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Thomas J. Garza, Director 201 W 21st St, B7800 • HRH 4.196 78712-1053 • 512-471-6574

Abstracts

 

Keynote Presentations:

Opening Up Foreign Language Education
Forging the Future of Language Education: Transforming the Teaching Self

Expert Panel:

Technologies that Support Learner Autonomy in Language Learning

Symposia:

Literature in the First-Year Intensive Language Class 
Teaching English to Low-Wage Construction Workers
Apology and Requestive Emails: Challenged and Possibilities for Successful Communication
Teaching Pronunciation: Lessions Learned from Tutoring ESL Learners

Paper Presentations: 

How International Language Policies Affect Our Teaching Methods: A Closer Look at Norwegian Language Education Policies 
Applying SimLETS: Examining Technology Effects on ELLs Access to High School English Science Discourse
Taking the FL Classroom Online with Web 2.0 Blogging
Investigating the Effects of Authentic Videos on Cross-Cultural Awareness of Portuguese Learners
Taiwan's Educational Act for Indigenous Peoples: Policy Analysis and its Effects on Multilingual Education
Explicit and Implicit Grammar Learning through Collaborative Online Discussion
How Early Bilingual Education Predict Mandarin-Chinese Speaking English Language Learner's L2 Oral Communicative Competence
ITAs' Perceptions of Pronunciation Strategy Training
A Social Justice Project in a Foreign Language Class
Public Online Resources for Foreign Language Education
A Math Teacher's Use of L1 to Teach L2
A Feasible Extensive Reading Model and its Effect on ESL Students' Linguistic Development
Factors Contributing to Efficacy in English Pronunciation Instruction
The Classroom of the Future Will Not Be Silent!
Written Error Feedback from Perception to Practice: A Feedback on Feedback
The Foreign Language Classroom and Target Language Communities: Symbolic Distance in a Globalized World
One Size Does Not Fit All
The Use of Reading and Writing Materials by English Language Learners in a Literacy-Enriched Block Center
A Present from the Past: Mendacious Discourse Structures in the Classroom
Tossed at Sea: A Study of Communication Breakdown
Using "Voice Thread" to Enhance First-Year Students' Oral Proficiency in a Russian Language Course
Technology and the Conversation Test
The Criteria of Culture: Evaluating Texts for Integrated L2-C2 Instruction
Cultures of Learning and Identity in Communicative Language Classrooms in China
She Was Born Speaking English and Spanish: Bilingual Status in a Kindergarten Two-Way Dual Language Classroom
What to Do When Zombies Attack?  Preparing Students for Life Abroad Using Online Materials
Examining English Learning Agency at a Four-Year University: Success at a Cost
Teaching English in China: A Cross-Cultural Relationship Between Tsinghua University Faculty Members, Tsinghua University Students, and English-Speaking Teachers
Classroom Technology: Attitudes and Actions-- 2001-2011
In Promoting More Successful Second Language Learning Experiences: Classroom-Based Projects
The Effect of Different Strategic Planing Foci on the Accuracy of the Writing Higher-Intermediate L2 Learners of English
Teaching Grammar as Skill Using Movies
Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning for Language Learning:  A Practical Guide for Language Teachers
Computational Linguistic Analysis of L2 Academic Discourse Patterson in Computer-Mediated Discussions through Systems Lens
The Future Starts from the Present:  The Design and Implementation of an Online Mandarin Chinese Course
Investigating Learning Anxiety and Self-Esteem in Second Language Learners
"Profile of a Language Learner:"  Foreign Language Learning and University Freshmen
Using Qualitative Methods to Investigate "Advanced:"  A study of Arabic Learners' Vocabulary Production in the Context of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview
Exploring Social Networking Language Websites:  Perspectives from Students, Teachers, and Researchers

Poster Presentations:

Challenges to Saudi Arabian and Chinese Students in ESL Composition Courses
Type and Frequency of Connectives Use in EFL Beginning Students' Writing
The Effectiveness of Still vs. Animated Cartoon Pictures on Learning Second Language Vocabulary 


 

 

Keynote

Featured Speaker: Dr. Carl Blyth - Opening Up Foreign Language Education

This presentation explores the potential impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) on language learning and teaching in the 21st century. OERs are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits sharing, accessing, repurposing and collaborating with others. Relatively new to many foreign language educators, OERs are gaining in scope and quality and are supported by an increasingly robust community that includes scholars, educators and learners from around the globe.   While most descriptions of OERs focus on the product—high quality digital materials that are free to use—this talk focuses on the impact of OERs on the process of language learning and teaching. 

The presentation begins by defining the terms “Open Education” and “Open Educational Resources”, as well as the more abstract term “openness” that is a central feature of recent ecological approaches to language learning.  Next, several exemplars of open foreign language resources are demonstrated (e.g., open courseware, open textbooks, open language tools).  The talk ends by sketching out how the use and development of OERs is changing fundamental practices of students, teachers and textbook authors. In other words, the very process of how OERs are created, adapted, and improved is “opening up” foreign language education in potentially transformative ways.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Balasubramanian Kumaravadivelu -Forging the Future of Language Education: Transforming the Teaching Self

It is my contention that (a) language teachers can use their developing knowledge systems effectively only if they recognize the teaching Self that they bring with them to the classroom, and that (b) they can make sense of their own teaching Self only if they continually interrogate, understand, and transform their own identities. What is, however, complicating the (re)construction of the teaching Self is the on-going process of cultural globalization that is effectively challenging the traditional notions of identity formation of an individual or of a nation.  
Taking these contentions as points of departure, I briefly outline in this talk two narratives of identity formation – modernism and postmodernism – and argue that a third – globalism – is fast emerging as a crucial factor in identity formation. I argue that the unfolding and the unfailing impact of globalilsm has a huge impact on the shaping of the teaching Self, and consequently, the practice of everyday teaching.  

Expert Panel

Technologies that Support Learner Autonomy in Language Learning

Second language researchers and teachers almost universally agree on the benefits of developing autonomy in language learning. SLA research on technology-enhanced language learning environments suggests that a wide range of technology tools can support learner autonomy development in a variety of ways. In this panel, scholars address key issues related to learner autonomy development in language learning, and reflect on the importance of structuring instruction so that learners experience learner autonomy in their way to becoming autonomous, life-long language learners. The panel also discusses the potential benefits, challenges, limitations, and promises of CALL environments for facilitating self-directed language learning out of class as well as collaborative autonomous language learning in student-centered classrooms.

Featured Panelists:

Dr. Carl Blyth, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Elaine Horwitz, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Veronica Sardegna, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Shannon Shauro, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Dr. Diana Pulido (moderator), The University of Texas at Austin

 

 

Symposiums

Symposium: Literature in the First-Year Intensive Language Class

Dr. Thomas J. Garza, Dr. Adi Raz, Hope Fitzgerald, The University of Texas at Austin

 

The intensive course model being implemented in many University of Texas language programs creates a new set of challenges and opportunities in the areas of materials selection, curriculum design, and classroom instruction. In this symposium, panelists will present their experiences using literature in intensive first year Russian, Hebrew and Arabic courses. Practical suggestions for the introduction of literature into lower-proficiency-level language courses will also be offered, to be followed by Q&A with attendees.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: While the study of literature in language learning has many proponents (Hall, 2005; Carter and Long, 1991; Parkinson and Reid Thomas, 2000), the use of literature at lower proficiency levels remains rare, and contested (Or, 1995; Akyel and Yalcin, 1990). In the Russian, Hebrew and Arabic programs at the University of Texas, instructors have begun incorporating literature in the first year intensive classroom, with the goals of intensifying language proficiency gains and utilizing a source of culturally-authentic content for learners.  Encouraging results from these experiences indicate that literature can be an effective tool for proficiency development at the lower proficiency levels.

 

Purpose: This symposium examines the opportunities and challenges associated with using literature in intensive, lower-proficiency-level language courses. The intensive course model recently implemented in many University of Texas language programs necessitates a redesign of classroom instruction, and creates opportunities for introducing literature as an aid to language and culture proficiency development. Instructors in both intensive- and standard foreign language programs will benefit from this examination of literature's potential to engage lower-level students in language learning.

 

Presentation: This 60-minute symposium will begin with a review of relevant research on the use of literature in the language classroom, and will continue with papers in the areas of:

  • text selection, availability, and authenticity,
  • incorporating literature into the curriculum and into daily class activities
  • preliminary outcomes of the use of literature in language and cultural proficiency

 

Practical suggestions for the introduction of literature into lower-proficiency-level language courses will also be offered, to be followed by Q&A with attendees.

 

Symposium: Teaching English to Low-Wage Construction Workers

Dr. Alma S. Perez, Carlos Gonzalez, Guadalupe A. Garza, Learning Time Institute

 

The project was designed to teach English to low-wage construction workers because too many accidents occur due to a language barrier. The presentation will demonstrate the process for students to gain social capital, increase their civic capacity, and eliminate illiteracy. They are at a severe disadvantage in keeping up with the latest information on safety standards and potential hazards. Many times they are victims of exploitation, especially those who are undocumented.  Giving these workers access to the American Dream by improving their language skills and strengthening their self-esteem are vital goals of this project.

 

Full Abstract:

This project and curriculum were designed to teach English to low-wage construction workers. The number of Latino workers employed in the construction industry is over 2.7 million. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) statistics claim that 25 % of construction site accidents occur because of a language barrier. However, although there are construction standards that require training and instructions, there are no OSHA construction standards that specifically require that such information be conveyed and understood in English (29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2). The employer's duty under the construction standards to train and instruct employees in how to comply with OSHA standards and to avoid hazards in the work environment necessarily means that employers must present information in a manner that employees are able to understand. However, an OSHA obligation in that regard would be met by any system in which that communication could reliably occur.

