Working with me

Hello. Thank you for visiting my website.

I am a teacher in the Tokyo and Kanagawa area. I am interested in how we teach English, especially how we teach listening and pronunciation. If you are interested in working with me, contact me.

Presentation: Workplace Orientations of Teachers with ADHD

Yesterday, I presented with my colleague Gretchen Clark on Workplace Orientations of Teachers with ADHD at the Diversity and Inclusivity in English Language Education conference at Soka University. It was an interesting conference, and I met a lot of people doing interesting research that intersects a lot with my teaching interests, even if not always with my research agenda.

Our presentation was based upon interviews that we did to follow up a questionnaire study, with results to be published very soon. Our interview study should also, hopefully, be earmarked for a journal incredibly soon and I will link to it here.

Anyway, we interviewed nine language teachers in higher education in Japan, who were not Japanese nationals, who had ADHD, either medically or self diagnosed. We asked about what supports they have, what supports they would like at work. A lot of the best support comes from flexibility with structure. If clear communication channels are added, teachers can thrive.

We would like to thank all of the participants in the study who gave their time freely and willingly; we hope that we have shared your stories and that we can help to make positive change in education. All attendees, also many thanks for your positive feedback. I know that I get very shy about positive feedback, so if I may have appeared a little standoffish, or just otherwise weird, that is why.

Slides are here.

New article: The linguistic landscape of restaurant menus

I wrote an article with some of my students based on work we do in the first semester of their first year on linguistic landscapes. This work is to get students thinking about language and its use in context and the cultural variables that interact with the linguistic items to create meaning. It’s actually more interesting than it sounds, for me anyway.

This work was conducted under semi-quarantine so the information was gathered from the internet. However, I still think it stands well as a way for students to get used to research projects, and to think about how and what the language means and what message it is used to send and to which audiences (and which audiences is it looking to exclude).

Anyway, this is a departmental bulletin paper and it is not peer reviewed, but I still think it is pretty good stuff, even if it isn’t part of my research specialisms.

Kasamura, I., Liu, J., Nishimura, T., & Jones, M. (2024). The linguistic landscape of restaurant menus. Journal of Regional Development Studies, 27, 189-199.

Conferencing, PhDing, Translanguaging

Ooh, exciting times last week. I mean, it’s relative, but my Spring is usually spent catching up on research stuff, thinking about new teaching materials as new ways to generate extra workload for myself. This year, I went to Germany. It was my first time to leave Japan since I went on holiday to Thailand in 2010.

Coincidences being what they are, my trip managed to fall exactly on a German transport workers’ strike. I had my connecting flight from Paris to Düsseldorf cancelled, so Air France put me up in a hotel for the night. I then travelled on to Dortmund, because it was cheaper to stay there and I was going to go to TU Dortmund later in the week to meet my PhD supervisor.

Dortmund reminds me very much of Sunderland in that it is a very industrial town and obsessed with football. I ate a lot of bread and a modicum of cake. I have loved German bread since German class in comprehensive school.

The next day I travelled to Münster for the Foreign Language Listening Comprehension (LiCo) conference. I presented some of my PhD research (and I will share the slides when the research gets published or accepted for publication – it is basically a more finished version of this J-SLA poster presentation). I also saw some great presentations and a workshop by Jens Folkert Folkerts and Christine Goh. Everyone was lovely, but what was lovelier even than that was the cakes and sweets. Even lovelier still was I got to meet my classmates from TU Dortmund, Stewart and Sara, whom I had only met on Zoom before.

On the second day of the conference I attempted to hit up a symposium that my other classmate Raúl Garcia had set up. Unfortunately my superhuman powers of transportation got me there after it was all over. I did, however, get to meet Raúl for the first time, and meet my PhD supervisor Carolyn and also Martina Emke, for whom I had been a research participant before. We chatted about a lot of things. And then the next day I went back to the university and talked about a lot of things, but focused much more on my PhD.

As for the PhD, my publishing schedule (and prerequisite writing schedule) got discussed, as well as how to set up my capstone thesis. I am currently aiming for an August submission, which is considerably less tight than my previous self-imposed deadline of mid-April.

I then went to lunch with Martina and Carolyn, Joanna, a visiting researcher advising Raúl on his project, and most of my classmates, including also Christina, the post-doc in the department. It was lovely and I talked too much so it took me ages to finish my meal (exactly the thing I tell my son not to do)!

