Nara JALT:

Innovation in Writing: Examining dialogues between instructors of English writing and Japanese learners of English

Date: Sunday, November 27th, 2011 Time: 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Speaker: Marlen Elliot Harrison (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

If innovation can be defined as a new method or idea, how do learners in the Japanese post-secondary classroom respond to innovations in writing curricula? Likewise, how do instructors develop and implement such innovations? Despite the plethora of studies documenting development of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL), there has been little previous research in writing curricula investigated from two different perspectives such as the lived experiences of both learners AND instructors, or how the Japanese EFL writing context, itself, is a unique environment. Although research has tended to highlight oral skills as effective strategies to improve English proficiency in Japan (Ogura, 2009), few studies exist that examine how EFL writing curricula addresses students‚ emotional needs (Falout, 2009).

This presentation focuses on written dialogues between both Japanese post-secondary English learners and English instructors in the Japanese EFL context, in order to more deeply explore innovative writing pedagogies in the Japanese post-secondary classroom, and the lived experiences of those involved in such innovations. Learn more at

About the presenter: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison has been teaching language, communication, composition, literature and gender/sexuality studies at universities in Asia, Europe and North America since 1997. Having published numerous articles and chapters on topics ranging from second language teaching to writing classroom pedagogies, he specializes in writing across the curriculum and multilingual learner writing pedagogies. Currently teaching for the Language Centre at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, he previously taught in both Japan and the English department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), USA where he also completed his PhD in Composition and TESOL. With a background in mental health counseling and an MA in Education and Human Development/Counseling from The George Washington University, he is an inter-disciplinary instructor-researcher who works at the crossroads of humanities and social sciences to explore how both spoken and written language are shaped by cultures and identities. Learn more at

Organization: Nara Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (Nara JALT)

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 500 yen

Venue: Yumekaze, Nara City, by the entrance to Todaiji in Nara Park, map (PDF)

Location: Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan


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