 

In the absence of any established system, this project reinforces the language communication and work to eliminate the language barrier. This presentation will demonstrate the process for students to gain social capital and be able to increase their civic capacity and eliminate the illiteracy problem that plagues our underserved communities. Workers in the construction industry who have limited English language ability are at a severe disadvantage in keeping up with the latest information on safety standards and of potential hazards that may be temporarily or permanently present at their worksite. Construction workers who are English language limited are many times victims of exploitation, especially those who are not legal permanent residents.   Giving these workers access to the American Dream by improving their language skills and strengthening their self-esteem are vital goals of this project. The six components of the curriculum will be explained by a three member panel.

 

Symposium: Apology and Requestive Emails: Challenges and Possibilities for Successful Communication

Dr. Zohreh Eslami, Sunni Sonneberg, Si-Chun Song, Wei-Hong Ko, Young Choi, Anna Wharton, Texas A&M University

 

Email communication has taken a prominent role in institutional communication. As a medium of communication, emails can be used to make a request, to apologize for an infringement, or to invite. In this symposium, requestive and apology emails will be presented by a group of native & nonnative English speaking graduate students and problematic emails are used to illustrate reasons for pragmatic failure. The presenters discuss how new modes of communication present opportunities and challenges for language education and for communication. Some pedagogical ideas will be presented at the end.

 

Full Abstract:

With advances in technology, email communication has taken a prominent role in student to faculty communication, replacing face to face communication in academic settings. Email communication breaks down the barriers of distance and time, and it is convenient and instantaneous. It can be used to make a request, to apologize for an infringement, or to invite. However, email also has disadvantages. It can be easily forwarded, attached to other messages, and it is out of control once it is sent to recipients (Lightfoot, 2006).  Because of their rapid and compact nature, emails are written quickly, causally and in some cases carelessly.  Additionally, as a medium which lacks linguistic cues, it is subject to the recipient's interpretation and can possibly lead to miscommunication (Biesenback-Lucas, 2007). Emails can be used to make a request, to apologize for an infringement or to invite.  Furthermore, students are expected to write status-congruent emails that reflect their lower institutional status. Studies have shown, however, that sometimes students write emails to faculty members that violate the norms of appropriateness (Hendriks, 2010, Economidou-Kogesidis, 2011). Therefore it is of utmost importance for researchers to examine reasons for pragmatic failures, especially in email communication between students and professors. In this symposium, requestive and apology emails will be presented by a group of graduate native English speaking and nonnative English speaking students and possible reasons for pragmatic failure will be shared by using problematic emails. The presenters discuss how new modes of communication present opportunities and challenges for language education and for communication. Some pedagogical ideas will be presented at the end.

 

Symposium: Teaching Pronunciation: Lessons Learned from Tutoring ESL Learners

Yooyoung Ahn, Jacob Childs, Katie Dunlap, Paul Leeman, and Hillal Peker, Kathleen Smith (moderator), The University of Texas at Austin

 

Students from an MA course on Pronunciation Teaching share their experiences teaching English pronunciation to two adult ESL learners. After identifying the theoretical framework that guided all their decisions -The Covert Rehearsal Model-, they discuss what pronunciation strategies they taught, how they taught them, and how effective they were for improving their tutee's English sounds and overall rhythm. They also identify some online resources they used for practice in private. The discussion ends with a reflection on the role of the teacher with a focus on non-native teacher as a valid facilitator of pronunciation improvement.

 

Full Abstract:

Recent research in the area of language learning strategies has focused on raising students' awareness as to how, when, and why strategies can be used to facilitate their efforts at learning and using a second/foreign language (Cohen & Macaro, 2007). Current approaches to teaching EFL/ESL pronunciation also emphasize the importance of empowering students with pronunciation learning strategies that they can use in private to correct their own mistakes (Dickerson, 1989, 1994, 2000; Hahn & Dickerson, 1999; Morley, 1994; Sardegna, 2009, 2010, 2011). Yet, teachers are still uncertain of what strategies to teach, and how. While taking a graduate course on English pronunciation instruction, a group of MA students were required to each tutor two ESL students on pronunciation improvement. In this symposium, five students from this group will reflect on their tutoring experiences, and share some resources and activities they developed for their lessons. They will start by briefly identifying the theoretical framework that guided all their decisions: The Covert Rehearsal Model. Then they will discuss what pronunciation strategies they taught, how they taught them, and how effective they were for improving their tutees' English sounds and overall rhythm. Teaching effectiveness was measured on the basis of of the tutees' actual improvement as indicated in the end-of-tutoring accuracy scores, as well as on the tutees' opinions of the tutoring lessons as indicated by their responses to questionnaires. The student teachers will also argue for using online and other technology resources in the pronunciation class, and share some of these resources with the audience. Finally, the role of the teacher in pronunciation teaching will be discussed with a focus on the non-native teacher as a valid facilitator of pronunciation improvement. It is hypothesized that teachers of languages other than English will also find the student teachers' reecommendations useful for their teaching contexts.

 

Paper Presentations

How International Language Policies Affect Our Teaching Methods: A Closer Look at Norwegian Language Education Policies

JoyLynn Nesbitt, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

International language policies should affect our teaching methods. This presentation will take a closer look at Norwegian Language Education policies to help teachers understand how to use international language policies to their advantage and understand their students better. We will be taking a look at corpus planning, status planning, and language acquisition planning. By understanding these different aspects of policy, teachers can better understand and design lesson plans specifically for their ELL students because the teacher will know what type of education the ELL came from.

Full Abstract:

Policy is not a particularly popular subject to study. However, I have found that looking at international language policies can affect one's teaching methods. In this policy analysis, I drew upon different authors such as Wiley (1996), Kachru and Nelson (1996), McGroaty (1996), and other authors to analyze and use international policy to my advantage when writing lesson plans and thinking about how to conduct a classroom. Government policies, both national and international, have an affect on classrooms. These authors help explain how you can use these policies to your advantage.

 

My objective was to study the corpus planning, status planning, and language acquisition planning of a language policy as Wiley (1996) has described it. More specifically, I looked at these three aspects of language planning in the Norwegian Language Education Policy (2004). By studying the different types of planning, I was able to understand the Norwegian language policy and education better. In turn, when Norwegian students come into my classroom, I will know what kind of education background they came from. I will also know why they are acting or reacting in certain ways in my classroom. This will help me tailor lesson plans in a certain way in order to help the international students.

 

The result of this study and analysis brought out many practical points that teachers can use in the classroom including using multilingualism, code-switching, and attitudes towards English to their advantage. This presentation will present how you can look at national and international policies, more specifically, the language planning aspect of the policy (corpus, status, and language acquisition planning) and use this knowledge to help international students in your classroom. This presentation will also give you a better understanding of what educational background students come from and the attitudes we as teachers should have toward these students. Because these students are coming from a different culture, they have a different way of learning and attitudes that are shaped by their learning context. Teachers must learn to adapt to these attitudes and teach accordingly. This policy analysis presentation will help guide teacher to do just that.

 

 

Applying SimLETS: Examining Technology Effects on ELLs Access to High School English Science Discourse

Lauren Romero, Dr. Juliet Langman, Dr. Carmen Fies, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

The study addresses the growing need for research on helping English language learners achieve academic success. The context for this study is SimLETS, a technology-infused curricular unit that allows students to interact with avatars in a shared space to explore disease transmission (Fies & Langman, 2011). Taking a discourse analytic approach (Gee, 2011), this study examines to what extent the SimLETS curriculum affects ELLs' access to and participation in English science discourse in both a Sheltered English Class and a Biology I class. Findings suggest that participatory technologies can support ELLs' access and participation due to its contextually rich and realistic environment.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: With the increase of English language learners in secondary education, new methods for supporting academic

success are essential. The classroom of tomorrow will likely harness the power of technology to support learning in socioculturally appropriate ways (Gee, 2007). Participatory-simulation technology, which creates a shared discursive and conceptual space, can provide a common platform for students to build science discourse and knowledge (The New Media Consortium & EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, 2008). The success of such technology to support ELLs' engagement in classroom discourse is understudied.

 

Purpose: The context for this study is SimLETS, a researcher-designed technology-infused curricular unit that allows students to interact with avatars in a shared space to explore disease transmission (Fies & Langman, 2011). Taking a discourse analytic approach (Gee, 2011), this study reports on the extent to which participatory-simulation technology influences students' understanding of disease transmission, by addressing the question: To what extent does the SimLETS curriculum affect ELLs' access to and participation in science discourse in English in two settings, the Sheltered English Class and the Biology I class? Data are drawn from transcripts of video and audio recordings of two complete units in May and July 2011 with two teachers and 20 students. Data analysis employs Gee's concepts of identities and connections to examine how students' identities in the shared participatory space support students' connections to science content-measured by the productive use of vocabulary and the nature of scientific explanations (Gee, 2011). 

 

Conclusion: The data show that ELLs-often silenced in content classrooms -incorporate the identity of the avatar in the participatory-simulation space into their discourse as a way of connecting to the topic of infectious diseases and vaccinations. Moreover, their discourse reflects use of both everyday and scientific vocabulary. This study suggests that participatory technologies can support ELLs' access to English because of its contextually rich and realistic environment.

 

Taking the FL Classroom Online with Web 2.0 Blogging

Nancy Meredith, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

The presenter will demonstrate what Campbell (2003) refers to as tutor blogs. Such blogs take advantage of the dynamic nature of blogging to celebrate student accomplishments and identities with posts of their performances and writing to be shared with friends and family. In addition, the blogs frequently feature static elements for reference and instruction, including recommended web links, class syllabus, and assignments. When resources are readily accessible in one place, students are more likely to take advantage of them for home study (Soares, 2008). Handouts include examples and guidelines for creating and maintaining a blog for the foreign language classroom.

 

Full Abstract:

The interactive nature of Web 2.0 tools has opened a wealth of potential for expanding the walls of the foreign language (FL) classroom. An FL class blog can be a source of input, interaction, and output for learners of a foreign language (Osborne, 2010). Blogs promote student autonomy, provide models for other teachers, and celebrate student work and identity. In addition, research has shown that a class blog can be used to improve reading and writing skills (Miceli, Murray, & Kennedy, 2010), help students develop a sense of community (Rovai, 2001), and in the process develop a sense of the pragmatics of Internet discourse.

