SUTLF 6: Teacher Journeys

in partnership with the Teacher Development SIG of JALT

In language education in Japan and around the world, almost every teacher's career path takes the form of a unique and eventful journey. We often take this for granted, but it is exactly these journeys, these narratives of teacher identity formation, that enrich our profession and serve our students. 

At this, the eighth annual Teacher Journeys Conference, we aim to explore the winding but meaningful paths of teachers in our field towards greater self-awareness and improved classroom practice. Our featured speakers bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the conversation, and will offer insight into the kind of professional narratives and practices that enrich EFL teaching.

Whether you teach at a primary or secondary school, a cram school, university, or eikawa, chances are your identity as an English teacher has been enriched by personal and professional journeys. You may be a Japanese teacher of English whose experience studying abroad kindled a passion for English that you still convey to your students. Or maybe you are a sojourner who has taught in many other countries and cultures before landing in Japan.

No matter where you are in your journey as a teacher, we hope you will join us on Saturday, June 29 at Sojo University in Kumamoto to tell your story through either empirical research or personal narrative, or to listen to the stories of other teachers trekking along on a similar path.

Schedule and Program

Click here to view the schedule and presentation abstracts.

Plenary Speakers

For the second year in a row, SUTLF has been awarded a platinum EVE award for recognising both gender and highly proficient speaker parity in plenaries at an ELT conference.

EVE awards are granted by Equal Voices in ELT, a group of ELT practitioners interested in the issue of equality at conferences and other professional events. To learn more about Equal Voices in ELT, please follow the link below.

Fumi Takegami

The Prefectural University of Kumamoto

Fumi Takegami is in the Department of English Language and Literature, at Prefectural University of Kumamoto. Her teaching journey first began 30 years ago as an elementary school teacher. Soon after, her professional career shifted to junior and senior high school. Fumi’s belief in the need for teachers to continuously pursue professional development brought her to Kumamoto University, Faculty of Letters and Science where she received a MA TESOL degree and a PhD in Applied Linguistics. Fumi is a teacher researcher. In both her MA thesis and PhD dissertation she conducted classroom-based research. In her dissertation, she did a case study exploring and documenting the development of three young teachers as they went through series of praxis designed lesson study (jugyokenkyu) cycles in which she played a participatory role as a teacher educator to meet MEXT’s policy goal to teach English in English. Presently and appropriately, Fumi’s teacher journey, culminating in years of experience coupled with classroom-based research, has brought her to teaching at university, where she designs and teaches education courses in language development and preparing students to attain a teacher license. 

Christopher Hale

Akita International University

Chris Carl Hale, EdD is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Global Communication and Language at Akita International University, Japan and formerly the Academic Director of the Tokyo Center of the New York University (NYU) School of Professional Studies (SPS). He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to language acquisition in the United States and in Japan for over 20 years at universities such as City University of New York (CUNY), Queens College, Teachers College Columbia University, and International Christian University, Tokyo. He is also a teacher trainer, currently providing professional development opportunities for Japanese teachers of English through a U.S. Department of State grant administered through the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. His articles have appeared in Language Testing in Asia, TESOL International, and Teachers College Columbia University Journal of TESOL and Applied Linguistics. He is also an avid DJ and techno music producer. 

Important Dates

Tuesday, 19 March

Call for Presentations Opens

Tuesday, 30 April

Call for Presentations Closes

Saturday, 22 June

Early Registration Closes

Friday, 28 June

Welcome Party (18:30)

Saturday, 29 June

Main Event

Networking Dinner

Sunday, 30 June

Kumamoto City Tour

Submissions & Registration

Registrations with payments confirmed before 22 June include admission, a lunch ticket for our cafeteria, and a small gift. Registrations and payments received after 22 June include admission only. Availability of cafeteria lunches cannot be guaranteed for late/on-site registrants. Please note that the nearest open convenience store is a ten-minute walk.

Early Registration

(on or before 22 June)

¥1500 for JALT Members

¥2000 for nonmembers

Late/On-site Registration

(after 22 June)

¥2000 for JALT/JASAL Members

¥2500 for nonmembers

Free admission for students (must pay ¥500 for lunch)


SILC Building, Sojo University

Local JR trains run frequently from Kumamoto Station to Sojodaigaku-Mae (10 min, ¥210). From Sojodaigaku-Mae, cross Route 31 and take the elevator up to the university.

If you're flying, there is a bus which runs frequently from Kumamoto Airport to Kumamoto Station (60 min, ¥1010).

Networking Dinner

Deepen the connections you make at our conference by joining us for dinner Saturday evening!

Jang Jang Go

Saturday, 29 June


9 courses + nomihodai for ¥4000!

Post-conference Tour of Kumamoto

We are planning on viewing Kumamoto Castle Reconstruction and the Josaien Tourist Center, along with several other locations.

Sunday, 30 June


Start/Finish at Sakuranobaba Johsaien

10 person limit

2 hour English tour of castle grounds for ¥800