PanSIG is an annual conference usually held in May, and organized by many of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT). The conference brings together leading scholars and practitioners in language education from Japan, Asia, and throughout the world. It is meant to be a smaller, more intimate conference than the annual international JALT conference (which is held each fall), and is a place where SIG members can network with each other.

This year PanSIG 2021 will be held online on Friday May 14th, Saturday May 15th, and Sunday May 16, 2021.

For more information, please visit:

PanSIG2021 Website

PanSIG Website

Mohammad Khari from ScOLa will be presenting as a guest speaker at this conference as a part of the Mind, Brain, and Education SIG Forum: Where Brain Sciences Intersect Language Teaching.


Cultural Context: Putting the Genie of Bias Back in the Bottle


(As a part of the forum) Sat, May 15, 18:00-19:30 JST


As social beings, humans have learned, the hard way, that unless one has a meaningful role in their environment, the formation of a true “self” sounds impossible. This leads to the subject winding up in the pitfall of “non-belonging”, i.e. not being “at home” with oneself. Although the role of “context” has been significantly highlighted in the pedagogical literature, its connection with the brain has occasionally been underestimated. ESL learners are exposed to contexts very often alien to them. Combined with the biases individuals form prior to and during the learning experience, this sense of alienation hinders an effective learning experience. Different forms of cognitive biases are at work here including Framing Effect, Confirmation Bias, Negativity Bias, and Pessimism Bias causing unnecessary cognitive load and creating barriers to language acquisition. Adding cultural scenarios to the lesson plans would give learners a chance to experience and practice the target language in its meaningful culture and context at both input and practice stages. This way, teachers can foster learners’ engagement and motivation since there is a strong possibility that the learners overcome their cognitive biases by relating to their new roles in the novel context and learn more efficiently.

For more information, please visit the forum site: Where Brain Sciences Intersect Language Teaching