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ALT Tales: Stories of Resilience and Transformation
ALT Tales: Stories of Resilience and Transformation




ALT Tales: Stories of Resilience and Transformation

Listen to inspiring stories of resilience and transformation as these current and former ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) navigate their lives in language teaching in Japan.

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Time & Location

2024年6月22日 16:00 – 19:00 JST


About the Event

Presenter1 : Maria Theresa Niibori--Navigating challenges and enhancing Asian ALTs effectiveness in the classroom

Presenter 2 : Ellie Fujimoto-- A Filipino ALT’s vignettes of resilience and gratitude

Presenter 3:  Kyle Undem--Making the Transition from ALT to University Teaching

Presenter 4: Emily Choong--Cross-cultural Connections: Navigating Professional Development

Maria Theresa Niibori

Navigating challenges and enhancing Asian ALTs effectiveness in the classroom

The presentation will explore the challenges faced by Asian English teachers in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL). It will discuss the unique challenges encountered by many Asian teachers in the EFL classrooms in Japan.  These include language proficiency, cultural differences, teaching strategies, and student expectations.  By examining these challenges, the presentation aims to provide insights and recommendations to support Asian English teachers in enhancing their teaching effectiveness and promoting successful language learning outcomes.

Maria Theresa Niibori is an ALT at a municipal senior high school in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture.  She likes movie binging and going out with friends.  Having taught in the Philippines before coming to Japan, and being an officer in a teacher organization, she has been passionate about working and collaborating with teachers in numerous teacher training workshops to assist aspiring Filipino English teachers.  Living in Japan for almost half her life gave her the first hand experience on how culture plays a very crucial role in teaching.

Ellie Fujimoto

A Filipino ALT’s vignettes of resilience and gratitude

This talk will tackle both the challenging and positive experiences of an ALT from an Asian country. The speaker will also share how he overcame these challenges and highlight the Filipino teacher character that can be an asset for English education in Japan.

Ellie Fujimoto is a naturalized Japanese who was born and raised in the Philippines. He finished his BA (Psychology-Communication and Media Studies) at University of the Philippines. He came to Japan in 2011 and worked as an ALT for Toyohashi (Aichi) BOE from 2014 to 2022. He has an MA in Linguistics (TESOL) from Sophia University. At present, he is the head of the English program at Hinode Gakuen Elementary School where he teaches 1st to 6th grade CLIL classes. Outside of work, he serves as president of the Filipino English Teachers in Japan - Global, an organization that helps aspiring English teachers from the Philippines and other Asian countries fulfill their dreams and contribute in the betterment of English education in Japan.

Kyle Undem

Making the Transition from ALT to University Teaching

Making the transition from ALT to university teaching can be a challenging and perhaps even intimidating journey. This talk covers all the steps Kyle took shifting from working as an ALT on the JET Programme in junior high schools to receiving his first job teaching at a university in Japan. Drawing from his ten years of teaching experience across multiple contexts in Japan, Kyle shares some of the challenges and rewards of this process, basic tips for meeting the requirements most universities are looking for, as well as additional insights and suggestions from his journey to university teaching. Kyle hopes his story will inspire others to continue to pursue their teaching careers in Japan.

Kyle Undem is a former participant of the JET Programme (Yamaguchi Prefecture, 2010-2012) and has lived and taught in Japan for nearly ten years. He completed an MA-TESOL at Hamline University (2021) and currently teaches in the Center for Education in General Studies at Konan University in Kobe, Japan where he is currently developing a course on music history. His research interests include L2 identity, L2 motivational systems, systemic functional linguistics, and equal opportunity for all learners of English. He also enjoys photography, running, learning Japanese, and writing songs.

Emily Choong

Cross-cultural Connections: Navigating Professional Development

This presentation delves into the transformative journey of a teacher in Japan who aimed to foster deeper connections within her community. Initially arriving in Japan as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT), Emily Choong began volunteering at JALT to enhance her teaching skills, develop meaningful relationships, and discover her identity as a teacher. Drawing from her experiences, she shares her stories on fostering inclusive environments, leveraging community resources to shape her professional identity, and successes and failures in building bridges across communities in Japan and beyond. Now teaching in a university setting while pursuing her master’s degree, Emily hopes that her experience will help others to build meaningful connections with those around them, whether physically or virtually, as they navigate unfamiliar environments in their professional lives.

Emily Choong is a lecturer at Utsunomiya University and a Master’s candidate. Her current research interests include foreign language anxiety, speaking skills, and language attitudes. She has been actively involved in JALT holding local and national-level membership positions, and volunteering at conferences. This year, she is one of the conference co-chairs for JALT2024 in Shizuoka. Emily is also originally from Malaysia, meaning her idea of treating herself when not working is having afternoon tea or a fun-filled foodie day out.

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