 

The primary focus of this presentation will be demonstrations of what Campbell (2003) refers to as tutor blogs. Such blogs take advantage of the dynamic nature of blogging to celebrate student accomplishments and identities with posts of their performances and writing to be shared with friends and family. In addition, the blog frequently features static elements for reference and instruction, including recommended web links, class syllabus, and assignments. When resources are readily accessible in one place, students are more likely to take advantage of them for home study (Soares, 2008). The presenter will also demonstrate and discuss the benefits and challenges of interactive class blogs designed to promote learner interaction and communication in the target language.

 

There are advantages and challenges inherent in all three types of blog described by Campbell (2003): tutor, learner, and class. This presentation will show how to plan, create, and enhance a blog with pages, gadgets, video, and slideshows. Handouts include examples and guidelines for creating and maintaining a blog for the FL classroom.

 

Investigating the Effects of Authentic Videos on Cross-Cultural Awareness of Portuguese Learners

Vivian Flanzer, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study investigates learners' perceptions of the cross-cultural awareness they obtained from a Portuguese course. This course used a website that contains lessons based on non-scripted videos of Brazilians from different parts of the country and with varied socioeconomic backgrounds speaking about their lives and Brazil. Twenty-nine students from three sections of Intermediate Portuguese at an American university used the website as the main instructional resource. Student's perceptions of the efficacy of the website for developing cultural awareness were gathered through an anonymous questionnaire. The quantitative information is triangulated with the most common cross-cultural themes developed in the open-ended questions.

 

Full Abstract:

Foreign language educators agree on the importance of developing intercultural competence in the target language (Schulz, 2007). Recent research indicates that film/video is a good vein to teach the target culture in the classroom, either through commercials (Martinez-Gibson, 2008), feature films (Bueno, 2009) or scripted videos produced for multimedia courses (Herron, 1999). This study investigates learners' perceptions of the cross-cultural awareness (cultural traits; oral vs. written aspects of the language) they obtained from a Portuguese course. This course used a website that contains lessons based on videos of Brazilians from different parts of the country and with varied socioeconomic backgrounds speaking naturally about their lives and Brazil. These Brazilians provide authentic input as the videos show natural, non-scripted speech with normal pauses, hesitations and interruptions that occur in common speech. Twenty-nine students from three sections of Intermediate Portuguese at an American university used the website as the main instructional resource for the course. Student's perceptions of the efficacy of the website for developing cultural awareness were gathered through an anonymous questionnaire conducted at the end of the semester. The quantitative information obtained from the questionnaire is triangulated with the most common cross-cultural themes developed by the students in the open-ended questions.

 

Taiwan's Educational Act for Indigenous Peoples: Policy Analysis and its Effects on Multilingual Education

Elizabeth A. Hubbs, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

In the twentieth century, Taiwan education policy concentrated on Mandarin Chinese as the only language of instruction for public schools. After reforms in the late 1990's, policy began to protect the educational rights of the various indigenous populations in the country. The new policy demonstrates that language and culture are human rights. This presentation provides a brief summary of the educational act for the indigenous peoples, as well as the benefits of considering policy in a language classroom. The presentation also reveals how education and the surrounding community can work together to promote diversity and build upon each other's funds of knowledge.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: For almost forty years, the Republic of China, or Taiwan, followed a strict educational system under the Propagation of Mandarin. Under this law, the Ministry of Education (MOE) required the language of instruction in public schools to be Mandarin Chinese. The policy provided a pathway for the MOE to "unify" the country through language and education. In the early 1990's, the Council for Indigenous Peoples, along with an increased awareness of diversity, called for the Propagation of Mandarin to be altered. This ultimately created the Education Act for Indigenous Peoples (EAIP) in 1998. With the new act, provisions were given to promote cultural and linguistic diversity. How exactly is this allowed for in the policy? How can an increased understanding of educational policy assist language teachers in the classroom?

 

Purpose: The following paper analyzes three components of the Taiwan EAIP in relation to how the policy promotes multilingualism and multiculturalism. By breaking apart specific components of the policy, we can understand how it allows for flexibility for the teacher. The prime purpose of the paper is to explore how this particular policy promotes language as a right and resource in the classroom and the social community. A sociolinguistic and sociocultural stance is taken to reveal the connections between governmental policies, communities, culture, and language. The three components analyzed include: language preservation (language as a right), societal and classroom multilingualism (language as a right and resource), and language as a bridge between school and home life.

 

Conclusions: After a brief analysis, the EAIP demonstrates how to foster attitudes of multilingualism and multiculturalism in the classroom. Teachers and researchers can take the example and understand how policy plays a key role in the classroom. They also learn how they can analyze policy in their own situations. The analysis in general reveals the ideals of UNESCO's education recommendations by promoting mother tongue education, multilingual appreciation, multicultural appreciation, and community involvement. The policy positively promotes language as a resource for students, demonstrating how teaching in more than one language can benefit students and communities.

 

Explicit and Implicit Grammar Learning through Collaborative Online Discussion

Jeong-bin Hannah Park, Anke Z Sanders, Dr. Diane Schallert, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study explored the process of explicit and implicit grammar learning of students taking a German class who participated in asynchronous computer-mediated discussions. Unlike previous research in which the focus has been on whether explicit or implicit learning is more influential in learning a target language, this study focused on how best to implement explicit and implicit aspects of language instruction in light of learners' cognitive engagement and development. Twenty students in an intermediate German course participated in the study. For all CMD sessions, one group met online, while the other group met in class with the instructor. The resulting German conversation was analyzed for the frequency and accuracy of two target grammar items and operationalized as explicit or implicit based on the instruction the students had received. Results indicated that students' use of both explicitly and implicitly taught grammar points improved in their CMD. This study provides a venue for examining innovative ways of introducing grammar both explicitly and implicitly and of assessing students' use of the grammar in a socially shared online learning environment.

 

Full Abstract:

Background:

Given the discipline's long-standing interest in whether language needs to be taught with implicit instruction with inductive reasoning or explicitly by using more deductive reasoning, this study attempts to expound the effectiveness of explicit and implicit learning with form-focused instruction (FFI) (Ellis, 2011; Long, 1988, 1991). Our study's unique contribution is that it juxtaposed these two modes of language learning with the productive use of learners' target language items in written discourse in the computer-mediated discussion (CMD) environment, which surely deserves a solid standing as a learning tool in second and foreign language teaching and learning. This further explicates how the online environment affords a place for knowledge co-construction, in which learners contribute their insights to a cognitively shared knowledge building process by posting messages (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000; Meyer, 2004).

 

Purpose:

This study explored the process of explicit and implicit grammar learning of students taking a German class who participated in asynchronous computer-mediated discussions. Unlike previous research in which the focus has been on whether explicit or implicit learning is more influential in learning a target language (Ellis, 2011; Andrews, 2007; Laufer, 2006; Long, 1988, 1991), this study focused on how best to implement explicit and implicit aspects of language instruction in light of language learners' cognitive engagement and development (Perkins, 2008; Langer, 2007).

 Twenty students (10 women; 10 men) in an intermediate German course participated. All were native speakers of English and had either completed the first two semesters of beginning German or passed a placement test. For all CMD sessions, one group met online, while the other group met in class with the instructor. In the online discussions, students were required to post at least four times. Data sources included six transcripts of two types of online conversation, one in English and one in German. The conversation in German was analyzed for the frequency and accuracy of two target grammar items and operationalized as explicit or implicit based on the instruction the students had received. Other data sources included pre- and posttest measures used to evaluate students' progress in appropriate use of these grammar items.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Conclusions:

Pre-assessment results showed a substantial lack in participants' knowledge of adjective endings as well as prepositions. Adjective endings were implicitly addressed by simply correcting their errors in writing, without providing any explicit explanation. Prepositions were the focus of explicit grammar instruction during the second week of the course. Prior to explicit and implicit grammar instructions, postings written in German were aligned with the results of the pre-assessment, which demonstrated the inaccurate use of both grammar items. At the end of the semester, participants' postings showed improvement in both adjective endings and prepositions, which implies no difference between the two teaching methods. This also indicates that participants' correct production of these grammar items was directly in proportion to the accumulation of grammar instruction and feedback given through out the semester.

 

In the online discussions on grammar, both groups independently showed the need to discuss the use of prepositions, and collaborated to find effective explanations on how to apply the rules in their written production, in addition to what they had learned in class. On the other hand, no participant inquired about how to use adjective endings. This supports that explicit grammar instruction increases a learner's attention on and engagement in the particular grammar items. The explicit instruction and  intentional subsequent inquiry were facilitated in a socially constructed computer-mediated learning environment, which optimized the learners' zone of proximal development.  

 

 In summary, results indicated that students' use of both explicitly and implicitly taught grammar points improved in their CMD. Also, students improved on the posttest measures of these points relative to the pretest. This study provides a venue for examining innovative ways of introducing grammar both explicitly and implicitly and of assessing students' use of the grammar in a socially shared online learning environment.

 

How Early Bilingual Education Predicts Mandarin-Chinese Speaking English Language Learner's L2 Oral Communicative Competence

Hsiao-ping Wu, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study examined whether early English learning predicted EFL students' future English oral proficiency. The data was collected from eight international students in an English for International program (EIS), and consisted of classroom observations, interviews, and open-ended surveys. Findings showed that early bilingual education in English does not have significant influence on participants' oral proficiency. Reasons for this could include the lack of support in English in the home and the drill-based format (instead of a more communicative method) used to teach the students.

