Past Seminars

2015-2016

Dr. Roy Lyster (McGill University, Canada)

Content-Based Language Teaching

This course will introduce participants to a wide range of program types and contexts comprising content-based language teaching (CBLT), also known as content-and-language integrated learning (CLIL). Drawing on classroom-based research, the benefits and challenges of learning language through content will be explored. This research has revealed that, for CBLT to reach its full potential for developing high levels of target language proficiency, it must be language-rich and discourse-rich. Research will be examined that increasingly supports an instructional approach that integrates a focus on both language and content, rather than focusing only on content and relying on the expectation that learners’ will simply ‘pick up’ the language along the way.

A counterbalanced approach that integrates language and content both reactively and proactively will be outlined as an effective means to maximize target language learning in CBLT. A reactive approach includes scaffolding techniques such as questions and feedback in response to learners’ language production. Course participants will develop an appreciation of the important role of scaffolding in supporting student participation while ensuring that oral interaction is a key source of learning.

A proactive approach entails planning for noticing and awareness activities followed by opportunities for both guided and independent practice. Course participants will develop an understanding how shifting learners’ attention between content and language increases depth of processing and strengthens metalinguistic awareness. Finally, this course will examine the important role played by teacher collaboration in CBLT and will question the use of the learners’ first language in learning content through an additional language.

Required Textbook:

Dr. Paul Toth (Temple University, U.S.A.)

The Socio-Cognitive Imperative of L2 Pedagogy: A Meeting of Minds in Social Worlds

This seminar explores how social and cognitive theoretical perspectives can inform L2 instruction. The lecturer argues that highly effective pedagogy requires viewing language and language learning as complex sociocognitive phenomena, and that L2 teachers who seek to truly understand the nature of their responsibilities must have a nuanced understanding of both. They will first acknowledge nonnegotiable elements that teachers must account for in their pedagogical plans, including: (1) learners’ background knowledge; (2) the nature of instructional targets; (3) the nature of cognition and social interaction; and (4) available time. Then they will discuss learning goals, means, and instructional support as the negotiable elements that teachers can manipulate within these limitations. Next, they compare cognitive and social L2 theories for how they characterize language and language learning to inform pedagogical planning. Finally, they will conclude with current proposals that exemplify an integrated, “sociocognitive” pedagogy by engaging learners in iterative cycles of modeling, guidance, and handover to independent language use. These include PACE (Adair-Hauck & Donato, 2016), Genre-Based Instruction (Martin, 2009), Concept-Based Instruction (Negueruela, 2008) and Dynamic Assessment (Davin, 2013; Poehner, 2008) Effective sociocognitive pedagogy will thus be defined as “a meeting of minds within social worlds.”

By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  1. identify similarities and differences between cognitive and social views of language and language learning.
  2. describe how cognitive and social perspectives are relevant to pedagogical decision-making.
  3. identify the components of sociocognitive pedagogy and assess possibilities for incorporating it into their own teaching practices.

Recommended Textbook:

  • Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2013). Second Language Learning Theories (3rd ed.). New York NY: Routledge. (Buy on Amazon.co.jp)

This textbook is helpful for the seminar course project.

Dr. Trevor Bond (James Cook University, Australia)

Using Rasch Measurement in Language / Educational Research

The primary purpose of this seminar is to introduce the Rasch model for measurement, which is revolutionizing testing and research in the social sciences, including the fields of second language and educational research. Consequently, this seminar will be of particular benefit to participants who are involved in language assessment or other educational research.

The seminar will begin with an introduction to the theory and practice of Rasch measurement and will include an explanation of the advantages of Rasch analysis over classical approaches to test and questionnaire scores. Subsequent topics will include how Rasch analysis can be applied to dichotomous data (the basic Rasch model), and Likert-style questionnaire data (the Rasch rating scale model).

