Presentation Information

10.00 – 10.30 Rooms within the heart: Tanka as a medium of cultural exchange

Kevin Stein (Clark Memorial International School)


In the 2015 – 2016 school year, high school students in an International Course Program in Osaka, Japan participated in a series of cross-cultural linked lessons with undergraduate students of social work at Martin Luther Christian University in Meghalaya, India. The series of lessons focused on the tanka poetry form, poetry translation, and poetry analysis and interpretation.  This presentation will explain the process, tools, and difficulties students used and faced while engaged in a dialogue with students from a different culture around poetry.  It will also highlight the way in which tanka poetry served as a first step in a wider dialogue about students’ personal views and the world around them.


Kevin Stein is a high school teacher at Clark Memorial International High School, a private high school in Osaka, Japan.  He is a mentor with iTDi, an active member of the JALT LiLT SIG, and likes to sing silly songs with his wife and daughter when time allows.

Documents: exploring-tanka booklet


10.45 – 11.15 Different types of difficult 

John Fawsitt (Kibi International University)


Works are often simplified for consumption by English language learners, due to fears that they will be over-taxed by longer more elaborate texts. It can also be said however that we are denying students access to the richness of the originals by doing this. In this presentation I would like to propose that we do not need to choose between one or the other, but by comparison and contrast students can learn more about the language itself and the ways it can be used. Also I hope to explore how such texts can also be used as a springboard for a range of language learning activities.


John Fawsitt has an MA in TESOL from Sheffield Hallam University, and has spent most of his career teaching in secondary schools. This is his third year working at college level and he is still exploring its very different requirements. His main research interests are in the areas of classroom language, language change, and education in its social context. Having always been an avid reader, he really enjoys conducting literature classes.


11.30 – 12.00 Enliven your language class with postcard and drama activities

Vicky Richings (Kwansei Gakuin University)


Previous research in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) suggests that the use of literature in the teaching and learning of a foreign language can enhance motivation in students. This workshop will demonstrate experiments with literature in a second-year high school English class where the students had no previous experience with readings of literature. In this workshop, I will in particular talk about two activities that were administered: making a postcard and a play.


Vicky Ann Richings teaches English, Japanese, and cultural studies at Kwansei Gakuin University. Her research interests are in the usage of literature in the language classroom and materials development.


2.00 – 2.30 A short talk on why to make it long

Anna Husson Isozaki (Juntendo University)


The stories we learn most from are those in which we have a sustained “metaphorical journey” (Yumitani, 2014, 2015). Brain studies clarify that we experience what we read (Boyd, 2009; Cron, 2012, and longer stories are more likely to encourage experiential learning; whether with book series, novels, or autobiographies like A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Literature is a “playground” (Judge, 2013) and autobiography, especially, offers an opportunity to build a bridge to critical media literacy. This interactive presentation will share research, multimodal stories, and will invite members’ recommendations and ways of making such “journeys” manageable for not-yet-fluent readers.


Anna Husson Isozaki, based north of Tokyo, is originally from the U.S., where she studied International development and politics. She holds an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield, a Certificate in Online Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a second MA from Kanda University of International Studies, in TESOL. She’s currently planning doctoral research in L2 literacy building, and teaches with the (secret) goal of sharing the pleasure of good stories with learners of all ages. (Her private students are finishing book seven of Harry Potter.) She also teaches listening and academic reading, journalism, critical media literacy, and has translated literature and published creative writing. She has presented around Japan, in Korea, Taiwan, and Germany. She loves to talk about bilingual parenting as well.


2.45 – 3.15 This river here: Borders and hybridity in the poetry of the 

southwestern United States

Quenby Hoffman Aoki (Sophia University)


This presentation introduces the literature of the Southwestern United States, focusing on the work of Mexican-American and Native American poets Gloria Anzaldua, Leslie Marmon Silko, Carmen Tafolla, and Luci Tapahonso.  Their work is award-winning and aesthetically pleasing to read.  It is also a source of authentic content, which can be made accessible even for students who are not familiar with the cultural and historical background. Works reflecting the rich, complex traditions of the region provide an opportunity to discuss issues of social justice, presenting a more accurate view of the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity that informs American literature.


Quenby Hoffman Aoki holds degrees in Japanese Language and TESOL, and teaches in the English Literature  Department at Sophia University. She includes fluency practice and social justice issues, especially gender and race,  in her classes, along with (of course) literature. She is recently remembering a lot of Spanish vocabulary, after being distracted by Japan for 26 years.


3.30 – 4.00 Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet via Literary Darwinism

John Maune (Hokusei Gakuen University)


As evolutionary theory has become such a cornerstone of biology, it has been incorporated across many disciplines with consilience, for some, the desired goal.  Literature is no exception: the thought being that human evolution has shaped our behavior, thus our literary preferences.  Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet revolves around aggression and love and is full of examples that illustrate a wide range of evolutionary concepts.   Zeffirelli’s film version of the play is first viewed by students in a content-based course:  Life Science.  The text of various scenes is analyzed giving intuitive examples that hold a mirror up to our nature.


John Maune is a professor in the Junior College English department at Hokusei Gakuen University, Sapporo, Japan. He combined a chemistry major and literature minor during his undergraduate studies after which in 1991 he received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA, publishing numerous research papers on biochemistry and genetic engineering. He then took a year off and traveled throughout North America accompanied by the complete works of Shakespeare. In 1992 he moved to Sapporo, Japan, and from 1994 he started to teach a content-based EFL course, Life Science, at Hokusei, where he has used Shakespeare to illustrate human nature and evolutionary concepts. He  is currently the head of the department’s study abroad program. Following his exit from laboratory research, he has published and spoken on many diverse topics: topsy-turvy in Coriolanus, international education, the language of nature in Romeo and Juliet, and motivation, to name a few. Recently, he presented at HBES 2016, NeMLA 2015 and 2016, ESRA 2015, and the FABneuroELT Brain Days International Conference, September, 2015.



4.15 – 4.45 Texts that work: Appropriate literature for your language classes 

Simon Bibby (Kobe Shoin Women’s University)


‘Can you suggest some texts to use?’ is a common question, and here the presenter offers some very practical classroom-oriented discussion in response. The presenter has taught repeated iterations of three distinct literature-themed courses in the last few years: initially a single-text ‘Animal Farm’ course, then multi-text ‘Dystopian Cinema & Literature’ and ‘Introduction to Literature’ courses.  The presenter here discusses putting whole courses together containing texts of different genres, notes texts that appear to have  most interested language learners, and suggests activities that work well with students in tertiary language classes.


Simon Bibby is a faculty member at Kobe Shoin Women’s University. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Liverpool, having earlier qualified as a secondary school teacher, then taken an MA in Educational Technologies and TESOL. His main theoretical and practical interests include effective use of educational technologies for language learning, and using literature in language classes. Outside of teaching, as a former Japan national champion, he is now returning to competitive international chess after some years hiatus. He started LiLT SIG in 2011 to meet and learn from other people in Japan who use literary texts in their classes.

5.00 + ‘Festival of Ideas’ Evening Social

Depending on weather and numbers,  we will adjourn for a literary social after the event to somewhere nearby. All are, of course, most welcome to join the literary-themed discussions.