 

Full Abstract:

Pluralism and bilingualism have been seriously considered in Taiwan because of internationalization and globalization. Being able to speak English is an indicator of becoming more competitive. In Taiwan, English is a compulsory subject starting from junior high school (7th-9th grade), but the Taiwanese government has encouraged English classes for elementary school students (1st to 6th grade). Because the new English policy has been implemented with an insufficient number of teachers and unequal distribution of financial support, English education is delivered unevenly. Thus many parents, knowing the importance of English, send their children to private language institutes or hire personal English tutors before the children begin compulsory English education in junior high school. Because of the influence of the critical period hypothesis (CPH), teaching students English from a very early age is very popular in Asia. Thus, the study examines whether the pre-junior high school English experience predicts students' future English oral proficiency. This data was collected from eight international students in an English for International program (EIS) in Texas and consisted of classroom observations, classroom field-notes, interviews, and open-ended surveys. Participants shared their previous English learning experience and were observed and interviewed about their current English use and proficiency. Findings showed that early bilingual education in English did not significantly influence participants' oral proficiency because of three factors: the lack of support in English in the home environment, the drill-based format (instead of a more communicative method) used to teach the students , and the English teacher qualifications. The study aims to provide insight to educators, parents, and policy makers on how to increase parental support, teacher preparation, and appropriate instructional strategies for early bilingual learners.

 

 

ITAs' Perceptions of Pronunciation Strategy Training

Dr. Veronica G. Sardegna, Dr. Alison McGregor, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

After attending a 15-week ITA course that empowered students with strategies to improve their English intonation on the basis of their specific needs, 15 ESL students self-assessed their work and reflected on their pronunciation progress. To evaluate the effectiveness of instruction as well as whether students' perceptions of their progress matched their actual progress, students' scores in pre-and post-tests were compared to their reported perceptions. The results provide evidence for curriculum design integration of self-assessment and autonomous learning techniques, strategy instruction, and technology use in the pronunciation class. The strategies and resources used for integrating these key components are shared.

 

Full Abstract:

In an autonomy-supportive environment that encourages reflection and self-assessment, students are less likely to feel anxious about the learning process, increase their awareness of language deficiencies and needs, and become more motivated to work on those needs (Noels, Pelletier, & Clément, 2000; Tremblay & Gardner, 1995). Yet, it has been found that increased awareness of pronunciation problems and motivation to improve those problems does not necessarily lead to increased pronunciation accuracy (de Saint Léger, 2009). Often, learners display little awareness of effective pronunciation strategies and resources to enhance their autonomous learning. More empirical research is needed on ways to effectively facilitate students' self-regulated efforts for pronunciation improvement. Similarly, little is known about students' perceptions regarding the efficacy of pronunciation strategy instruction.                                                   

After attending a 15-week ITA course that empowered students with strategies to improve their English intonation on the basis of their specific needs, 15 ESL students self-assessed their work through questionnaires and reflected on their pronunciation progress at three times during the semester. To evaluate the effectiveness of instruction as well as whether students' perceptions of their progress matched their actual progress, students' scores in pre-and post-read-aloud tests were compared to their reported perceptions in responses to questionnaires and in reflection pieces. Findings indicate that on-going pedagogical guidance ensures that students' self-regulated efforts are linked to appropriate strategies and learning outcomes. When this link is intentionally incorporated into the course curriculum, students become aware of and motivated to work on their pronunciation challenges; adopt appropriate goals and strategies; and increase their sense of self-efficacy and, ultimately, their pronunciation accuracy. The results provide evidence for curriculum design integration of self-assessment and autonomous learning techniques, strategy instruction, and technology use in the pronunciation class. The strategies and resources used for integrating these key components are shared.

 

A Social Justice Project in a Foreign Language Class

Dr. Michael Tallon, The University of the Incarnate Word

Practice-oriented Presentation

With increased globalization, it is important that we understand peoples of different cultures and issues they are experiencing.  Social justice refers to the idea of creating a just society and recognizing the dignity of every person.  The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate a social justice project in a first-year Spanish class in which students worked in small groups to examine a social justice issue in a Spanish-speaking country.

 

Full Abstract:

In 1996, the foreign language teaching profession in the United States published a set of standards for foreign language education.  The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate an actual project that was used to teach culture based on these standards.  With increased globalization, it is important that we understand peoples of different cultures and issues they are experiencing.  Social justice refers to the idea of creating a just society and recognizing the dignity of every person.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated in 2010:  "As we face the consequences of the global financial and economic crisis, which has led to significant increases in unemployment and poverty and is straining social integration, these principles [of social justice] are more important than ever."

 

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate a social justice project in a first-year Spanish class in which students worked in small groups to examine a social justice issue in a Spanish-speaking country.  At the end of the project, students were able to identify several social justice issues in the Spanish-speaking world; communicate with agencies that represent the populations; identify and evaluate the past and current situations of the populations; recommend changes to respond to the issues; write a 4-5 page paper about the topic; and create a PowerPoint for an oral presentation.

 

Conclusion/Presentation: With the aid of PowerPoint, this presentation will include a sample lesson plan used in class, the 12-week semester plan, the assessment rubrics used by the teacher and students, student stories, and sample final projects.  The presentation will end with lessons learned as well as implications for teaching.  Participants will learn about a class project that involves collaborative learning and that allows the students to move from simple knowledge to the more advanced skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  This innovative approach, which follows the ACTFL Standards for foreign language education, allows students to develop their own perspectives of the new culture, rather than just be lectured about the culture.

 

 

 

Public Online Resources for Foreign Language Education

Dr. Heeyoung Lyu, Defense Language Institute

Practice-oriented Presentation

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) is a multi-service school for military students and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. The Language Science and Technology Directorate of DLIFLC produces language materials for DLIFLC military courses, pre-deployment training, deployment use, and refresher studies. The majority of DLIFLC products are publicly available through www.dliflc.edu, intended for foreign language learners and instructors to provide them with the learning/teaching tools for improving foreign language skills. Many of the resources are itemized, and instructors/learners can customize their lessons with items from different resources.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) is a multi-service school for military students and civilian personnel working in the federal government and various law enforcement agencies. Technology Integration and Curriculum Development, the Language Science and Technology Directorate of DLIFLC, produces most of the language materials used for DLIFLC military courses and many other language materials for pre-deployment training, deployment use and refresher studies. The majority of DLIFLC products are publicly available through www.dliflc.edu. The online resources for foreign language education are intended for foreign language learners and instructors to provide them with the learning/teaching tools for improving foreign language skills.

 

Purpose: The objective of this session is to introduce the public online resources provided by DLIFLC. Among DLIFLC resources, 14 foreign language education resources are now publicly available, and each resource includes several different language courses. Each resource is targeted to a different language fluency level, following the Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) scale.

 

Conclusion: These resources include various audio-visual materials such as Flash videos, sound files, and images, and many of them are downloadable. Many of the resources are itemized, and instructors/learners can customize their lessons with items from different resources. The search engine of ‘Field Support Modules' helps instructors/learners to access familiarization modules including language courses for specific target languages.

 

 

A Math Teacher's Use of L1 to Teach L2

Fatma Hasan, Dr. Zohreh R. Eslami, Texas A&M University

Research-based Paper Presentation

Current literature in ESL/EFL deals with various aspects of L1 use. This presentation demonstrates the role of L1 in L2 learning and challenges anti-L1 attitudes. A math lesson taught in English to Qatari students is used to show when the use of L1 to teach L2 concepts can be considered facilitative.  The NNES teacher is observed on how effectively she strategies the use of L1 for teaching L2 teaching. Effective use of L1 for teaching content areas in L2 by a competent Qatari Nonnative English speaking teacher is presented to show the facilitative effects of using L1 for teaching L2.

 

Full Abstract:

In teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL), teachers often struggle with the issue of first language (L1) usage or code-switching. Current literature in ESL/EFL deals with various aspects of L1 use discussing pros and cons of using L1. This paper presents distinguishing features of learning EFL compared to ESL and notes the recent attention to the role of first language (L1) in second language (L2) learning which has challenged long-held anti-L1 attitudes that have dominated foreign language (FL) pedagogy for several decades.

 

Following Cook (1999, 2001), the main idea of this study is based on the premise that the L1 and the L2 coexist collaboratively in the learner and that L2 learners should be viewed as multi-competent language users rather than as deficient L2 users when compared to native speakers. Although this notion (use of L1 for teaching L2) goes against communicative language teaching approaches that focus on the primary importance of L2 input and L2 interaction in L2 learning, it offers FL teachers the opportunity to grapple with the "problem" of the L1. 

 

Research findings are used to answer questions such as:  When should the L1 be used? What is productive use of the L1, and what is too much? Is the use of the L1 a hindrance or a help in L2 acquisition? A math lesson taught in English to Qatari primary school children is used and analyzed to show when the use of L1 to teach L2 concepts can be considered facilitative.  Effective use of L1 for teaching content areas in L2 by a highly competent Nonnative English speaking teacher is presented to show the facilitative effects of using L1 for teaching L2. This article will present a case study which will examine how L1 is used in a L2 classroom.

 

 

 A Feasible Extensive Reading Model and its Effect on ESL Students' Linguistic Development

Jayoung Song, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study examined the effects of extensive reading on ESL students' linguistic development. The results showed that substantial learning of the preposition occurred during the extensive reading treatment for participants. The results indicated that participants have gained linguistic benefits in increasing the chance of noticing incorrect preposition and knowing what to fix. The practical format of the after-school extensive reading program and activities used in the study will also be discussed.

 

Full Abstract:

A number of studies have suggested that extensive reading can benefit L2 learners in various ways especially in increasing motivation toward English reading and building reading fluency. In the overflow of extensive reading studies, however, very few researches directed their attention to the benefits of extensive reading in building grammatical knowledge. Given that extensive reading can benefit overall development of the target language, it is plausible that the effects of extensive reading can contribute to the improvement in linguistic features. Inspired by the issues that Korean students face the most difficulty in specific linguistic features especially on prepositions, this case study explored whether extensive reading can lead to improved grammatical knowledge in this issue.

