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.

New Publication on Teaching Linguistic Landscape Research

Image of signs at Odawara station, Japan. "Think Mirai, Odawara 2030, Sustainable development goals" and some Japanese a bit too small to read clearly. Another sign reads 衆議院議員総選挙及び最高裁判所裁判官国民審査.
A photograph taken at Odawara station, Kanagawa, 2021.

Hello. It has been a while. I am currently busy with PhD study and have been developing a new, old hobby. In the interim, I have been preparing a couple of journal articles and had this conference paper under review.

I have taught linguistic landscape research projects to undergraduates as part of their language studies at universities in and around Tokyo for 4 years now, with one year where I did not teach a course suitable for integrating it. I believe it provides a way to have learners become more aware of the ways in which English as well as other languages are used around them and see greater value in their own language practices, rather than a deficit view. I have been frequently astonished at just how well my students have completed their work, which are typically short group projects with all teaching and learning involved conducted over a four-week period.

I presented this as a conference paper at JAAL in JACET in December. After the review of the proceedings, I gained yet more insight into my teaching and students’ learning through the reviewer questions. The conference paper citation and link are:

Jones, M. (2022b). Teaching Linguistic Landscape Research: Encouraging Learner Cognition About Language Practices. JAAL in JACET Proceedings, 4, 60–64.

I really do welcome comments on this, with the caveat that this was not intended as a full research project, but as a way to show something that is relatively interesting as a classroom practice.

New Preprint: “What about teachers?”: a duoethnographic exploration of ADHD in ELT

Yesterday, my colleague at RMUTT in Thailand, Matthew Noble and I put up a preprint on Edarxiv in preparation for a symposium we will attend in November on Mental Health in ELT. Yes, it seems to be rather niche; however, we feel that there is less a gap in the literature on language teacher psychology and more of a yawning chasm regarding neurodivergent teachers. In our own way, we want to change this.

By exploring our own experiences of TEFL, we get to show how the profession impacts our lives and also how our lives affect our professional practice. We figure that if 7.1% (Thomas et al, 2019) of the population are estimated to have ADHD, yet one of the symptoms is being attracted to novel situations and being in the moment rather than considering past experiences or future implications, then there are likely a lot of colleagues with ADHD, potentially more than the 7.1%.


Thomas, R., Sanders, S., Doust, J., Beller, E., & Glasziou, P. (2015). Prevalence of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(4), e994–e1001.

JALT Listening SIG

JALT Listening SIG logo
JALT Listening SIG logo

Last year, JALT Listening SIG got off the ground. It was during the time that I had let my JALT membership lapse. Perhaps if I had known about the forming SIG sooner, perhaps I would have been less likely to have let my membership lapse. However, I renewed this April and joined the nascent SIG.

Anyway, the coordinator of the SIG, Naheen Madarbakus has done a great job of organizing so much. I got in touch earlier in the year to see if there was anything I could do to help. There was; I am now the SIG’s Publications Chair.

It also gives me a chance to put into practice some good ideas. I am sure that not all JALT members have access to a wide range of journals so the SIG’s website and podcast will have Research Bites, inspired by the original ELT Research Bites.

The journal, The Listening Post, is due to have its first issue in June 2022, and it would be great to have a wide range of submissions to our general call for papers.

Reverse outlining makes redrafting easier

At the moment I am nearing the end of writing one duoethnography and just about to submit another to a journal. One thing that has made things a lot easier for me has been reverse outlining, but in a spreadsheet.

As you can see, if you have images enabled in your browser, I have columns titled Section, Para(graph), Overall (paragraph idea), then three columns labelled Idea. The section is the section header and underneath I have a rough word count. Para is the number of the paragraph, with the Overall and Idea columns being the main contents of the outline.

This approach works for me because it means I can find any topics that are recurrent or tangential, or abrupt subject changes and work them into the piece better or cut them out without losing coherence. This is going to be something that I come back to again and again, I think, particularly in my PhD work.

Reverse outlining might not work on a text that is moribund but for something that needs a polish and a tidy up, it has saved more time than it took to set it up.

Manage life with a Bullet Journal

Anybody who knows me, both colleagues and students, know that I am rather evangelical about Bullet Journalling. It was one of the tools that helped me with my MRes. It’s not a panacea for every problem in the world but it can really make a lot more sense to see what needs to be done, and what gets done every day. I carry it everywhere and basically manage life with a Bullet Journal. It is a diary, research notebook and external hard drive for my brain.

There are some great introductory videos on YouTube, but in essence you use an ordinary notebook, you set up monthly calendars, a future log and daily logs, and an index for finding things later. The index is more of a reactive contents page that you add to as you go.

How I do it

The types of pages and spreads that I set up are:

Personal Index

Work Index

Research/PhD Index

Admin: Mainly reminders of passwords, but not the actual passwords.

Recurring items: Mainly birthdays and anniversaries, but also recurring deadlines like using up my research budget.

Achievements: Good stuff makes you happy, and it can be useful for listing things on CVs or other places.

Future Log: A 2-page spread. Upcoming 5 months plus other. The first 2 months are likely more crowded so they get a page to themselves. The next 3 and other are divided into boxes of decreasing size.

Monthly Brain Dump and Eisenhower Matrix: A 2-page spread. The brain dump is a list of everything that needs to be done, or is migrated from previous future logs. It all gets migrated to the Eisenhower Matrix .

Eisenhower Matrix – basically a grid of Urgent/Not Urgent, Important/Not Important

The Eisenhower matrix is where I organize items from the Brain Dump. Anything with a date attached to it (like events) gets moved to the schedule and bypasses the matrix. I can then see how to rank items for the month.

Monthly schedule and task list: A 2-page spread. Events and tasks with deadlines go onto the calendar page. Tasks that are open go onto the task list. These are from the Eisenhower Matrix and ranked according to importance and urgency.

Publication Pipeline: Cribbed from Ellie Mackin Roberts.

Daily logs: To-do lists and rapid-logging items, including ideas, notes and more.

Lesson recording: What do I observe in my lessons. What is good, not good. What is my evaluation and what do I do next?

Anything else is fair game, too, like pages of maths for working out the values of formants and/or vocal tract space based on equations, ideas for writing, reading notes, and more.