Past Seminars

Following are the lecturers and topics of past seminars of the Distinguished Lecturer Series.


Dr. Irina Elgort (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

L2 Vocabulary Acquisition, Learning and Processing: Adopting an Interdisciplinary Perspective

Lexical knowledge is foundational. In reading and listening, not knowing a word (or a phrase) is a bottleneck of comprehension. In communication, lexical errors are tolerated to a lesser degree than other types of errors by native and non-native speakers. But, as Virginia Woolf put it, “words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind”. So, how do we store and access L2 word knowledge in the mind?

In this seminar, we will take an interdisciplinary look at the question, “What does it mean to know a word?” (Nation, 2001), as it is posed by L2 acquisition researchers, psycholinguists and cognitive psychologists, applied linguists and language educators. (1) We will consider acquisition, learning and processing of orthographic, phonological, lexical and semantic knowledge components, with a view to optimize L2 vocabulary instruction and contextual acquisition from input. (2) We will reflect on interdisciplinary frameworks that have informed research into word learning and processing, and review studies that combine online and offline measures of knowledge. (3) We will examine instruments and measures used in evaluating lexical knowledge and discuss what may be gleaned from different types of vocabulary knowledge tests, response time tasks, as well as eye-movement and event-related brain potentials measures. By the end of this course, you will have an interdisciplinary appreciation of “what it means to know a word”.

Dr. Mark E. Davies (Brigham Young University, U.S.A.)

Using Large Online Corpora for Research, Teaching, and Learning

This series of seminars will examine the many ways in which corpora can be used to enhance research, teaching, and learning. The seminars will be based primarily on the corpora from, which are perhaps the most widely-used corpora currently available. In the seminars, we will consider the following topics (among others):

  • Basic corpus linguistics methodologies such as concordances (to examine the patterns in which words occur), collocates (to examine the meaning and usage of words and phrases), and n-grams (highly frequent strings of words). We will also focus on how this data can be used to improve teaching and learning.
  • Insights from corpora into word frequency (including variation by genre, dialect, and time period), and how this frequency data can be used in teaching and learning
  • Keywords and “virtual corpora”, to focus on the vocabulary of particular domains (e.g. engineering, economics, or sports)
  • Insights into English grammar (again, including variation by genre, dialect, and time period), similar to what Biber et al (1999) have done with the Longman Grammar of English.

Dr. Charles Browne (Meiji Gakuin University, Japan)

Developing Lexical Competence: From Theory to Classroom Practice to Online Application

This seminar will consider the development of Lexical Competence from several points of view. Through a review of some of the core research in second language vocabulary acquisition we will first try to dispel some of the “myths” about vocabulary learning that are still prevalent among classroom practitioners and researchers. Keith Folse’s excellent book, “Vocabulary Myths: Applying Second Language Research To Classroom Teaching”, one of the two required books for this course, covers eight such myths including the idea that (1) in learning another language, vocabulary is not as important as grammar or other areas, (2) using word lists to learn L2 vocabulary is unproductive and (3) presenting new vocabulary in semantic sets facilitates learning. After developing a basic understanding of how vocabulary should be tested, taught and learned, we will then move on to consider several corpus-derived word lists for second language learners that I have developed. We will then review a range of classroom vocabulary teaching and testing techniques based on current research. Finally, we will look at and get hands on practice in using a variety of online tools for testing, teaching and conducting research on second language vocabulary acquisition.

Dr. Mitsue Allen-Tamai (Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan)

Teaching English to Young Learners

In order to keep up with the pace of globalization, people in non-English-speaking countries are eager to acquire high levels of communicative English proficiency. In response to this current social demand, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) publicized its urgent English education reform from elementary to high school. The introduction of English education into elementary schools will officially start from April, this year after two years of transitional period. MEXT has specified the course’s aims and contents in the latest Course of Study issued in 2017, and MEXT-approved textbooks for upper elementary school children are now accessible.