 

A total of twelve Korean students in a secondary school participated in the three months after-school extensive program. The pre-test and post-test along with interview procedures were administrated to compare their linguistic development and to see whether the learning has been occurred. The results showed that substantial learning of the preposition occurred during the extensive reading treatment for participants. The results indicated that participants have gained linguistic benefits in increasing the chance of noticing incorrect preposition and knowing what to fix.

 

The result of the study will provide support for the importance of adopting extensive reading in the school syllabus. Additionally, the practical format of the after-school extensive reading program, reading materials for beginning readers, and activities used in this study will be discussed. 

 

 

Factors Contributing to Efficacy in English Pronunciation Instruction

Kathleen Smith, Kelly Martin, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

 

Despite empirical evidence suggesting that focused pronunciation instruction can lead to improvements in the accuracy of non-native speech, pronunciation instruction has remained fairly neglected in the research literature, university ESL courses, and teacher training programs. This study attempts to gain insight into the perceived and actualized efficacy of individualized English pronunciation instruction and determine what student and/or teacher factors may contribute to the effectiveness of such instruction. The study explores the contributions of four factors on students' pronunciation improvement through a mixed-method analysis that triangulates data from students' and tutors' questionnaires, pre-and post-tests, and tutors' portfolios. Pedagogical implications are discussed.

 

Full Abstract:

Despite empirical evidence suggesting that focused pronunciation instruction can lead to notable improvements in the accuracy of non-native speech (Derwing, Munro, & Wiebe, 1998; Sardegna 2009), pronunciation instruction has remained fairly neglected in the research literature, in university ESL courses, and in teacher training programs. In fact, there is a scarcity of empirically-grounded classroom materials as well.

 

The current study attempts to gain insight into the perceived and actualized efficacy of individualized English pronunciation instruction and to determine what student and/or teacher factors, if any, may contribute to the effectiveness of such instruction, as well as to a greater or lesser degree of individual improvement. The study explores the contributions of four factors-student motivation, student/teacher rapport, quality and quantity of practice, and strategy use-on students' short-term improvement through a mixed-method analysis that triangulates data from students' (N=17) and tutors' (N=11) self-reported questionnaires, pre-and post-instruction tests, and tutors' reflection papers and portfolios. The pedagogical implications of these findings are discussed.

 

The Classroom of the Future Will Not Be Silent!

Phoenix Vamvakias, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

The classroom of the future will be characterized by creating an environment that encourages students to be motivated and relaxed, through mutual respect, so that they feel free to speak without inhibitions. This presentation explores the issues of foreign language anxiety, willingness to communicate and motivation, and offers classroom teachers best practices for helping their own students communicate freely in and out of the L2 classroom. A model to help teachers analyze and work with their own specific students will be presented. Handouts of resources and activities will be provided.

 

Full Abstract:

Research makes clear that foreign language anxiety (FLA) is universally experienced by students in foreign language classrooms and that speech production is where students most acutely experience the greatest anxiety. Willingness to Communicate (WTC) is a powerful tool that offers classroom teachers a uniquely effective way to understand, analyze, and address their individual students' needs and their reasons for choosing whether or not to speak in a specific situation and help them overcome the dichotomy between their motivation to speak in a given situation and their anxiety that keeps them silenced.

 

This presentation explores the constructs of FLA, WTC and motivation and their pedagogical implications. It offers a model of WTC that can be used in the classroom to effectively understand, analyze, and address speaking anxiety at the individual level and help teachers work with learners to co-create plans to overcome speaking anxiety. It presents strategies that teachers can use in their classrooms for students of all levels and backgrounds that will create a sense of community that is a fundamental prerequisite for promoting anxiety-free communication.

 

Handouts of the WTC model and other practical resources will be provided to the audience that they can use with their own students as well as group discussion activities to help teachers brainstorm ideas together using the tools presented.

 

OBJECTIVES:

- To be able to employ the constructs of Foreign Language Anxiety, Willingness to Communicate and Motivation and their pedagogical implications to help students overcome their inhibitions about speaking in and out of the classroom.

- To present a specific model of WTC that can be used by classroom teachers to analyze, understand and address their students' individual needs for overcoming FLA and co-create individual action plans that are learner-centered.

- To review effective, action-research based strategies to create community in the classroom essential for communication between students.

- To provide teachers with a practical, takeaway model, strategies, and ideas they can employ in their own classrooms.

 

Written Error Feedback from Perception to Practice: Feedback on Feedback

Reza Noroouzian, Javad Abedifirouzjaie, Dr. Ali Akbar Khomeijani Farahani University of Tehran

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study sought to inspect two major aspects of written feedback; first, potential areas of mismatch between teachers' and learners' perceptions of teachers' error feedback practices, and second, possible misfits between teachers' perception of their feedback practices and their actual feedback performance. Participants included 45 students from English writing classes and 15 of their teachers. The results indicated four specific mismatch areas: teachers' manners of marking, use of error codes, awareness of error selection principle, and effectiveness of teachers' error feedback practices, along with four conspicuous misfit areas between teachers' perception and their actual feedback performance.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Several aspects of written error feedback contexts have been simply overlooked or have remained on the sidelines, partly due to controversies over its long-lasting efficacy. The few studies conducted on the subject, though, failed in imparting key factors at work. This study sought to take learners' and teachers' written feedback perceptions as well as teachers' actual feedback practices into account to judiciously inspect two major areas of written feedback contexts; first, potential areas of mismatch between teachers' and learners' perceptions of teachers' error feedback practices and second, possible misfits between teachers' perception of their feedback practices and their actual feedback performance.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Method and Result

To this end, 60 participants including 45 students from English classes with a focus on writing and 15 of their teachers were selected and asked to separately fill in teacher and student comprehensive questionnaires. Then, at the end of the course, an actual error correction task was corrected by the teachers and finally, they were orally interviewed. The results indicated four specific mismatch areas between teachers' and learners' views on (1) teachers' manners of marking, (2) use of error codes, (3) awareness of error selection principle and (4) effectiveness of teachers' error feedback practices. Moreover, four conspicuous areas of misfits between teachers' perception of their practices and their actual feedback performance were found: (1) their manners of error marking (comprehensive vs. selective), (2) manners of feedback provision (direct vs. indirect), (3) use of error codes, and (4) amount of errors selected.

 

Implications

Ultimately, the study arrived at a number of pedagogical implications. First, this study assists instructors in thinking of ways in which their beliefs, practices and even their specific feedback techniques may be misjudged by learners. Secondly, as to students, while their expectations and preferences regarding teachers' feedback should be respected, students should not necessarily think what they expect or prefer should be adopted immediately by teachers since some of their expectations and preferences go against the findings of second or foreign language writing research. Finally, teacher trainers may find it useful to warn teachers of the fact that regardless of how beneficial or detrimental the nature of students' perceptions could be, they seem to provide a valid picture of teachers' practices.

 

 

The Foreign Language Classroom and Target Language Communities: Symbolic Distance in a Globalized World

Sarah Jey Whitehead, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

In contemporary foreign language education, the combined effects of immigration, globalization, and communication technologies render previously distant groups of people more mutually accessible:  While the foreign language classroom may historically have been linguistically and culturally isolated from the target language, contemporary isolation may no longer be geographic or logistical in nature, but wholly symbolic. This qualitative study is in progress, and this presentation will focus on initial findings relating to the relationships, both symbolic and concrete, between two very different Spanish I classrooms in the United States, and "real world" users of Spanish.

 

Full Abstract:

 Although foreign language education seeks to bridge groups of people both linguistically and culturally, by definition, foreign languages are not used in the communities beyond the classrooms in which they are taught.  In contemporary foreign language education, however, the combined effects of immigration, globalization, and the advancement of communication technologies render previously distant groups of people more mutually accessible.  Then, while the foreign language classroom may historically have been necessarily linguistically and culturally isolated from speakers of the target language, contemporary isolation may no longer be geographic or logistical in nature, but wholly symbolic.

 

This qualitative study is in progress, and makes use of postcolonial theory and a communities of practice framework to investigate the relationships, both symbolic and concrete, between two very different Spanish I classrooms in the United States and "real world" users of Spanish. Research methods include extensive observation and field notes; participant interviews; and artifact analysis. The specific ways in which real world target language users are invoked in the foreign language classroom will give way to pedagogical implications.

 

The presentation will focus on the highlights of initial findings, as they relate to the foreign language classroom participants' negotiation between maintaining the boundaries of their isolated classroom culture and transcending them to forge both symbolic and concrete connections with users of their target language. Considerations of the effects of the symbolic and concrete proximity of real world users of Spanish on foreign language classroom happenings will be considered, as will the relationship of this proximity to foreign language classroom participants' characterizations and understandings of these real world users.

 

 

 

One Size Does Not Fit All

Dr. Taghreed Al-Saraj, The University of London

Research-based Paper Presentation

This presentation is a reflection on my PhD research. Interested in the foreign language anxiety experienced by Arab female language learners, I first set out to explore the extent to which Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope (1986) Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) would be usable and transferable to the Saudi educational environment. The finding  led me to develop my own new questionnaire, which I called The Arabic Foreign Language Anxiety Questionnaire (AFLAQ). I will present and explain my AFLAQ and show how Western scales may not always be transferable or usable to the Saudi or Gulf situation.

 

Full Abstract:

This presentation is a reflection on my PhD research. Interested in the foreign language anxiety experienced by Arab female language learners, I first set out to explore the extent to which Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope (1986) Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS) would be usable and transferable to the Saudi educational environment. I therefore set up a pilot study and elicited, via a questionnaire, student responses to questions about foreign language anxiety in much the same manner as Horwitz et. al. (1986) had done. Some of the concerns expressed and the points raised by the female Arab students were more or less the same as those found by Horwitz et. al.; however, other issues appeared to be particular to the Saudi context. This finding  led me to develop my own new questionnaire, which I called The Arabic Foreign Language Anxiety Questionnaire (AFLAQ). I will present and explain my AFLAQ and show how Western scales may not always be transferable or usable to the Saudi or Gulf situation. This AFLAQ questionnaire gives a provisional assessment of the level of anxiety suffered by the student as it is a self reporting test. This will allow the teacher greater insight into the milieu of the classroom and the individual Arab language learner.