The second day of the seminar will be largely dedicated to hands-on data analysis and the interpretation of the output from the computer program WINSTEPS (which is installed at both TUJ locations). Although the seminar presenter will provide access to data sets for analysis, participants are also encouraged to bring their own data sets in EXCEL file format. Dichotomous (right / wrong) data are most suited for beginners’ analyses.

No previous familiarity with the Rasch model is necessary for participants, but it is strongly recommended that participants have access to Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences, particularly for the seminar assessment activity.

Pre-seminar Reading:

  • McNamara, T. F., & Knoch, U. (2012). The Rasch Wars: The Emergence of Rasch Measurement in Language Testing, 29(4), 555–576.

Registered credit students will be provided with above reading prior to the seminar.

Recommended Textbook:

  • Bond, T.G. & Fox, C. M. (2015). Applying the Rasch Model: Fundamental Measurement in the Human Sciences (3rd ed.). New York NY: Routledge. (Buy on Amazon.co.jp)

Dr. Shawn Loewen (Michigan State University, U.S.A.)

Instructed Second Language Acquisition: How Effective is it?

As second language (L2) educators, we assume that our efforts in the classroom result in improved L2 skills for our students. However, student improvement may be difficult to observe, and sometimes we may feel that instruction may not be as effective as hoped. This seminar explores the effects of L2 instruction from a theoretical and empirical perspective. We will look at what researchers and theorists say should be effective in the classroom, and we will consider the research findings that support or contradict these theoretical perspectives. Furthermore, we will discuss teachers' perspectives on these theoretical and empirical claims.

More specifically, we will consider the differences between explicit and implicit L2 knowledge, and the role that they play in L2 communicative competence. Furthermore, the seminar will investigate which types of instruction (e.g., explicit, communicative, implicit) are best suited to develop which types of knowledge. In addition, we will examine the challenges that specific areas of language, such as grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and pragmatics, pose for L2 development. Finally, we will look at individual and contextual differences that affect L2 instruction.

Textbook:

Dr. Jonathan Newton (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

The Practice of Teaching Speaking

For language learners the world over the ability to communicate fluently and confidently in the language they are learning is in equal measures a compelling dream, a daunting prospect and an elusive target. For teachers, it can be no less daunting to teach speaking because of the complex array of social, environmental, cognitive, psychological and neuro-muscular factors at play. Indeed I would argue that the knowledge and skills required to teach speaking effectively are undervalued in the profession. In response to this issue, this course explores the practice of teaching speaking with particular reference to the challenges faced by native and non-native speaker teachers in EFL classrooms and how teachers can meet these challenges.

The course will address three main themes. The first, theoretical foundations, reviews cognitive, sociocultural and skill-based theoretical accounts of the role of spoken language production in language learning. The second theme focuses on classroom practice and critically evaluates the range of approaches to teaching speaking and providing speaking opportunities in the classroom, from tightly controlled choral repetition and pattern drills to communication tasks and free discussion. Research evidence will be bought to bear on assessing the value of these different approaches. The third theme considers learner, teacher and environmental factors that impact on the provision, implementation and uptake of speaking opportunities in the classroom. Learner factors include communicative anxiety, willingness to communicate, motivation and cultural preferences. Teacher factors include abilities, self-efficacy, beliefs, and experiences. Environmental factors include the immediate school context and the wider sociocultural environment.

Participants in the course will be expected to take part in various practical activities and in discussions so as to gain a deeper understanding of the instructional options under consideration.

Recommended Textbook:

Dr. Brian Paltridge (University of Sydney, Australia)

Discourse and Language Teaching

This seminar focuses on the analysis of both spoken and written discourse. It will aim to show how discourse analysis can reveal important insights for both understanding the use of language and for the purposes of language teaching and learning. The seminar will examine spoken and written discourse from a range of different sources. Background theories will be covered which will then be considered in the light of broader views of what it means to be a successful user of a second or foreign language.

