Every organization has its own jargon and JALT is no exception. Two examples, SIG and PanSIG, will be used throughout the PanSIG site and at the conference. These terms are defined and many other questions are answered below. If your question isn't here, please contact us.
What is JALT?
The Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of language teaching and learning. JALT promotes excellence in language learning, teaching, and research by providing opportunities for those involved in language education to meet, share, and collaborate. We have nearly 3,000 members in chapters and affiliates across Japan, as well as members abroad. JALT's website is jalt.org
How do I join JALT?
Joining JALT is easy. Please visit the JALT Membership page on the jalt.org website to join JALT.
What is a SIG?
SIG is an acronym for Special Interest Group (分野別研究部会). JALT is divided into two parallel sets of groups: chapters and SIGs. JALT chapters are arranged geographically and each JALT member chooses a chapter, usually the one that is closest to them geographically. JALT SIGs are national groups, with each SIG having members from all over Japan and overseas, and are based on language teaching/learning interests. According to the official mission statement found on the JALT website, JALT SIGs are:
national networks for information exchange and fellowship among teachers with similar interests. They further JALT’s mission of improving foreign and second language education in Japan. SIGs are based on the various academic, research and pedagogical interests shared by JALT members. They are founded on similar occupations, subjects or levels taught, teaching approaches tailored to Japan, interest in certain fields, or interest in certain issues cutting across disciplines.
For a full list of all of the SIGs, please see the official JALT page for its groups.
How do I join a SIG?
To join a SIG, you must be a JALT member. All JALT members may join one SIG at no added cost when they join JALT or renew their membership. You may join as many additional SIGs as you like at 2,000 yen each. Please visit the JALT Membership page on the jalt.org website to do this.
What is PanSIG?
PanSIG is an annual conference sponsored and organized by many of JALT’s SIGs. It is meant to be a smaller, more intimate conference than the annual international JALT conference, and is place where SIG members can network with each other and other SIG members. PanSIG is usually held in May or June, while the annual international conference is usually held in October or November. The first PanSIG was held in 2002. (For a full list of past PanSIG conferences, see the archive on this site.)
How do I join PanSIG?
PanSIG is not an organization, so none of us "join" PanSIG. The organization to join is JALT (the Japan Association for Language Teaching). You can join JALT online.
You can join the PanSIG conference as an attendee or presenter by paying the appropriate registration fee. Attendance is open to JALT members and non-JALT members; everyone involved in language teaching is welcome.
Is PanSIG on social media (twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)?
Yes. PanSIG's twitter account is @JALTPanSIG.
PanSIG also has a Facebook page (JALTpansig)
PanSIG also has a YouTube channel
Our Instagram updates its name each year, so please check out our Social Media page for our complete list.
Will WiFi be available at the PanSIG conference?
Each year is different, and it depends on the university. Please see our WiFi Availability page for information specific to the upcoming conference, and please check back before coming just in case the situation has changed.
How much does the PanSIG conference cost?
As each year's PanSIG conference operates under different circumstances, the fees differ year to year. This site's conference registration and fees page contains fee structures and fee information for the upcoming PanSIG conference.
At the conference, what are the options for lunch?
Each year is different. Please see our food page to read about this year's options.
Why join a SIG?
Each SIG provides information on worldwide practice regarding the theme of the SIG, gives a view of practice in Japan on the theme of the SIG, provides professional development in the conferences and events it sponsors and through the publications it distributes to members, and provides professional opportunities such as presenting at the conferences/events and publishing in the SIG’s publications. A JALT member can join as many SIGs as he or she wants. The fee for membership in each SIG is 2,000 yen (but there is no fee to join your first SIG). To join a SIG, please see the JALT SIG website, or when you are at the conference, please visit the table of the SIG or SIGs you are interested in. You can also join a SIG at the conference Registration Table.
Who organizes PanSIG?
Please see our committee member page to see the names of the people who have been working to make the PanSIG conference a reality.
What about the environmental impact of the conference?
The PanSIG conference has had an Environmental officer since 2014, and we have been working to improve the environmental performance of the conference. This includes local sourcing of sustainable products, reducing waste, and increasing recycling. Since some environmental impact is inevitable, especially from transport, we have also been arranging carbon offsets to compensate for our carbon footprint. You can read more about it here.