 

 

The Use of Reading and Writing Materials by English Language Learners in a Literacy-Enriched Block Center

Marianne Snow, Dr. Zohreh Eslami, Texas A&M University

Research-based Paper Presentation

Extensive research on early childhood literacy, second language acquisition, and literacy-enriched play centers has been conducted, but few studies have examined these combined topics.  This study examines how two ELL Kindergartners - a new student of English from Indonesia, and a bilingual, Danish/English-speaking student - interacted with reading and writing materials in their classroom's block center.  Key findings indicate that these students incorporated these materials into their play and wrote for similar purposes as their monolingual English-speaking peers; but they often used different writing strategies.  These findings substantiate research that supports literacy-enriched play centers for ELL students and the link between students' personal interests and their motivation to learn.

 

Full Abstract:

Background:

Several studies (Neuman and Roskos, 1991; Schrader, 1991; Stroud, 1995; Bergen and Mauer, 2000; Hall and Robinson, 2003; Howes and Wishard, 2004) have asserted that block play encourages the development of several literacy-related skills in young children, especially if block centers are enriched with reading and writing materials.  Other studies (Araujo, 2002; Lesaux, et al., 2006; Lesaux and Geva, 2006) have explored how young English language learners' emergent literacy skills develop compared with their monolingual English-speaking peers.  However, little research exists that examines how English language learners develop and utilize their emergent literacy skills in literacy-enriched block centers.

 

Purpose:

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how two ELL Kindergartners used literacy materials during block play.  Since block centers encourage symbolic play, it was hypothesized that the students would readily use written language - another form of symbolism - in their imaginary games.  It was also hypothesized that incorporating literacy materials that appealed directly to students' professed interests would motivate them to attempt reading and writing during play.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Conclusions:

All of the students in the study used the literacy materials in the block center - they consulted books and incorporated drawing and writing into their play.  By categorizing students' writing samples according to Halliday's (1973) framework of children's oral language development, it was determined that - regardless of language background - all of the students wrote at the highest stages of language development.  The students sometimes used different writing strategies based on personal preferences (such as copying words or phonetic spelling), but they wrote for similar purposes; and they were highly motivated by and enthusiastic about literacy materials that appealed to their interests.

A Present from the Past: Mendacious Discourse Structures in the Classroom

Dr. Herbert Genzmer, Southwestern University

Research-based Paper Presentation

Reading critical reviews of German textbooks, one is reminded that our students are not children but rather adult learners. Some aspects of our textbooks and teaching practices belittle learners, putting them in a one-down position and ignoring that they are adults. Building on Plato's dialogue on the free man instructing the slave, this presentation analyzes

interactions and exchanges in the foreign language classroom that should be designed from a different perspective and improved in order to free learners from certain discourse restrictions that press them into the role of Meno's slave, thus making their learning an illusion.

 

Full Abstract:

Background

Reading critical reviews of German textbooks, one is reminded that there are students, who are no children but rather adult learners. Their critique aims mostly at those elements that belittle learners, which put them in a one-down position and don't seem to take them seriously as the adult learners that they are. In one of Plato's dialogues, Socrates demonstrates his teaching technique to one of Meno's slaves. This instructional exchange is characterized by deception, and analyzing Plato's dialogue, it is easy to see how the question-and-answer game, so convincingly played by Socrates, can function only under one basic condition: a free man instructs a slave.

 

Purpose

The instructional exchange between Socrates and Meno's slave is characterized by deception; nothing of what we read is true - and Socrates proudly points that out to Meno, the master. Unfortunately, many things that happen in foreign language classrooms do exactly that: they build instruction on lies. Socrates is going through the motions as if he were teaching the slave facts about geometry. Lamentably this dialogue bears so many resemblances to a wide range of encounters, exchanges, and activities in the foreign language classroom, especially drill activities, that it caught my attention. The close reading of the dialogue shows the mendacious discourse structures applied by Plato and reveals how they are mirrored in foreign language classes today, as if the over 2000-year past were looming over present-day activities, as if nothing had really changed.

 

Conclusion

This paper presents and demonstrates types of interactions and exchanges in the foreign language classroom that have to be done from a different perspective and improved in order to free learners from certain discourse restrictions that press them into the role of Meno's slave, thus making their learning an illusion.

 

Tossed at Sea: A Study of Communication Breakdown

Crystal Kusey, University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This micro-ethnographic study focused on communication breakdown in the social interactions of three non-native college level English language users: (2 Korean, 1 Chinese) and one native English speaker (the researcher). Data analysis revealed that communication breakdown with a non-native speaker was not repaired when a native speaker was the ratified listener, however it was repaired when another non-native speaker was the ratified listener. The presenter will describe noteworthy patterns, provide specific examples, offer several interpretations that explain this phenomenon, and provide teaching implications as well as areas for future research.

 

Full Abstract:

ESL learners are fraught with communication challenges in their day-to-day social interactions. In today's globalized world, challenges with communication are not only a significant issue in interpersonal communications amongst natives and non-natives but also amongst non-natives themselves. This micro-ethnographic study focused on language use in the social interactions amongst three non-native college level English language users and one native English speaker (the researcher). Specifically, this study investigated instances of communication breakdown. Communication breakdown refers to an inconsistency between communicative effects and communicative intentions (Clyne, 1994), a feeling of dissatisfaction associated with participants' membership in contrasting social groups (Gudykunst, 2004), or a participant's perception that something has gone wrong (Gumperz and Tannen, 1979).  The four participants in this study included two women from Korea, one from China, and the researcher from Texas. The participants met on four separate occasions from 1 ½ to 3 hours where their natural conversations were video recorded. Data related to communication challenges were transcribed and analyzed to discover emerging language patterns. Data analysis revealed that communication breakdown with a non-native speaker was not repaired when a native speaker was the ratified listener; however it was repaired when another non-native speaker was the ratified listener. The presenter will describe these patterns in detail and provide specific examples. The presenter will also offer several interpretations that explain these patterns. Communication breakdown can have grave consequences especially in the modern world where millions of non-natives use English in their daily lives. In an educational setting, communication breakdown could even hinder a student's access to educational opportunities. The presenter will provide teaching implications as well as this study's limitations and areas for future research.

 

 

Using "Voice Thread" to Enhance First-Year Students' Oral Proficiency in a Russian Language Course

Dr. Vera Dugartsyrenova, Texas Language Center

Research-based Paper Presentation

Today's applications of Web 2.0 technologies in the field of foreign language education have been numerous. However, few studies highlight the potential of media-sharing and podcasting sites, such as VoiceThread, for enhancing students' performance in L2 outside the classroom. This presentation illustrates some of the uses of Voice Thread to foster novice Russian students' oral proficiency. Our investigation seems to reveal that an opportunity for learners to have additional listening comprehension practice and engage in oral production based on teacher-created presentations and personalized audio tasks via Voice Thread may improve their pronunciation, vocabulary skills, and fluency, as well as boost their confidence and motivation in studying the target language.

 

Full Abstract:

Background

The technological advance of recent decades has empowered today's language educators to use innovative ways of teaching foreign languages both within and outside of classroom. One of the recent online voice- and video-recording tools known as VoiceThread has increasingly been used in different educational settings to have students engage in discussions around any stimulus materials and tasks posted at the site in the form of audio- and video comments to them. However, little empirical evidence exists regarding the value of this online tool for language teaching purposes.

 

Purpose

The present study was designed to explore how using the tool would help novice Russian language students to improve their oral production skills (primarily, lexical diversity, pronunciation, and fluency) beyond the boundaries and time frames of the traditional classroom and boost their confidence in using the target language. Due to large class size, which meant little oral production time per individual student, and the fast pace of learning, it was felt that most students in the Russian course being discussed needed extra opportunities for oral practice within their own comfort zone and pace while being provided with individualized tutor feedback on their out-of-class language performance.

For this purpose 10 students from the course who agreed to participate in the study were asked to take an oral interview (pre-test) and then attend 5 weekly face-to-face oral sessions with the tutor followed by asynchronous work on teacher-created presentations and personalized tasks posted at VoiceThread in connection to each topic covered in class. Students posted their answers to the tasks in audio format and could listen to others' contributions from the site. Their answers on production tasks were collected and transcribed for further analysis.

 

Conclusions

The experience using VoiceThread revealed that the students' oral production with regards to the topics studied (manifested mainly through lexical diversity, pronunciation, and syntactic complexity) improved. The students found the additional exposure to L2 via face-to-face sessions and online work motivating and encouraging. The individualized tutor feedback they received on their performance on VoiceThread tasks also seemed to promote a more meaningful form-focused language learning experience and enable the students to become more aware of their individual strengths and the challenges they had to face and work on during the experiment.

 

Technology and the Conversation Test
Jeff Clements, Denison High School

Research-based Paper Presentation

For the capstone project for my masters program I extensively researched the concept of classroom motivation and determined that technology, along with the acquisition of useful skills and abilities, can enormously increase motivation. I was able to use a program online that allowed students to view me, on short video-clips, asking them questions completely in the target language, as if we were having a conversation.  Students were able to use this program to help them prepare for their actual conversation test.   As a result of this program, students have been able to succeed with their oral tests and experience higher motivation at the same time. 

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Using technology in the classroom can be a great motivation for many students.  But, using technology just for the sake of using technology can backfire and have an adverse effect.   Research has shown that technology must be used effectively and with a clear purpose in order for it to have a positive impact on motivation in the classroom. 

 

Purpose: The objective of my research project was to develop an effective use of technology that could help significantly increase purpose and motivation for my students.  A major source of frustration for many students is the conversation test or oral exam.  The effective use of technology can attack this problem and turn a negative or stressful experience into a successful and motivating one. 

