Abstracts

Abstracts are listed in order of the presentation schedule.

12:30 – 1:10

Teachers Observing Teachers: Peer Observation as a Tool for Professional Growth

Teaching is a dynamic profession, and teachers are constantly faced with new technical, intellectual, and social challenges. Without opportunities for collaboration and feedback, it can be difficult for teachers to find effective solutions to classroom challenges and develop as professionals. However, physical and social isolation within the teaching profession can limit opportunities for teachers to pool resources and share knowledge. This presentation explores peer observation as a professional development tool through which in-service teachers are able to learn about new teaching practices, reflect and receive feedback on their teaching, and collaboratively respond to classroom challenges. Adam Reid (HUM 113)

Any Questions? Observations of Post-oral Presentation Q&A sessions

What happens when a group of advanced EAP students in an oral skills class are instructed to ask unscripted questions of their fellow classmates following a prepared oral academic presentation? This exploratory study examines such question and answer sessions and how they reflect what students might understand about how to ask questions and answer them in an academic setting. The presenter will discuss the patterns that emerged in this context as students asked questions. Following this, the presentation will pose and explore questions that are raised by these results, and discuss suggestions for further study of Q&A sessions in EAP context. Amanda Simons (HUM 217)

At the Crossroads: Preparing Refugees with Learning Disabilities for the Citizenship Exam

Refugees who are receiving social security benefits because of documented disabilities have a time constraint under which they must pass the citizenship exam, prompting them to enroll in citizenship ESL classes.  However, some of these students face a dual challenge to learning a new language: they have physical or learning disabilities and they are also beginning to learn English at the pre-literacy level.  Pre-literacy is defined here as either coming from a language background with no written form or having never learned to read in any language.  The presenter will share techniques for addressing the needs of pre-literacy level students with learning disabilities through a content-based approach. Dion Zizak (HUM 386)

1:10 – 1:40

Task-based Language Teaching in a Chinese High School  

The English pedagogy reform in China has greatly advocated the use of Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT) to improve students’ communicative competence for decades. Originated in western contexts, TBLT is reported to meet some cultural resistance and exert challenges on actual teaching practice in traditional Chinese classroom. Many researchers suggest that some contextual-sensitive reconciling approaches should be employed when using TBLT to balance the need of developing communicative competence and achieving academic success. Through this case study, the presenter will illustrate how TBLT is perceived and implemented in a Chinese high school, and discuss some suggestions to achieve a better utilization of TBLT. Yi Xia (HUM 113)

“But there’s nothing to read!” Engaging Adolescent ELLs as Readers

The population of adolescent ELLs in the US is growing rapidly, yet their rates of English reading achievement show little improvement. Compounding the problem, there are few appropriate, engaging materials available with which to motivate ELLs to read. The presenter will discuss her long-term goal of writing a culturally relevant and entertaining novel for adolescent ELLs and the research she has done, both in terms of a literature review and needs assessment work through surveys and interviews, to provide a rationale to publishers for such a book. There will be time for discussion of personal experiences with reading in an L2 as well as with developing literacy materials. Tenley Harrison (HUM 217)

Skills for Successful Small Talk: A Pragmatics Unit for the ESL Classroom

There is an established need for explicit pragmatic instruction in the ESL classroom and considerable pedagogical research on teaching speech acts and socio-cultural elements of language. However, the lack of authentic materials that specifically address the pragmatics of real-world interactions poses a challenge for instructors.  Having designed and piloted lessons on some of the micro-interactional elements of small talk, the presenter will outline a proposal for a curricular unit aimed at improving the pragmatic awareness and conversational competence of ESL learners.  The presentation will highlight the teacher observations and student feedback that contributed to the development of the unit and include considerations for expansion. Hayley Sullivan (HUM 386)

 1:50 – 2:20

Hitting the Books: Integrating Literature in the Advanced ESL Classroom

After learning the four essential language skills, students should learn to understand idiomatic language and metaphor as an important means of expression in both spoken and written English. For my project, I proposed using literature to enhance my students’ English skills and prepare them for their future graduate studies. I have integrated both short stories and novellas into my ESL reading curriculum to help my students engage in literary context as they would in a college classroom. I have found that the curriculum helped develop and enhance their understanding and use of English metaphors and idiomatic expressions that is present in many genres of text. Noemí Pérez (HUM 113)

“Teacher, please respond ASAP”: Teaching the Pragmatics of University Communication