What is an AM? (Associate Member)
AM stands for "Associate Member." AMs support JALT through their membership fees, advertisements, sponsored presentations at chapter, SIG and national events, exhibition space at the various JALT conferences across Japan, and many other ways. For a full list of JALT's AMs, please see the AM page on the National JALT site.
As it says on the JALT Associate Membership site,
Associate Membership in JALT is open to any organization that supports the aims of JALT and is involved in the production of quality products or provides services in or directly related to the language education field.
A special thank-you goes out to the AMs who have graciously donated their time and resources to support the PanSIG conference; please see the PanSIG list of participating Associate Members.
What other events does JALT hold?
In addition to the PanSIG conference, some of JALT's SIGs hold their own conferences. One of the largest of these is the JALT CALL SIG Conference, usually held in early June. Additionally, JALT has over 30 local chapters throughout Japan, and they hold regular events. While many of these chapter events are workshops or presentations by one or two speakers, some chapters hold mini-conferences. Please see the JALT calendar for details.
JALT's largest event of the year is our Annual International Conference on Language Teaching and Learning & Educational Materials Exhibition, held in October or November each year.
Which SIGs are participating in PanSIG this year?
About 24 or more SIGs participate each year. Please see the SIG Forum page to see which SIGs are participating.
What is the Accessibility in Language Learning SIG (ALL)?
The Accessibility in Language Learning SIG became a new forming SIG in February 2021. This SIG aims to create a community of language teachers to better understand learners with special needs to improve learners' overall learning experiences with diverse learning needs.
What is the Bilingualism SIG (BILING)?
"Applied Linguistics assumes L1 and L2 as givens. Why shouldn't a child have two first languages?"
The Bilingualism Special Interest Group (SIG) is made up of around 200 JALT members and subscribers, many of whom are raising or teaching bilingual children.
Our aim is to further research on bilingualism as it occurs in Japan. We also promote mutual support among our members through our bi-monthly newsletter, academic publications, and an active email list.
Parents in international marriages, people who communicate in more than one language, and teachers of multilingual students all take advantage of the practical and theoretical information available via our group.
What is the Business Communication SIG (BC, or "BizCom")?
Please note that as of January 2022 the Business Communication SIG is inactive and not receiving new members.
The BC SIG is intended to develop the discipline of teaching English conducive to participation in the world business community. We wish to provide instructors in this field with a means of collaboration and sharing best teaching practices.
BC SIGは、世界のビジネス界に通用する英語教育の発展を目的に持ち、結成されました。連携体 制を組み、最善の教育方法を共有することにより、英語教育に携わるインストラクターの皆様の お手伝いを致します。
What is the Critical Thinking SIG (CT)?
The CT SIG was established for the purpose of providing a clear but ever-reforming definition of critical thinking; to provide a forum for the discussion of critical thinking and praxis; to provide research opportunities to language educators interested in promoting critical thinking; and to provide an area where language teachers can enjoy friendly, professional and engaging examination of the rationale, validity and, furthermore, the critical importance of its instruction in various environments.
Download all volumes of the CT SIG's peer-reviewed journal, Critical Thinking and Language Learning, from their website:
What is the CEFR and Language Portfolio SIG (CEFR&LP)?
CEFR&LP SIG wants to discuss the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and European Language Portfolio (ELP), and other similar frameworks and their relevance for Japan. There is an emphasis on developing materials to support educators who would like to use these pedagogic tools. This is currently practically pursued in a Kaken Project. Also, the bilingual Language Portfolio aimed at Japanese universities is available on the SIG moodle.
What is the Computer Assisted Language Learning SIG (CALL)?
The CALL SIG serves the interests of language teaching professionals who are interested in bringing together knowledge and skills of technology and language learning. CALL practitioners work in a variety of educational settings: private language schools, elementary and secondary schools as well as colleges and universities.
What is the College and University Educators SIG (CUE)?
CUE’s goal is to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of educational activities, ideas and research of broad interest to college and university educators in Japan. If you are involved in tertiary education and are committed to professional development, you are CUE too.