 

Research Design: Qualitative and quantitative study

 

Conclusions: As teachers move beyond traditional teaching methods by also using technology appropriately, they can fill in some of the acquisition gaps and appeal to the modern student at the same time. 

In this research study, the students experienced greater success academically and showed increased motivation to succeed further based on the effectiveness of the technology used in the study.

 

 

 The Criteria of Culture: Evaluating Texts for Integrated L2-C2 Instruction

Chelsea Sanchez, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This presentation discusses Byram's (1997) objectives for intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and the integration of language and culture in the classroom. According to Burwitz-Melzer (2001), such objectives left "teachers at a loss as to what to expect from their learners and how to structure their lessons," (p.31). Thus, in this presentation Byram's original goals are adapted into a rubric of criteria to assist instructors in identifying the aspects of a text that naturally encourage ICC development and which aspects require additional support to be beneficial culturally and/or linguistically. Example evaluations and supplementary tasks will be provided.

 

Full Abstract:

This presentation discusses Byram's (1997) objectives for intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and the integration of language and culture in the classroom by teaching culture as a learning process rather than as the static facts reflected in traditional "culture capsule" lessons. According to Burwitz-Melzer (2001) such objectives left "teachers at a loss as to what to expect from their learners and how to structure their lessons," (p.31). Thus this study, using the recent outpouring of literature on ICC and its subfield, transcultural literacy, adapts Byram's original goals into an instructional timeline to guide teachers in encouraging the development of ICC, with evidence contradicting Byram's claims that such a process cannot be represented linearly or generalized to all language learning contexts.

 

Because instructors feel that they do not have time to include culture in the classroom due to the amount of language they are required to cover (Sercu, 2005), these goals are followed by resulting criteria for the selection of texts and supplementary tasks for the development of integrated language and culture lessons. These criteria are then translated into a rubric to assist instructors in identifying the aspects of a text that naturally encourage ICC development and which aspects require additional support in order to be beneficial for this purpose. As an example, this rubric is used to assess a lesson plan based on a text provided.

 

 

 

Cultures of Learning and Identity in Communicative Language Classrooms in China

Elizabeth A. Hubbs, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

English language teaching has rapidly increased in China in the past twenty years. Currently holding the most English Language Learners (ELLs), teaching English in China sparks interest and concern. A recent concern in China is the importation of the foreign language approach known as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). CLT has not been widely received in many teaching contexts in East Asia. This presentation presents a sociolinguistic and sociocultural approach to reviewing CLT in Chinese universities. By understanding culture, social histories, and identity formation, educators can understand how to better adapt CLT to the Chinese context. The presentation focuses on the term "cultures of learning" by defining it and demonstrating how important it is in all educational contexts.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: As a result of industrialization and the effects of rapid globalization, the English language has grown in importance in the People's Republic of China. This growth has naturally led to an ever-increasing amount of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the country. With the rising number of students, researchers have brought in the Western approach known as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms in China. Unfortunately, the reception of CLT has been negative in numerous circumstances. Rather than consider CLT to be "failing" in China, this paper conducts research to consider how CLT is situated from a sociocultural and sociolinguistic perspective. Specifically, the research concentrates on CLT in university settings. How does a sociocultural and linguistic lens further our understanding of CLT in China? What can we learn about the specific cultures of learning in China that can increase our knowledge of how to approach teaching English in China?

 

Purpose: This research comes from the lack of sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives taken regarding CLT. Rather than look at input and output, the research addresses how culture and identity shape learning and teaching in Chinese universities. The research focuses specifically on Confucian heritage cultures and how they create student and teacher identity. The research continues with a discussion of WTC, willingness to communicate, and how that is shaped by Confucian culture. By understanding social constraints and expectations, along with the ideas of Gardner's socio-educational model, we begin to question CLT.

 

Conclusions: CLT is not a "failed" teaching approach in China. An eclectic approach is needed for foreign language teaching. The surrounding environment proves pertinent as a factor that must be considered when teaching. Too often teachers can look to their students as not meeting their expectations. When looking at the examples in China, teachers need to open up to examining their classrooms from a sociocultural and linguistic approach. Rather than "lump" all students as non-native speakers, their identities and backgrounds must be considered as complex ideas that shape the learning experience. Teachers and students should foster compromises in order to work cooperatively to support the native culture and language while teaching a second language and culture.

 

She Was Born Speaking English and Spanish: Bilingual Status in a Kindergarten Two-Way Dual Language Classroom

Suzanne Garcia Mateus, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

Dual language education (DLE) has made a presence in our community! Native English speakers and language-minority students are being asked to share the classroom to learn another language. This case study explored the way one student asserted her sense of agency to position herself as equal to her monolingual-English and bilingual peers. Key findings indicate the impact of having a bilingual status in this culturally and linguistically diverse classroom. Implications include the ways that teachers might work to equalize the language terrain in the DLE classroom so that all students' cultural capital and linguistic capabilities are used to their fullest potential.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Dual language education (DLE or two-way immersion) can be seen as an enrichment program for middle to upper class students and can also become more of a maintenance program for language-minority students. In addition, in foreign language classrooms the notion of investment is a characteristic that can mediate the way students acquire or learn a second language. This paper explores how a component of identity, social positioning, occurred between the interactions of one student and her peers and how, as a result, being bilingual carried a great deal of status.

 

Purpose:
The case study being presented draws on the theoretical framework of identity (Holland et al, 1998), the notion of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1982), and investment (Norton, 1995) to describe how one student asserted her sense of agency by portraying herself as having a bilingual identity, which was a heavily valued commodity in this kindergarten dual language classroom. Research to determine how students socially position each other is pertinent in order to create classroom environments where students feel greatly invested in learning another language. I am continuing research on this topic by looking at how identity is co-constructed via peer interactions. I am seeking feedback on this paper for my continued research.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Conclusions: Evidence suggests that students who are highly invested in learning a second language will take risks linguistically, both in terms of the use of language and body language, to position and reposition one another. In this particular case study, the focal student positioned herself in a way that encouraged her peers to perceive her as bilingual by speaking in English gibberish and taking on physical characteristics of proficient bilingual peers (i.e., highlighting her hair). Further research is needed to explore how students manage to work together in bilingual settings and how teachers can better even out the language terrain in the DLE classroom so that all students' cultural capital or linguistic resources are used to their fullest potential.

 

What to Do When Zombies Attack? Preparing Students for Life Abroad Using Online Materials

Luca Giupponi, Manman Qian, Nicholas Driscoll, Jordan Boggs, Iowa State University

Practice-Oriented Presentation

This presentation will showcase a web-based teaching unit developed to introduce incoming international students to medical and emergency terminology using a contemporary cultural artifact (a zombie attack). The teaching unit stems from a project aiming to develop an orientation program to familiarize students with concepts, situations, and contexts that are of first importance for them in adapting to living abroad (such as housing, dining, shopping, and so on). The teaching unit, built using CALL principles and approaches, can be used in a computer-mediated classroom, a hybrid course, or could be further developed into a fully online course.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: International students, in order to have a positive academic experience in the US, need linguistics and socio-cultural skills that are highly context-specific and are not usually addressed in commercially available language learning materials (Doughty and Long, 2003). Modern web- and material-development software offers language instructors new opportunities to create context-specific material that can be easily adapted to online and hybrid teaching.

 

Objective: This project aims to build on existing SLA and CALL approaches (Jones, 2003; Chapelle, 2003; Winke, Gass, and Sydorenko 2010), bringing them together in order to develop a hybrid summer orientation program aiming to help incoming international students become familiar with concepts, situations and contexts that are of first importance for the target audience (such as housing, dining, shopping, study, insurance policies, legal information, driving, dating, social customs, and so on). Learner curiosity and motivation are encouraged by situating each week-long unit in a unified and stimulating context. Through the development of additional resources such as handouts and lesson plans, students apply what they learned via individual and collaborative efforts.

 

Presentation: This presentation will showcase a one-week web-based teaching unit that is part of the project. The unit introduces students to medical and emergency terminology using a contemporary cultural artifact (a zombie attack). The material available on the website includes video, audio, images, glossed transcripts, and short quizzes. Since we developed all the materials and website ourselves using software that is not extremely specialized (iMovie, GarageBand, Adobe Creative Suite), it is our intent to encourage language teachers to view custom materials development not as time-consuming and difficult as they might have thought until now. The teaching unit can be used in a computer-mediated classroom, a hybrid course, or could be further developed into a fully online course.

 

Examining English Learner Agency at a Four-Year University:  Success at a Cost

Dr. Ronald Fuentes, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Research-based Paper Presentation

Through school culture, universities can powerfully affect English learners (ELs) advancement by ultimately facilitating or hindering their academic and social performance, engagement, and goals. This study presents an EL's experiences and characterizations of university culture and how certain features affected her academic and social life at a public university. Findings show that university success depended on the assimilation and resistance strategies developed in response to university culture. The strategies used to navigate the university system can further EL marginalization; yet, they can also lead to EL success.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: The educational and cultural adjustments of English learners (ELs) in an educational system are tumultuous and complex (Watt, Roessingh, & Bosetti, 1996). Through school culture, universities can powerfully affect ELs' advancement by ultimately facilitating or hindering their academic and social performance, engagement, and goals (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). At the university level, research examining the relationship between institutional culture and students tends to focus on the experiences and perceptions of racial or ethnic groups (Cabrera & Nora, 1994; Hurtado, 1992, 1994); yet, there is little investigation of the interaction between university culture and ELs.

 

Purpose: As part of a larger project that examines ELs' experiences of university culture, the present study focuses on research collected from one female undergraduate EL and several university faculty and administrators through interviews, observations, and participant journals at a major U.S. university. Adopting a case study design, the research data focuses on the EL's experiences and characterizations of the university culture and how certain features affected her academic and social life at a public university.