Even students with intermediate to high English proficiency often know little about the pragmatics of interactions with teachers such as in sending emails and one-on-one conferencing. This can be an issue when students are navigating current and future university study. Understanding the pragmatics of communication with teachers can help students feel more empowered and allow them more opportunities to meet their academic goals, but how can you fit pragmatics instruction into an already packed curriculum? This presentation will discuss one way to use mini lessons to help raise student awareness about the pragmatic norms of communicating with teachers and provide activities to help students create pragmatically effective emails as well as understand the structure and discourse of one-on-one meetings. Tristan Cameron (HUM 217)

Maximizing Multi-Cultural Experience in EFL Class to Increase Learners’ Motivation

With the rapid growth of globalization, greater emphasis has been placed on incorporating multi-cultural topics in English class to facilitate successful communication among English users in the world. Some researchers also argue that EFL learners can be highly motivated to learn English with great “international posture,” interest in foreign affairs and openness to other cultures. Unfortunately, however, there are few empirical studies exploring the efficacy of materials focusing on multiculturalism in EFL contexts. Having designed materials focusing on multi-cultural topics and having them piloted, the presenter will discuss how the materials motivated Japanese junior high school students’ English learning, and influenced a novice Japanese English teacher’s teaching. Shoko Kita (HUM 386)

 3:00 – 3:30

Using Effective Reading Strategies to Make Sense of What You Read

A student who can read will be more successful in education and in life. To comprehend what they read, proficient readers use different strategies to make meaning. Using the Reading Workshop approach the presenter has been teaching struggling readers make meaning and comprehend their texts. The approach suggests using strategies such as monitoring for sense, predicting, inferring and summarizing to consistently develop reading skills. Some of the successful strategies and teaching practices will be discussed and how they were used will be shared. Irma Peinado (HUM 113)

New Policy in Japanese English High Schools, New Challenges

In Japan, the Course of Study for English classes was recently revised and implemented in April 2013. The major concern of this new policy is that English should be taught in English in Japanese high schools. In the past few decades, the policy has been revised many times. With this history in mind, the presenter will discuss the motivations behind the new policy and the issues that the policy may have (e.g. low confidence of teachers and English proficiency of students). After analyzing the detail of each issue, the presenter will give some suggestions to Japanese English teachers to conduct their English classes successfully. Mayu Kondo (HUM 217)

Applying Communicative Language Teaching in China through Curricula Development

Although communicative language teaching (CLT) is a very popular and effective method in ESL contexts, it still remains underused in EFL contexts such as in China because of various challenges, such as classroom population, teacher training and exam focused education. In secondary schools, this last challenge means schools need to meet with the requirements of the high school entrance exam (HSEE) and there are many pressures to cover all the materials before the exam. Therefore, it is very difficult to introduce new communicative materials to the curriculum. In response to this challenge, this presentation will provide some insights to curriculum development, specifically looking at aspects of adapting the current materials and making them more communicative. Yutian Luo (HUM 386)

 3:40 – 4:10

Scaffolding the Use of Corpora in L2 Self-Editing

When self-editing compositions, L2 writers are often at a disadvantage compared to their native-speaking peers.  This study explores how corpora can help level the playing field.  Twenty-two multilingual composition students participated in a 1-hour session in which they were introduced to the corpus of Global Web-based English (GloWbE).  The session consisted of training followed by an assessment of how they were able to locate “GloWbE-correctable” errors and use the tool to address them.  The findings suggest that multilingual composition students are receptive to and may have the critical thinking skills to use GloWbE; however, proper scaffolding is essential.  This presentation aims to help instructors understand the practical implications of introducing corpus tools to L2 writers. Sonya Worthy (HUM 113)

Like! Facebook as a Tool for Project-Based Learning

Project-based instruction (PBI) has been widely accepted and incorporated into the SLA field and L2 pedagogy. While technology is used widely in PBI, new web 2.0 technologies like Facebook have not yet been fully incorporated into SLA research and pedagogy as an effective project-based teaching tool. The presenter will show the ways in which Facebook can serve as a supplemental tool for project-based learning by describing the approach, lesson plans, and initial results of this project in a non-academic private language school. The presentation will also discuss challenges that arose, successes and failures, and suggestions for further research. Owen Yonehara (HUM 217)

Exploring Student Reflection in Project Based Learning

Project-based learning is considered an essential ingredient in student-centered language instruction. But what happens when student experiences during project work do not align with the teacher’s goals? Challenges arise when students do not view project work as valuable toward language acquisition. This presentation describes how to remedy this misalignment by adding reflective components to a project-based curriculum. The presenter will describe the curricular approaches used in an academic oral skills class and will outline how a project framework and reflections can be adapted for a variety of teaching contexts where project-based approaches are appropriate. Stephanie Trujillo (HUM 386)

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