10 QUESTIONS for:
1.) Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to the Monterey Institute of International Studies to study for an MA in TESOL?
Before coming to the Monterey Institute, I spent eleven years as an English teacher at Kwansei Gakuin Junior High School in Japan, teaching grammar and vocabulary classes. In 2001, I obtained a school grant to study abroad. I chose to enroll in the Monterey Institute because I felt the degree courses of the school would increase my knowledge of applied linguistics and help me to better meet the goals of my students.
2.) Why did you decide to pursue a CALL specialization?
In 1998, I designed the school's CALL lab, and developed CALL programs in an attempt to assist my students' English learning. In 2000, I had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Leo van Lier at a FLEAT (Foreign Language Education and Technology) conference in Kobe, Japan, and learned that MIIS's CALL specialization program provides excellent mix of theory and practice about the use of technology in language education. This encounter with a world-famous CALL specialist was another reason I chose MIIS.
3.) Do you specialize in any field of CALL - pedagogy, curriculum design, assessment, and etc.?
I develop CALL curriculum, syllabus, materials including handouts and software, conduct lessons and assessment using CALL system, but my special interest is on investigating CALL from pedagogical aspects. Since I came back in Japan, I have examined the pedagogical benefits of CALL, and presented the studies at international/domestic conferences such as TESOL (2004), FLEAT (2005), Asia TEFL (2006), LET (Language Education and Technology, 2007, 2009), and WorldCALL (2008).
4.) What are some of the pedagogical benefits you have examined?
In one study, I investigated students' vocabulary development through asynchronous computer-mediated communication (i.e., e-mail) from a sociocultural perspective. Another, I examined students' development of metalinguistic awareness through e-mail tandem project. The results of both studies revealed that students develop vocabulary and metalinguistic awareness through e-mail activities, and its effect is enhanced by teacher intervention (i.e., provision of opportunites to reflect the language items they encountered in e-mail text). The former has been recently published from the Cambridge Univ. Press, and the latter will appear in a Routledge book in a year.
5.) What was your favorite CALL class at MIIS and why?
I liked all the classes I took at MIIS because I liked all the professors and classmates! Well, it's actually hard for me to name ONE. Since I'm an analytical, number-crunching, and theory-oriented person, I liked Language Analysis, Structure of English, Educational Research, Applied Linguistic Research, Sociolinguistics, and Second Language Acquisition. What I learned from these courses is still valuable in my current career.
6.) Which CALL class was or has been directly beneficial for your career?
Every CALL class I joined was meaningful. Among them I found "Using Internet" taught by Prof. Jeff Watson was especially good. The class was conducted online, with the contents being theoretical rather than practical. The number of reading & writing assignments were at times overwhelming, but these coursework was all beneficial. I still utilize the course file whenever I need references for my paper.
7.) What specific knowledge and skills did you acquire from the CALL program at MIIS?
I learned a wide variety of CMC-based CALL activities. In addition to the practical side of these activities, I also learned firm SLA theories that support this approach. For example, interactionist theory, including noticing hypothesis and Focus on Form, and sociocultural theory are the main theoretical frameworks of my current CALL study.
8.) What do you like most about your job?
I like to see my students studying and thinking in my class. I am very delighted when I see them comprehend something and show good smile.
9.) Where do you see yourself in 5 and 10 years?
In the future, I would like to teach at a post-secondary school, and share my experiences in the TESOL and CALL field with young prospective teachers.
10.) If you can give one piece of advice to a future teacher or administrator working with CALL, what would it be?
Technology should not be the central focus in language education. What is the most important thing for classroom instruction is interaction between teacher and students. Technology is just a complementary device that supports your students' language learning. When you incorporate CALL in your language classroom, you should stand on firm SLA theories so that your use of CALL actually assists your students' language development.