students or for whatever reason, they’re not in the country and physically not able to attend? They could still then attend if it was 100% Online Conference. It is another conference, though. So it still needs to, someone needs to prepare it. But it might just be an easier option somehow or, but that is one of the decisions we have moving forward certainly is how do we move out of, you know, the COVID 100%. Online to, you know, what do we end up with in the end? So, yeah.
Ixchell Reyes 26:12
So speaking of the conference, this year’s theme is growth, mindset and language education. And I’m wondering if you could give us a little overview of what’s happening. And then perhaps how is this one new compared to other conference themes in the in the past?
Clare Kaneko 26:31
I think, you know, for most conferences, the theme is always something that fits in everybody, you know, you can’t make a theme so specific that only one group of people will be able to attend or, you know, it’s only for you, people who speak French, that’s not going to work in Japan. The growth mindset, obviously, is something as an educator that we have to always be open to the idea that we can improve ourselves, what we studied and what we learnt is not something that necessarily will carry through until we retire at whatever age that may be. But that along the way, we need to keep our minds open to either changes in education styles, or things that are different, something that you may not have thought of before, but to always remember that you can learn something new that you can carry on with you into your teaching, however that might be. So we’ve had, I don’t have the whole list of all of the themes from the past umpteen years, you can go onto the website and see what all of the themes are. But as I said, we do try to incorporate everyone in some way shape, or form and not have anything too specific. Yeah, I don’t choose the theme that gets chosen by the actual committee itself. So but I’m looking forward to it.
Ixchell Reyes 26:36
Sometimes, through the years, you cycle, and you come back to the same idea, and maybe it’s time to, you know, put it out there again, because every every few years, you have a whole new group and a new generation of teachers or new members, etc. So at least that’s what I noticed over here with with our organizations and putting events together.
Clare Kaneko 28:20
I think, you know, the themes for the last couple of years have pretty much been involved with sort of change, and, you know,
Ixchell Reyes 28:29
Which is what we’re going through (laughter)
Clare Kaneko 28:34
Which is great, you know, it reflects the times, obviously, you know, and this is one of the things I teach in one of my classes actually is, you know, culture obviously changes with time as things happening. And, you know, the music that was probably produced in the last couple of years is going to be very different to the music that’s going to come in the next couple of years just because of the pandemic. You know, I’m glad I’m watching TV programs in Japan, I don’t think this happens so much in the US or Australia or other Western countries is watching them change from obviously pre COVID where there was no safeguards in place to then having these amazing safeguards and then people in you know, shows now wearing masks on their faces and panels between people and social distancing. It was amazing here when you watch the TV, you know, just the change. I think that also reflects some of the conference themes that we have, especially in the last couple of years with the pandemic.
Brent Warner 28:34
Yeah, that is something I noticed is still happening in Japan so like you’ll still see people happily wearing masks or doing you know, all these things and and those plexiglass dividers and like I think in the States a lot of the media has really tried to like skip that it feels like – I mean there’s been little parts of it you know, you’ll see parts of it that kind of recognize it or point to it, but like really a lot of it is just trying to be like He’s like, like, it’s somehow it’s a little blip on the radar in terms of what Hollywood is putting out. I don’t know, I just I do think that is interesting. But anyway, let’s come back to the, to the conference here. So looking at that conference, there’s lots of different sessions, tons of different things going on. But for you, Clare, in particular, is there anything that you’re really looking forward to? Or any other couple of sessions that you’re like, “I gotta get to that one”? Or, or possibly, “I’m too busy doing everything else I’m not gonna go to I’m not gonna be able to get into any of these.” But But what do you what are you looking forward to? Or what would you what would you tell people that are coming to, they should try and check out?