Topics covered will include discourse and identity, discourse and society, pragmatics and discourse, discourse and genre, discourse and conversation, multimodal discourse analysis, and critical discourse analysis. Implications for language teaching and learning will also be discussed. Examples will be given of how a focus on discourse from each of the perspectives covered in the course can be taken up in the language learning classroom.

Seminar participants will learn:

  • how to analyze spoken and written discourse from a range of different perspectives
  • how to draw on these analyses for the purposes of language teaching and learning

Textbook:

Dr. Batia Laufer (University of Haifa, Israel)

Selection, Acquisition and Testing of L2 Vocabulary: the Old and the New

The seminar will focus on three central themes in L2 vocabulary research: selection, acquisition and testing of words learnt by L2 learners. This lecturer will look at these themes from different perspectives: theory, empirical research and practical implications.

Since non-native speakers operate with a limited vocabulary by comparison with native speakers, teachers should make sure that this vocabulary will be as useful as possible and as accurate as possible when functioning in the language. Participants will discuss several criteria for deciding which vocabulary (single words and multi-word units) should be selected for teaching: frequency, usefulness and learnability.

In the 'acquisition' part of the seminar, participants will address a major issue in L2 vocabulary research - the sources of learning new words: language input, attending to words in communicative activities, and decontextualized word practice. They will be related to intentional and incidental learning, the number of exposures to a word and the nature of activities that lead to effective learning.

Defining lexical proficiency and measuring it in a valid and reliable manner is crucial for conducting research and for setting the goals of lexical instruction. The lecturer will suggest a model of lexical proficiency, which extends beyond word knowledge, and will discuss several well-known and less-known vocabulary tests and the research they have generated. Throughout the lectures, the lecturer will try to demonstrate the importance of L1 and contrastive analysis in vocabulary selection, acquisition and testing.

In the public lecture, the lecturer will examine the issue of achieving a high lexical proficiency and life-long lexical learning.

Dr. Jean Parkinson (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

English for Specific Purposes

English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is an approach to language teaching in which the learners' content specialty is foregrounded in teaching. ESP is particularly employed in teaching students at tertiary level who are studying through the medium of English as their second language. Because English is widely used as an international language, is it also important for those engaged in business internationally, as well as for those who need to read and write texts in English, attend meetings and conferences, or collaborate with groups who don't share their first language.

This course introduces ESP and concerns both theoretical issues and key elements of an ESP-based teaching approach. The first session considers controversial issues in ESP such as the issue of specificity itself, as well as a critical approach to teaching English by contrast with a pragmatic approach. The second, third and fourth sessions explore practical concerns for those designing and teaching ESP courses. Session two considers Needs Analysis: how the course designer investigates the needs of their students. Sessions three and four concern key analytical tools and teaching approaches in ESP: session three concerns genre analysis, while session four considers research in the area of analysis of language features and how this is employed by ESP teachers.

Required Textbook:

Dr. Shinichi Izumi (Sophia University, Japan)

Focus on Form and CLIL in English Education in Japan

This course introduces the notions of focus on form and Content and Language Integrated Learning and explores how these ideas can be applied in English language teaching in Japanese junior high schools, senior high schools, and beyond.

In the first session of the seminar, the lecturer discuss problems in grammar-based, teacher-centered, and context-poor instruction that are still prevalent in English education in Japan and show directions for change that can enable foreign language instructors to teach English in ways that provide greater language -learning benefits for students. This general introduction is followed by an exploration of practical applications of focus on form in English classes in Japan.

In the third session, participants turn their attention to Content and Language Integrated Learning. Participants first consider what CLIL is and what benefits can be obtained by adopting this approach to English teaching in Japan. To clarify how CLIL can be applied in English-language classrooms, the lecturer use a lesson taken from an English textbook and illustrate how to adapt the lesson so that it incorporates the idea of "soft CLIL", where the aim is not on specialized subject learning, but on language learning with a substantial focus on meaning and skill development.

The seminar will be highly interactive, as the lecturer will use a task-based approach. The seminar will also be highly practical, while relating the teaching approach to relevant SLA theories and research findings.