This seminar will provide an introduction to the theory and practice of Teaching English to Young Learners (TEYL), from the ages of three to twelve, after viewing its implementation in public education in the world and Japan. The objectives of the course are to discuss the significance of TEYL and develop: (a) an understanding of the psychology of young learners and their language acquisition and (b) a working knowledge of methodologies, classroom practices, and assessment.

Dr. Nöel Houck (California State Polytechnic University, U.S.A.)

Teaching Spoken Interaction (Cancelled due to COVID-19 global impact)

Pragmatic and discourse competence in the target language are often elusive, especially when learners in an EFL situation do not have the opportunity to interact with L1 speakers of English. However, while most English teachers labor to build students’ grammatical competence, pragmatic and discourse competence tend to receive little attention. In this presentation, we will look at how L1 speakers perform spoken pragmatic and discourse actions in natural linguistic contexts. Since in real life, interaction involves initiating and responding actions, learners need to know how to negotiate their way through the sequences initiated by, for example, invitations or requests. A look at not only how sequences are initiated, but how they unfold in natural spoken interaction can provide considerable insight into what aspects of interaction teachers may need to teach and what they need to know in order to teach them. In this course, we will look at interaction in discourse contexts. We will then focus on implications for teaching how to perform ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable’ (or even ‘recognizable’) sequences.

Dr. Sara Cushing (Georgia State University, U. S. A.)

Assessment in the EFL Classroom (Cancelled due to COVID-19 global impact)

Assessment in the language classroom is a complex issue that many teachers find challenging. We can distinguish between assessment of learning, or summative assessment, and assessment for learning, or formative assessment. Both formative and summative assessment can support student learning and help teachers and students understand where students are in their language learning, where they need to be, and how best to reach their learning goals.

In this seminar, participants will learn to develop formative and summative assessments for language classrooms. The opening lecture will focus on important aspects of useful assessment, including reliability, validity, practicality, and washback, and how research on large-scale assessment can be translated into classroom practices. The remaining sessions will focus on hands-on activities designed to help participants select, adapt, and create classroom tests for summative assessment and activities for formative assessment, including peer and self-assessment, using rubrics to evaluate speech and writing, providing effective feedback to students, and using assessment results to improve instruction.

Required Textbook:
Cheng, L., & Fox, J. (2017). Assessment in the language classroom: Teachers supporting student learning. London, UK: Palgrave.

Dr. Eli Hinkel (Seattle Pacific University, U. S. A.)

Effective Techniques for Teaching and Learning L2 Writing

L2 writing instruction has the goal of developing learners’ skills directly relevant to producing written text. These skills necessarily include grammar and vocabulary. For learners, becoming fluent and proficient in using vocabulary and grammar takes a great deal of time and work simply because the English grammar system is complex, and the number of words to be learned, retained, and practiced is enormous. There are, however, effective strategies that learners and teachers can use to make the learning process more efficient.

Language analyses demonstrate unambiguously that recurrent multiword units and prefabricated expressions are extremely common in both speech and writing. Efficient learning strategies take advantage of this characteristic of English.

Teaching grammar for writing cannot take place in isolation from the lexical properties of text and recurrent multiword phrases (Hinkel, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020).

  • In language uses of any kind, many words are combined in various patterns to create new meanings that cannot be predicted from the meaning of their component parts.
  • Lexical phrases can be rigid and inflexible in their forms, or flexible with variable components.

Examples of recurrent phrases are myriad: a recent/new development, a wide/broad range, based on/on the basis of, give an example, give credit, give rise to, in general, in sum, make a decision, make a point, on the one hand, on the other hand, take into account.

This seminar offers highly practical suggestions for teaching vocabulary, grammar, and phrasal constructions that occur frequently in written texts. These suggestions target specific areas of L2 writing and maximize language gains by employing a few shortcuts. By focusing on teaching vocabulary and phrases, as well as adding to the students’ range of frequent grammar constructions, teachers can help students L2 writers develop their productive skills.

Dr. Scott Crossley (Georgia State University, U. S. A.)