Clare Kaneko 30:40
Well, personally, I can’t speak for anyone else. But myself, obviously, because my interests are going to be very different to someone else that sitting next to me. Me personally, one of my constraints, this year will definitely be a time where I am able to go to sessions and not able to go to sessions. But, you know, I’m an IT background person, not in education, just IT in business. So I’ve always been interested in the Friday sessions, which is the special technology workshops that they have on, and there’s quite a few of those actually, that I would love to attend. And because my duties on Friday, I think are a little bit less than I might be able to attend a few of them. One of the other sessions I’m really looking forward to is our Kevin Cleary speaker, invited speaker, which is Melody Cook, who just happens to live in the same place as me, you know, from about 20 minutes down the road. And they Kevin Cleary award itself, the invited speaker is something that is chosen by the President, I did have, you know, advice from from others, because I didn’t, you know, think that I was, you know, confident enough to have the responsibility solely on myself. And so while it is, you know, some people may see it, as you know, people who were starting in the organization and making a difference, there also is a place for those who are existing and have made a difference in JALT. And for a lot of us in the JALT community. If you know, Melody cook, or know of Melody Cook, you know, how much time and effort she has spent, especially with people who are new to the organization and getting them involved and getting them the right tools that they need. So I’m looking forward to hearing about her journey. There is also sessions that are not present a sessions. So I’m really lucky in something that I attend every time I go, because I didn’t know about it the first time. But the second time I attended the job conference I found out was the best of JALT. And it’s old Now Michelle Steel best of JALT. And this is where presenters who are recognized. So they’ve been voted as having a well for you know, a good presentation in the prefectures, the chapters that they’ve had. And I think it’s important that we recognize people for their achievements. And I’m looking forward to helping out with that because I get to stand up the front. But not because I’m standing up there front, but because I think it’s a really important part of JALT to recognize people who’ve done a good job. And that’s something that as a president, or at least as a person, I’ve always been, you know, conscious of is making sure that you thank those who are helping and doing a good job. And yeah, that’s that’s what I like. So that’s some of the things that I’m interested in going to
Brent Warner 33:37
Awesome. Can we jump? Just sorry, Ixchell, just for one second, back to the Fridays? I’m not sure how it works in JALT, are those separate sessions? Are they are they included with the with the conference? Are they sometimes they do paid, And sometimes they do inclusive? And I’m not sure how that setup works here?
Clare Kaneko 33:55
Yes. So I, because because of the position that I hold within JALT, for me, it’s a little bit different. Now in terms of pricing, but on the website, if you have a look at the pricing, you can just pay for the Friday, if that is what you would like to do. There are packages as well. You know, I think it just depends for everyone as to what they’re interested in seeing and how much time they have available. The actual listing of how the pricing works and the different things are available on the website. So that’s probably the best place to go. It just depends on the package. And as you said, sometimes it’s included and sometimes it’s not.
Ixchell Reyes 34:43
So there’s lots of options.
Clare Kaneko 34:45
Yeah, there are lots of options.
Brent Warner 34:47
Yeah, that’s great because it lets lets people be flexible depending on what their schedule matches.
Ixchell Reyes 34:51
Not everybody can attend the whole, you know, for the whole thing or, but if you can stop by on a Friday that’s That’s pretty good.
Clare Kaneko 35:01
I mean, certainly if you’re, if IT is your thing, and you’re not interested in perhaps the other stuff, you can just attend the IT sessions, tech sessions on the Friday, come get your fill, and then you know, that’s that’s you?
Brent Warner 35:16
Ixchell Reyes 35:18
Clare, you mentioned earlier something that I think I missed the most about conferences during the pandemic and just events, the coffee breaks or the I don’t know, when you’re, you know, getting ready for your presentation in the lounge, and there’s a few other presenters or two, or you’re talking waiting for a session. And how important that is to network with people meet others. Do you have any stories of people either you’ve met during those breaks or connections you’ve made? Or maybe perhaps have, that you’ve heard from other members of how they connected and and maybe a ways that the conference itself? has those built in, most of my networking was not built in? It just happened? And I’ve made great friendships. And yeah, because of it with other colleagues who are now I consider friends.