So, lots done, and I got to use my German half remembered from GCSE, refreshed by Duolingo and the Goethe Institut and not massively come off like a total idiot – or at least, if I did it probably wasn’t to do with my grasp of the language. There’s an awful lot of English that has crept into most world languages, and German is no exception, and also most Germans speak English in an easy to understand way, so it was a nice experience to believe I had become communicative in a language to meet immediate needs. However, whenever someone answered me at whipcrack speed, I could also roll out old faithful: Tut mir leid. Bitte noch einmal, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut.

On the way back, my connection from Paris to Tokyo got cancelled, so by the end, I felt like Homer (the Greek one, not the American one). But yes, fruitful trip, and an enjoyable trip once I got over the jet lag.

Journal article: Exploring Duoethnography in ELT Research Ecosystems: Accessibility, Misuse, and Further Horizons

Recently, my friend and colleague Robert Lowe and I published an article in the International Review of Qualitative Research titled Exploring Duoethnography in ELT Research Ecosystems: Accessibility, Misuse, and Further Horizons. Basically, it’s a duoethnography about doing duoethnography, which could be silly and frivolous, but we are quite serious. We both really respect duoethnography as a research method: I have co-authored four duoethnographies including this one, and Rob has written a few, as well as having co-edited a book about it, which also contains some duoethnographies co-authored by him. Basically, we offer a critique of the method, look at how it can be used by researchers who do not typically use qualitative inquiry in their work, and express our ideas about where duoethnography, especially in English language teaching research, could go next.

A photograph of two medium-size pine cones side by side on brown grass. There are two much smaller pine cones by the one on the right, and they are not immediately obvious.

While we both appreciate the affordances of duoethnography the fact remains that it is subject to many of the same flaws as autoethnography. Essentially, in the wrong hands, it is a method of navel gazing introspection for the sake of it. The authorial partnership should be critical, but in too many duoethnographies there is only backslapping and sycophancy. We hope that is not what we have done in any of our own work.

We also puzzle over why so few quantitative researchers have taken up duoethnography. I have a bit of a fancy idea about it being part of a research ecosystem. I think everyone should either have a go with it or at least quantitative researchers should be actively reading and citing qualitative inquiry including duoethnography. We all need all kinds of research. I also question whether duoethnography needs to be purely qualitative or whether there can be quantitative elements included. This last idea is one that I hope comes to fruition, because I think that it could help make duoethnography more appealing to a wider range of researchers.

If you don’t have access to the paper, you can email me and I can send it along.

Book Chapter: Communicating Information for Decision Making: Reflections on a Leadership Communication Course

Just this morning I got word from one of the editors of the book I have a chapter in that it is now online and published. The book, Leaderful Classroom Pedagogy Through an Interdisciplinary Lens: Merging Theory with Practice, edited by Soyhan Egitim and Yu Umemiya, is quite a wedge (and being an academic book published by Springer, costs some wedge, too), and is highly focused on classroom practice regarding leadership in its many guises.

Anyway, I am very happy to be included, and even happier to have the chance to read everyone else’s chapters.

Presentation: Multiliteracies for student presentations

Yesterday at JALT National Conference in Tsukuba I presented something about how I worked with my students in the last presentation skills course I taught. I often had students isolate interesting/key data points from charts and tables and revisualise them in better, more salient ways, usually with pens and paper.

Also, weirdly for me, I used Keynote for my slides. I don’t hate them, but I prefer my usual template.

The slides are here. Some graphs are deliberately bad, because they should be compared with better graphs.

Get students to select preferred work with the board

I am currently working on a short teaching-related article for university teachers – and I thought I could park some example screenshots here, regarding my use of Jamboard, which is going to be killed off by Google. However, all is not lost, because not only are there other alternatives available, such as Padlet, and if you have work in person, you can also use physical blackboards and whiteboards.

I did this with students when they were making SDGs related Open Educational Resources available on my learner-related blog. (Aside – I really regret calling it Get Great English, now because it seems really boastful, but I guess it’s what I want my students to actually get).

Anyway, I set up the Jamboard and got them to select their top three choices. I told them I would try to accommodate their first choices if possible but it depended on how many people chose different topics out of the 36 students in the class.

Just an example of the way I used the Jamboard, not the students’ actual Jamboard.

It worked well, and it’s somewhat painless. It took me about 10 minutes to group students, and they were all satisfied with the groupings.

As I mentioned above, this could all be done with a physical board and sticky notes, too.

The next stages are that students manage their projects with elements of Agile management and Scrum meetings, inspired by Rebecca Pope-Ruark’s book Agile Faculty.