Psycholinguistics is concerned with how language is acquired, used, stored, and processed cognitively. This course will offer an introduction to the field of psycholinguistics with a specific focus on language learner data. The opening lecture will provide an overview of psycholinguistics theory and methods. The remainder of the course will cover research areas including word recognition, the reading process, semantic networks, and word meaning. Major theories, research questions, and related empirical findings in each area will be discussed. Most importantly, students will become familiar with the tools and methods used in psycholinguist research through the participation in and replication of classic and modern psycholinguistic experiments including the analysis of psycholinguistic data.

By the end of the course, students are expected to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Understand the major theories/models of language processing, production, and acquisition.
  2. Have working knowledge of psycholinguistic experimental paradigms, related technology, and data analysis.
  3. Understand the relationships between applied linguistics, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics.
  4. Produce, develop, and disseminate psycholinguistic knowledge.

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge Needed for Seminar Participation
Having basic computer literacy will help in developing on-line experiments using experimental software. Basic knowledge of statistical terms, theories, and techniques will assist students in examining psycholinguistic data.

Computer Software Needed for Participation for the Entire Weekend
Attendees who attend the entire seminar are required to bring a personal computer that is running an updated version of Windows or Mac OS operating system. These attendees will need to have two applications already installed on their computers. Both of these applications are free to download and use. The first, OpenSesame, will be used to develop psycholinguistic experiments and collect data. The second, JASP, will be used for statistical analysis of the data. Students familiar with R are welcome to use it instead of JASP for statistical analyses.

Required Readings:
A collection of articles and book chapters will be provided as required readings.

Other requirement:
The laptop is required for those people staying after the public session. Please make sure to bring your own laptop to this seminar if you are staying for the entire weekend.

Dr. Anna Siyanova (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)

On the Role of Multi-Word Expressions in Language Learning and Use

The last decade has seen an unprecedented interest in the acquisition, processing and use of multi-word expressions (MWEs). The last few years, in particular, have been instrumental in our gaining better understanding of the role played by elements above word level in first (L1) and second language (L2) learning and use. MWEs are frequent and/or highly familiar phrases that exhibit a degree of fixedness and are recognized as conventional by mature language users. Examples of MWEs include, among others, collocations (strong tea), binomials (bride and groom), phrasal and prepositional verbs (tell off), idioms and proverbs (better late than never), grammatical constructions (this is X), and other phrasal configurations. MWEs constitute a large proportion of authentic spoken and written discourse, which renders them an essential component of proficient language use.

This series of seminars will follow a recently published volume on the various aspects of MWEs. In particular, we will focus on MWEs in the usage-based tradition, corpus linguistics and learner corpus research, L2 pedagogy and academic discourse, and language processing. We will look at some of the L1 and L2 differences, as well as a central place of phrase frequency effects in MWE enquiry. The pertinent evidence will be discussed and analyzed in view of methodological rigor and replicability. The interdisciplinary seminars will be of interest to research students working in the area of vocabulary and second language acquisition, corpus and cognitive linguistics, and psycholinguistics.

Required Textbook:

  • Siyanova-Chanturia, A., & Pellicer-Sánchez, A. (Eds.). (2019). Understanding formulaic language: A second language acquisition perspective. New York, NY: Routledge. (Buy on / Buy on

The book is required for doing the course assignments.

Dr. Mike Bostwick (Katoh Gakuen English Immersion, Japan)

Theory and Practice of Content & Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

The role of content – how much does it belong in the foreign language class and how it should be integrated with language learning outcomes to promote language learning has been a debate since the 1980’s (Pally, 1999). Since this time an extensive body of research has demonstrated that, “content-based instruction (CBI) is typically more effective than ‘text-based’ instruction across a wide range of L2 instructional contexts.” (Brinton, et al., 2006, p 2).

Like CBI, Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) is the integration of particular content with language teaching aims. It is an innovative, instructional approach in which an “additional language” is interwoven with content to promote second language acquisition. It is based on the principle that successful language learning occurs when students are presented with target language material in meaningful, contextualized forms with the primary focus on acquiring information and knowledge. Content is the organizing principle, and other aspects of language (linguistic structures, vocabulary, language functions) are presented as needed (Snow et al., 1989). The approach can be used with second language learners from elementary school through university.