Clare Kaneko 36:13
Yes – well, I mean, I think the the, the most, if you know, you know, for those that are actually in jail to members, and have been around and know the story, but it was a meeting of two people at one of the JALT events that actually saved someone’s life, so that I can’t necessarily mention names, because it’s not necessarily a huge, big sort of thing. But a meeting of two people actually saved someone’s life. So not at that, at the JALT thing. It’s something that happened afterwards. But and then that’s not even teaching related. The fact that that happened, and we don’t advertise that it’s Hey, you know, come to save your life. (Laughter)
Brent Warner 37:01
Put that on a flyer! (Laughter)
Clare Kaneko 37:04
I think definitely, when you when you’re talking to people, and you’re finding out, if you attend an event, I know that there are people who have gone to a session that they’re interested in, listen to the session, come out, gotten a hold of the speaker, and then say to them, Hey, I really like what you’re doing. I’m doing this, can we collaborate on something? And I know that that happens. Yeah, I mean, I had a, I was involved in sort of the mental aspect and students, and special needs students, we were looking at doing that at a university, we went to a job conference, we attended a session that was presented by someone who was doing research in that area, and we cornered them. We sat them down at a table, and we had a list of questions for them and got their contact information and continued to do that afterwards. Yeah. But people make friendships, you know, unrelated to the teaching style of it. And when you are, I sort of alluded to this earlier as well, when you are a foreigner in Japan, it can be difficult to make connections with people. And I was actually reading an article about this this week about even Japanese people, it’s difficult for them to make connections. Because if you look at the friend groups that most Japanese people have, it’s friend groups from junior high school, or from high school and the club activities that they did. I don’t hear a lot about Japanese people who’ve made friends or have a friend circle after they become an adult and get into the working world, you know, it just doesn’t seem to exist. So as a foreigner who comes in after doing education in their home country, and comes into the country as an adult, we you got no chance you know? At least providing you know, an educational experience. But hey, you can actually make friends that child as well.
Brent Warner 39:14
I like that as a poster, too like, “You can actually make friends!” (Laughter) Alright, so Clare, just before we wrap up the the conversation here, I did see one thing on I think the Instagram about accessibility, and I saw that you that the conference opened up this option for allowing, I mean, it was it blew my mind because it was like, Oh, hey, if you have a caretaker, bring them in, and we’re gonna cover it and we’re gonna make sure that they’re that they’re taken care of. I was like, Oh my God, talk about forward thinking. I’ve never, you know, I mean, I’m a part of pretty forward thinking organization. I’ve never even heard anyone talk about doing something like that. Can you share a little bit about that and just like, how you’re making sure that everything’s accessible and What steps you’re taking to do this?
Clare Kaneko 40:01
Sure you know that one, one of the big things that JALT tries to do is, is to try and be at the forefront of a lot of those things. Also, even if you’ve never attended a JALT conference, the way that they separate the garbage and they recycle all of the garbage Yes, I know, Japan is an amazing for doing that anyway. But we would still have the option of putting everything in one, trashcan and you know, throwing it out. But there is actually a group of people who go through not all of the garbage, but check the garbage and the trash to make sure that it has been separated into the right ways. The trash cans themselves are made out of cardboard so that we can recycle that as well. It’s not plastic, the childcare is amazing. And I love I love seeing the group of kids that every now and then though, there’ll be in a group, and they’ll walk past and you go, Oh, that’s so cute! You know, because it does provide this option, um, everyone has a different dynamic and family network. So I know that some, you know, fathers, perhaps look after the children at the weekend, and if they want to go to a conference, and they have to take the children with them. That means that job can you know, help, or maybe you just want to give the wife a break. And you can take the kids to JALT, and you can get your fill. But you know, that the kids can also be looked after as well. We just try as much as we can to provide for the community that we have because we know that there are a lot of parents out there. You know, one of our one of our really amazing volunteers for the conference. She was 10-11 months pregnant last year, when she was there looking after the VIP guests. Good. She will be coming I think I was pretty sure she’s coming this year with with her two children. Because the new ones nearly a year old now. So but I mean, even just that. And that connects to the last point about, you know, making these friendships and connections. And we all know that she was pregnant last year, and she’s going to be bringing her nearly one year old and we’re going to everyone’s going to be oh my gosh, last year you were pregnant and that space is available. So we know she’s going to attend because she has that option that she can bring her kids with her. So…
Brent Warner 40:50
Love it. Love it. There’s so much going on here. So anyone who’s looking into it or wanting to see the information JALT.org And November this episode is coming out on Monday just before but November 24. And Ixchell you and I will do a wrap up conversation on the next episode after this to what we’ll do we’ll we’ll kind of cover what what happened when because I’m gonna be there and I’m excited to be there and Clare to meet you in person and everything else
Ixchell Reyes 42:52
Maybe Jose will go one of our previous interviewees.
Brent Warner 42:56
Oh, yeah, nice.
Ixchell Reyes 42:57
Maybe he’ll be there. He’s teaching so awesome.
Brent Warner 42:59
Ixchell Reyes 43:03
All right, it is time for our fun finds. And I know many of you are shopping for a gift to give somebody. This time I have a book. It’s called light in Gaza, writings born of Fire and it’s an anthology featuring work by several Palestinian writers who imagine a future of peace and for a limited time, you can actually download the book for free. So the digital book, but you can go purchase a book, give it to somebody. It’s a good read.