What is the Extensive Reading SIG (ER)?
The ER SIG exists to help promote Extensive Reading (ER) in Japan. Through our website, our newsletter, the ERJ Journal, and presentations throughout Japan we aim to help teachers set up and make the most of their ER programs.
What is the Gender Awareness in Language Education SIG (GALE)?
The purpose of the GALE SIG is to research gender and its implications for language learning, teaching, and training. We welcome submissions for our newsletter (spring, summer, and fall issues) on topics, both theoretical and practical, related to the SIG’s aims. Book reviews, lesson plans, think pieces, poetry -- basically anything related to gender and language teaching is welcomed.
What is the Global Issues in Language Education SIG (GILE)?
GILE aims to promote global awareness, international understanding, and action to solve world problems through content-based language teaching, drawing from fields such as global education, peace education, environmental education, and human rights education. GILE SIG produces a quarterly newsletter, organizes presentations for local, national, and international conferences, and maintains contacts with groups ranging from Amnesty International to Educators for Social Responsibility to UNESCO.
What is the Intercultural Communication in Language Education SIG (ICLE)?
ICLE SIG aims at filling the gap within the existing SIGs at JALT, by exploring various ways language teachers could help shape their students' intercultural minds, raise their students’ cultural self-awareness, and educate for intercultural understanding. It will promote discussion about (1) various approaches to teaching intercultural communication in a language classroom, allowing educators to become better informed about language intercultural education theory, as well as (2) the development of resources appropriate to a foreign language teaching environment, taking into consideration the practical challenges of taking culture into account in the language classroom.
What is the Japanese as a Second Language SIG (JSL)?
日本語教育研究部会(JSL SIG)の役割は、第二言語としての日本語指導、日本語学習、日本語 教育研究の向上を目指し、指導、学習、研究のための資料や情報を与えることです。日本語の指 導者、学習者、研究者の皆様加入大歓迎です。発表の援助をし、ニュースレターと論文集を発行 するので論文・記事の寄稿を歓迎します。
The mission of the JSL SIG is to serve as a resource for promoting JSL teaching, learning and research. We welcome JSL teachers, learners, and researchers to join and take an active role in our SIG. We sponsor presentations, and publish a newsletter and a journal.
What is the Learner Development SIG (LD)?
The LD SIG is a lively energetic group sharing an interest in ways to promote learner (and teacher!) development and autonomy.
LD SIGは、多様な教育現場(大学以外)でご活躍の皆さんの参加を歓迎しています。 小学校、中学 校、高校、通信教育、大学院、語学学校での指導や、英語以外の言語を教えている教師の皆様、 どうぞご参加ください。
What is the Lifelong Language Learning SIG (LLL)?
We offer a bright future to our aging society. The energy of older learners who wish to lead active lives is flowing all over Japan. LLL is willing to help these older learners enrich their lives through language learning. LLL also provides resources and information for teachers who teach English to older learners by holding events and publishing online newsletters.
What is the Listening SIG?
The Listening SIG became a SIG in February 2021.
What is the Literature in Language Teaching SIG (LiLT)?
LiLT started up to encourage and promote the use of literature in the language classroom. Literature provides real content to engage and to motivate our EFL students.
What is the Materials Writers SIG (MW)?
The MW SIG was established to help members turn fresh teaching ideas into useful classroom materials. We try to be a mutual assistance network, offering information regarding copyright law, sharing practical advice on publishing practices, including self-publication, and suggesting ways to create better language learning materials for general consumption or for individual classroom use.
What is the Mind, Brain, and Education SIG?
The Mind, Brain, and Education SIG is a forum for language educators and researchers to share insights in neuroscience. We hope to be a driving force in bringing relevant new discoveries in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and neurolinguistics into language teaching in Japan.
What is the Mixed, Augmented and Virtual Realities (MAVR) SIG?
Mixed, Augmented and Virtual Realities (MAVR) is not a new concept or area of study, but it an area that is beginning to be implemented at a larger scale in many other fields. Environments that employ these tools and concepts are being applied to medicine, engineering and education. There are those of us working in this area connected to education here in Japan and more specifically language education in Japan. The MARV SIG is not just about the technology, it is also looking into what these technologies mean for how we communicate and learn as we create and augment our own reality.