CLIL is a multifaceted and complex approach to teaching foreign languages. The goal of the seminar is to clarify some of these complexities and identify key features of this approach. Participants in the seminar will not only explore the theoretical underpinnings of CLIL they will also learn 15 ‘high impact’ instructional strategies used in highly effective CBI/CLIL programs that can also be applied across a wide range of foreign language teaching contexts.

Dr. Carol Myford (The University of Illinois at Chicago, U.S.A.)

Analyzing Rating Data Using a Many-Facet Rasch Measurement Approach

In performance assessment settings, raters use measurement tools such as rating scales or scoring rubrics to evaluate students’ performances or products. Raters assign their ratings based upon information that they gather and synthesize as they examine each performance or product. However, by virtue of their being human, raters sometimes unavoidably introduce error (rater effects) into the assessment process.

Data analysts can employ a many-facet Rasch measurement (MFRM) approach for analyzing ratings to detect and measure the impact of rater effects such as leniency/severity, central tendency, and halo effect on the ratings. Using the output from these analyses, administrators in charge of monitoring quality control for assessment systems obtain detailed, practical information about how various “facets” (e.g., students, raters, rating criteria) of their assessment systems are performing. They can use that information to help them determine to what extent their systems are under statistical control and to initiate meaningful changes in an effort to improve their systems.

This seminar will introduce participants to the many-facet Rasch measurement approach for analyzing ratings. Topics we will cover include the following:

  • The role of raters and their influence in open-ended assessments
  • Rater effects that can influence ratings
  • Statistical approaches that researchers have used to analyze rating data and characterize rater performance
  • The conceptual and mathematical foundations of many-facet Rasch measurement
  • Group-level and individual-level questions that a MFRM analysis can answer
  • Creating a data file for a MFRM analysis
  • Preparing a specification file for a MFRM analysis
  • Running MFRM analyses and reformatting output
  • Creating judging plans
  • Making sense of output from MFRM analyses
  • MFRM anchoring procedures for equating
  • Strategies for resolving disconnected subsets issues
  • Conducting bias interaction analyses
  • Hybrid MFRM models and their uses

Prerequisite Skills and Knowledge Needed for Seminar Participation
The target seminar participants are researchers, statisticians, data analysts, and advanced graduate students who want to learn how to use many-facet Rasch measurement for analyzing rating data.
Having a basic understanding of the conceptual and mathematical foundations of Rasch measurement would be helpful but not required, as would prior experience using Rasch measurement analysis software (e.g., Winsteps).

Computer Software Needed for Participation in the Entire Weekend
Attendees who will attend the entire weekend for this seminar are required to bring a personal computer that is running the Windows 7, 8 or 10 operating system. The entire weekend attendees will be using Microsoft Word and Excel to create their data files. Therefore, the attendees will need to have these two applications previously installed on their computers. The entire weekend attendees will be running Minifac (Linacre, 2017), the demonstration version of the Facets for Windows computer program. The attendees can download Minifac free of charge from this website:

Dr. Atsushi Mizumoto (Kansai University, Japan)

Corpus Use in Education and Research

The development of corpus linguistics has had a tremendous influence on the field of applied linguistics. The aim of this seminar is to introduce the participants to a number of topics related to corpus use for educational and research purposes such as data-driven learning (DDL). As the seminar will cover corpus-based approaches from both theoretical and practical perspectives, the lecturer will talk about usage-based theory as an underlying principle and using a variety of tools and online resources such as AntConc, Just the Word, Hyper Collocation, WORD AND PHRASE, and AWSuM for teaching in the classroom and writing research papers for publication. In addition, the lecturer will discuss how to incorporate strategy instruction in second language (L2) writing courses because using those resources will be an important learning strategy for L2 writers. Participants who will stay after the opening session are expected to bring their own laptop computer for hands-on sessions.