Brent Warner 43:32
Ixchell Reyes 43:33
Brent, what do you have?
Brent Warner 43:34
Uhh mine is an expensive one this time so…
Ixchell Reyes 43:38
Last time was expensive!
Brent Warner 43:39
What was last time?
Ixchell Reyes 43:42
I don’t know but I think it was pricey.
Brent Warner 43:45
Well, this one, this one’s well this one. Okay, so anyways, I haven’t bought it yet. But Clare was talking about those 360 degree cameras. And I’m looking at getting I have one of the first 360 degree like personal portable cameras, the Insta 360. But it’s it’s kind of the the lenses are changing colors, and they’re not quite quite lining up very well. And the new one that’s the Insta 360 x3, I saw on YouTube, someone figured out a way to turn it into a dash cam. And so you can actually just put it up on the dash of your car and run it on like a 10 minute or 15 minute loop or whatever it is. And so while my wife and I were driving around on our last driving cycle, we saw all these – we saw bear in Gifu, we saw deer we saw monkeys, we saw all these things and we’re like trying to capture trying to like rip out the camera take pictures.
Ixchell Reyes 44:42
I support this fun find!
Brent Warner 44:43
Yeah, I’m like well, we could have it as a dash cam and it’s actually like a pretty cool like fun use like for traveling and taking pictures and everything. So it’s pretty expensive. But right now they’re doing like the Black Friday sale thing and they’re doing giveaways together with it. And so I figured if I’m gonna put in a couple hundred dollars into a dash cam. I might as well just put a little bit more and get something that I can take off the dash and use in all sorts of settings. And so I’m looking pretty seriously at the Insta 360 X3. Okay, cool. Clare, do you have a fun find?
Clare Kaneko 45:16
Um, yeah, so going back to the the Christmas presents for the last few years, I’ve wanted to have a present that each of my – I have a husband and three children. So there’s five of us in the family. And I’ve always been looking in the last few years for a present that we can all have not not a shared present but one present. That’s the same for everybody. So the first year I started with personalized keychains you know, with your initial on it. The next year, I did a calendar and we’ve done pajamas as well. And this year, I was trying to figure out what to get. And I ended up buying hats winter hats in different colors for everyone. So I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens because I’m not going to put names on any of the hats they all are the same they’re just different colors. And it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when people open a hat and if they don’t like the color or what they’re going to do are they gonna swap it? Are they gonna keep it or what Yeah, it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens (laughter)
Brent Warner 46:18
When you say Winter hat are you talking about like the flop the floppy years or like the knit caps or what style of hats are these? Or are these secret?
Clare Kaneko 46:29
It’s a knit. Yeah on the outside but it does cover the ears a little I’m not sure how much it’s gonna cover them because when it where I live in Niigata it is so windy here so you really do appreciate a little bit of cover over the years Yeah.
Brent Warner 46:51
I just I just bought myself one the other day and I’m like – yesterday actually because I was like oh, it’s starting to get too cold for a baseball cap and so… awesome
Ixchell Reyes 46:59
All right, we’re on YouTube share the show. Buy us a coffee support us through Patreon. leave a review leave a comment we we’re getting a lot of comments on YouTube. So we’ll answer if you ask us a question. If you give us a shout out you could win a one of our kind DIESOL pin.
Brent Warner 47:19
And show notes and transcript for the episodes everything is up at DIESOL.org. This episode will be DIESOL.org/93 the numbers nine and three. And of course you can listen to us at voicEd Canada that’s V o i c e d.ca I am on most of the socials at @BrentGWarner.
Ixchell Reyes 47:40
And I’m on most of the socials at @Ixy_Pixy that’s I x y underscore p i x y.
Brent Warner 47:47
And Clare if somebody wanted to reach out to you, how could they find you?
Clare Kaneko 47:50
Oh, that’s a good question. I hadn’t thought about that. I’ll send you my contact info and then you can put it in the show notes. In Japanese “thank you” is “Arigatou Gozaimasu” so “Arigatou Gozaimasu for tuning into the DIESOL Podcast
Brent Warner 48:00
Awesome. Thank you, everyone.
Ixchell Reyes 48:04
Clare Kaneko 48:05
Goodbye! I’m waving at nobody (laughter)