What is the Performance in Education SIG (PIE)?
The PIE SIG was formerly known as the Speech, Drama, & Debate SIG (SD&D). The name was officially changed in June 2019.
The mission of the PIE SIG is to provide a forum for teachers and academics to discuss, research, and implement oral interpretation, speech, debate, and drama in language education, including teachers who use music, puppetry, oral interpretation in their classes. The main activities of the PIE SIG include the creation of newsletters, two journals, and sponsoring conferences. Future activities may be sponsoring and supporting local and regional speech, drama, and debate contests or festivals.
What is the Other Language Educators SIG (OLE)?
The OLE SIG was founded in 1996 in order to serve the special needs of learners and teachers of a wide variety of languages (German, French, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian etc.). OLE can also be considered part of peace education as languages are also thought to be instrumental in developing cultural empathy, opening up our minds to other concepts and ideas, and enabling us to reflect on our own.
What is the Pragmatics SIG (PRAG)?
The Pragmatics SIG welcomes members who are interested in both research and practical teaching issues related to "how people do things with words." The group’s newsletter, Pragmatic Matters, is published electronically three times a year. Our Pragmatics Resources series offers practical and theoretical papers on language in use. If you do anything with language, you are using pragmatics.
What is the School Owners SIG (SO)?
Language School owners have always played a significant role in JALT both at national & local levels. The SIG offers web-based and in-person events as well as a forum to discuss and find solutions to issues unique to operating a language school and cannot be addressed through other SIGs, such as: recruitment & training; taxes, accounting, banking and bookkeeping; marketing & advertising; managing employees, and partnerships & trade between owners.
What is the Study Abroad SIG (SA)?
The JALT Study Abroad SIG was established in 2008 to promote research on overseas study and facilitate networking among those interesting in learning more about study abroad.
What is the Task Based Learning SIG (TBL)?
The TBL SIG is aimed at teachers who currently use, or are interested in using, task-based approaches in the classroom. TBL SIG focuses in particular on issues related to Task-Based Language teaching and learning in the Asian EFL context, where TBLT has yet to enter the mainstream of language pedagogy. We hope that the SIG will serve as a useful forum for the exchange of practical teaching ideas, theoretical discussion, and academic studies of TBLT issues.
What is the Teacher Development SIG (TD)?
The TD SIG is a network for those who want to help themselves and others become more effective and reflective teachers. Formed in 1993, our activities include conferences, workshops, forums, newsletters, and reflective practice groups. TD's journal, Explorations in Teacher Development, welcomes stimulating submissions related to teacher research.
What is the Teachers Helping Teachers SIG (THT)?
THT is a grassroots organization founded by members of the Himeji City Chapter of JALT in 2004. THT is dedicated to the aid and assistance of fellow educators and students in and around Asia. We fulfill this mission by providing teacher-training workshops in Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, and Vietnam that exhibit practical, student and teacher-friendly approaches to language education that are informed by current research in the field.
What is the Teaching Younger Learners SIG (TYL)?
The TYL SIG is for teachers of children of all ages. We publish a bilingual newsletter four times a year with columns by many of the leading teachers in the field. We are always looking for new ideas and new people to keep the SIG dynamic. With our bilingual newsletter, Teachers Learning with Children, we particularly want to appeal to Japanese teachers and teachers who team teach.
What is the Testing and Evaluation SIG (TEVAL)?
TEVAL SIG aims to provide avenues for research, information, and discussion related to foreign language testing and evaluation both from within JALT membership and with other professional organizations which have common interests and goals. Current and back issues of Shiken, the TEVAL SIG publication, are available on the TEVAL website.
What is the Vocabulary SIG (VOCAB)?
The VOCAB SIG aims to provide a forum for focused research and discussion in specific regard to vocabulary acquisition. We aim to offer both teachers and researchers a place to connect regarding how learners improve vocabulary knowledge, how to test their knowledge, and how these theoretical aspects will connect to classroom practice. The VOCAB SIG aims to be a driving force for both current and future research in the field of how vocabulary can be taught, learned, and tested in an increasingly global context.