PanSIG 2023 Plenary Speakers

See our Plenary Sessions photos on Flickr.

Mitsuyo Sakamoto

Mitsuyo SakamotoPossibilities and challenges afforded by COIL in English language teaching

Time: Saturday, May 13th 13:40 - 14:40

Location: S301

Plenary Abstract:

Irrespective of where you are, the past few years have posed sudden, unprecedented challenges to language learners, with COVID-19 severely restricting international mobility, thus affecting possibilities of studying overseas. In order to address this challenge, I turned to Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) in 2022 as a viable innovative pedagogical option to foster interactive language learning among students in Japan and the US. In this talk, I will first introduce what COIL is, and then take up my own project as an example of what COIL teaching can look like.

Specifically, while COIL affords language learners with rich language learning experiences, the project also aimed at exploring how it can help eradicate native-speaker norms and actualize a critical, decolonial language practice, because a major difficulty often faced in teaching English to Japanese learners is how, sadly, raciolinguistic, hegemonic ideologies are entrenched and prevalent among them, assuming native speakers from the Inner Circle as a paragon - the ultimate, perfect, ideal English native speaker model. Instead of relegating Japanese English learners simply as non-native speakers and thereby perpetuating this harmful ideology, by engaging with American learners of Japanese, the study aimed to nurture Japanese students' self-respect, to legitimize their English output, and to create a space for reevaluation and reconceptualization of a precarious, idealized notion of a white, "perfect" English native speaker.

Keywords: COIL, online teaching, self-respect

Bio: Mitsuyo Sakamoto received her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Jim Cummins. She is currently a professor in the Department of English Studies and the Graduate School of Languages and Linguistics at Sophia University, Tokyo. She was one of the working members of the Salzburg Global Seminar that compiled the Salzburg Statement for a Multilingual World in 2017.

Research: Her research focus is bilingualism/bilingual education, particularly heritage language maintenance. Recently, she has been exploring the effects of power and ideologies on the identity of and language policy for bilinguals. Her latest English publications include

  • The missing C: Addressing criticality in CLIL (International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2021) 
  • (Re)imagining oneself as an English user: Identity formation of Japanese English learners (Asian Englishes, 2022, co-authored with Gavin Furukawa)
  • 'Native speakers aren't perfect': Japanese English learners' identity formation as English users (System, 2022, co-authored with Gavin Furukawa).

Yukie Saito

Yukie SaitoExploring the Potential of Metaverse and ChatGPT in English Language Teaching and Learning

Time: Sunday, May 14th, 10:10 - 11:10

Location: S301

Plenary Abstract:

Metaverse and ChatGPT are two popular technology-related keywords that have been widely discussed. Despite the potential negative aspects of these innovations, students currently learning English are expected to be proficient in the latest technology for their future careers. It will be valuable for students if we teach them English and help them become familiar with the latest technology and understand its benefits and limits.

I will discuss how Metaverse and ChatGPT can enhance and enrich English teaching and learning. In the first part of the talk, I will share my experience of using Virtual Reality (VR) as one example of Metaverse in several VR projects. By reflecting on the projects, the possibility of integrating VR into English teaching and learning will be discussed, considering the characteristics of VR, such as immersive, interactive, and cooperative language learning. In the latter part of the talk, I will provide some suggestions for using ChatGPT to teach English listening and speaking, such as creating pragmatically appropriate dialogues with ChatGPT. While concerns have been raised about ChatGPT potentially stifling students' critical thinking skills, the presentation will provide implications of how the latest technology can facilitate higher-order thinking skills aligned with Bloom's Taxonomy.

Keywords: Metaverse, ChatGPT, Virtual Reality

Bio: Yukie Saito obtained a MA in TESOL from Teachers College Columbia University and a Ph.D. in education from Temple University. She is an associate professor at the Faculty of Global Informatics of Chuo University. She coordinates an English course for first-year students and study abroad programs and is in charge of a seminar focusing on EdTech and its application to English education.

Research: She has been interested in pragmatics, English teachers' cognition and classroom practice, CEFR, and EdTech. Her main interest is the application of Virtual Reality (VR) in English education. Her research about VR led to her obtaining support from the XR Fund Project by Meta, and she is also a strategic advisor of Immerse, a VR software company.