 

Conclusions: Findings suggest that the EL perceived university culture as affecting her full participation at and engagement with the university. Additionally, success at the university largely depended on the assimilation and resistance strategies she developed in response to university culture. The EL weighed the benefits of her strategies against the costs of those strategies in terms of attaining her goals at the university. At times, her actions incurred great losses on a social and personal level. Yet, she principally viewed that the gains made by these actions outweighed the losses because it allowed her to achieve her objectives. Although, the coping strategies used by ELs, like the one in the present study, to navigate the university system can further EL marginalization and alienation, these same strategies can also lead to EL success.

 

Teaching English in China: A Cross-Cultural Relationship Between Tsinghua University Faculty Members, Tsinghua University Students, and English-Speaking Teachers

Dr. Janet Hammer, Dr. Cindy Boettcher, Dr. Pat Wiese, Chyllis Scott, and Sunni Sonnenburg - Texas A&M University

Research-based Paper Presentation

In the summer of 2011, Texas A&M University's Confucius Institute and the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture in College Station, Texas supported a previously established cross-cultural relationship with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China by sending four faculty members, two graduate students and seventeen undergraduate students to teach English at the Tsinghua University English Summer Camp. The presentation will include a narrative of the background of the Tsinghua University Summer English Camp and a description of the day-to-day reality of the partnership between the Texas A&M University faculty presenters and their Chinese counterparts and Tsinghua University students. The authors will share future implications for cross-cultural relationships between Chinese and American teachers.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: In the summer of 2011, Texas A&M University's Confucius Institute and the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture in College Station, Texas supported a previously established cross-cultural relationship with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China by sending four faculty members, two graduate students, and seventeen undergraduate students to teach English at the Tsinghua University English Summer Camp.  Following a review of literature addressing the importance of authentic cross-cultural relationships, the four Texas A&M teachers will provide a narrative of the background of the Tsinghua University Summer English Camp and a description of the day-to-day reality of our partnership with our Chinese counterparts and Tsinghua University students.

 

Purpose: The purposes of this paper are: to seek an understanding of the goals of Tsinghua University's English Summer Camp and to identify the social and cultural context for communicative language learning that the English camp provides. The cultural milieu as well as the social context in which a language is practiced can influence an individual's motivation to learn a second language (Breen, 1985; Gardner, 1991; Peirce, 1995).  According to Hu (2002), the bounds on communicative language teaching in China are "caused by philosophical assumptions about the nature of teaching and learning, perceptions of the respective roles and responsibilities of teachers and students, learning strategies encouraged, and qualities valued in teachers and students"  (p. 93). When developing a cultural exchange experience, the planners should examine the goals and expectations for all who will be involved in or impacted by the program and determine if the potential rewards of the experience are worth the resources, both human and financial, that are required to create and support such a program.

 

Conclusion: Based upon personal reflections, communications between Texas A&M teachers and their Tsinghua University counterparts and students,  as well as the decision by Tsinghua University administrators to continue supporting the English Summer Camp, the evidence suggests that the 2011 summer camp experience improved the cross-cultural relationship between the English-speakers and the Chinese-speakers and provided the Chinese students with substantial opportunities to use and improve their communicative English skills.  In this paper, the authors share a summary of significant observations and future implications for cross-cultural relationships between Chinese and American teachers.

 

 

 Classroom Technology: Attitudes and Actions-2001-2011

Janet Norden, Caterina Riley, Baylor University

Research-based Paper Presentation

This presentation addresses the challenge of integrating culture with basic skills learning in beginning Spanish. The premise is that it is possible to motivate students by involving them actively in interesting contexts. It will offer research opinions/actions and their perspectives, culminating in a current application of technology that promises a solution. It includes results of an original research project (2001), and two surveys (2009, 2011). It also describes a publisher's program that serves both teacher and student needs, meets the challenges of basic skills development and culture integration, and transitions from drill to interactive practices to virtual reality and beyond.

 

Full Abstract:

This presentation addresses the challenge of integrating culture with basic skills learning in first semester Spanish. Its premise is that it is possible to successfully motivate students by involving them actively in interesting contexts. It acknowledges the problems of time, student focus and interest, and the content of vocabulary, grammar and culture. Both teachers and students complain about time, teachers gripe that students lack focus, and students feel that grammar is not interesting, vocabulary learning painful and culture an ‘add-on.'

 

I shall outline a series of research opinions or actions and their contexts, culminating in a current application of technology that promises a solution.

1. In the fall of 2001 I conducted a research project (not submitted for publication) with 84 first semester students to see if they could, with their limited linguistic skills, do online research, use their cognate-recognizing abilities, and produce a 5+ minute PowerPoint presentation in Spanish for their classmates. Advantages and disadvantages will be presented.

2. In July, 2009, Jeffrey R. Young, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote an article entitled "When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom." That title shocked me. I was elated to gain a ‘smart' classroom; my colleagues who do not have one envied me. Was I, were they-wrong?

3. In October, 2011, I surveyed 70 students in my first semester Spanish classes regarding language learning and computers. Their comments reflect the negative view held by many on the use of technology. Why do they hate computers?

4. In 2011 a publisher developed a research-based, integrated, internet-delivered, experiential program that solves many of these problems. Which issues do they address? This program serves both teacher and student needs, meets the challenges of basic skills development and culture integration, transitions from drill to interactive practices to virtual reality and beyond! What's not to like?

 

 

In Promoting More Successful Second Language Learning Experiences: Classroom-Based Projects

Lama Nassif, Claire M. Parrish, Duygu Uslu Ok, The University of Texas at Austin

Practice-oriented Presentation

Second language (L2) learners have been shown to display individual differences, influencing L2 learning experiences and positively or negatively correlating with L2 competence. In promoting more successful L2 learning experiences, this presentation outlines four projects tapping into affective (motivation and anxiety) and cognitive and metacognitive factors (strategy use and learner beliefs). The projects target beginning and intermediate-level learners within a foreign language context, involving an anxiety-reducing workshop, a language learning strategy training workshop, three learner-belief related workshops, and an interactive website with motivation and anxiety reduction training. The projects involve various activities and discussions and employ instructional technology.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Students enter the foreign language classroom with individual differences, such as identity, personality, motivation, anxiety, aptitude, and previous learning experience, which affect second language (L2) learning (Gass & Selinker, 2009; Grabe, 2009; Horwitz, 2008). These differences are due to affective, cognitive, and metacognitive factors (Horwitz, 2008). Current second language acquisition research suggests that obstacles to language learning, such as anxiety, low motivation, poor strategy use, and detrimental learner beliefs, should be clearly identified and discussed in the classroom (Grabe, 2009; Horwitz, 2008; Lui & Jackson, 2008). Such awareness-raising is needed in assisting the "potential mental reinforcers" supporting "motivational disposition" (Dörnyei, 2005) and in contributing to "metacognitive knowledge" (Dörnyei, 2005; Wenden, 1999).

 

Purpose: In order to encourage communication about individual differences in the classroom and to promote more successful L2 learning experiences, four projects that target beginning and intermediate-level learners within a foreign language context will be discussed: an anxiety-reducing workshop, a language learning strategy training workshop, three workshops related to learner beliefs, and an interactive website with motivation and anxiety reduction training.

 

Presentation: The presentation outlines four projects tapping into affective (motivation and anxiety) and cognitive and metacognitive factors (strategy use and learner beliefs), assisting beginning or intermediate language learners in managing these language learning related factors. We open with a brief overview of the rationale behind these types of awareness-raising activities about anxiety, motivation, language learning strategies, and learner beliefs. Then, we turn our attention to the structure and specific materials used in the four projects in order to better illustrate the intended effects. Finally, two sample activities and one teacher/learner interaction is modeled.

 

 

The Effect of Different Strategic Planning Foci on the Accuracy of the Writing of Higher-Intermediate L2 Learners of English

Javad Abedifirouzjaie, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

Task planning, which is defined as the provision of time before or during performing a task (Mochizuki & Ortega, 2008), is one of the implementation variables producing relatively consistent effects on L2 task performance (Ellis, 2005). This study examined the effect of different pre-task (strategic) planning foci on higher-intermediate learners' writing task performance. The strategic planning foci used in this study were form-focused and meaning-focused ones. Learners' task performance was assessed in terms of the measures of accuracy developed by Ellis and Yuan (2004). The results indicated that guided strategic planning (form-focused or meaning-focused) yielded greater accuracy with the learners at higher-intermediate levels of proficiency than unguided strategic planning (planning with no specific focus). The study also indicated that form-focused planning proved to be more effective than meaning-focused planning in terms of accuracy of performance.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: There has been an increasing body of research on different aspects of L2 learners' task performance in recent years (Ellis, 2003). The main focus of the research has been various design features and implementation procedures of the tasks and their effects on different aspects of language use such as the fluency, complexity, and accuracy of task performance (Ellis, 2003; Ellis, 2005a). Task planning, which is defined as the provision of time before or during performing a task (Mochizuki & Ortega, 2008), is one of the implementation variables producing relatively consistent effects on L2 task performance (Ellis, 2005). Among other things, the importance of task planning is that it is one of the ways in which one can incorporate a focus-on-form into written tasks and thereby improve learners' performance on these tasks. In fact, task planning is seen as a pedagogical approach to teaching writing in language classes.

 

Purpose: The present study examines the effect of different strategic planning foci, as an implementation procedure of the tasks, on the writing task performance of higher-intermediate L2 learners of English. The strategic planning foci used in this study are form-focused and meaning-focused ones. Learners' task performance is assessed in terms of the measures of accuracy developed by Ellis and Yuan (2004). This is to see whether guided planning (form-focused or meaning-focused) will lead to the production of more accurate language than unguided planning (planning with no specific focus) and whether form-focused planning will result in greater accuracy than meaning-focused planning.

 

Research Design:  Quantitative.

Includes the written production of three comparable (higher-intermediate) groups of learners completing the same argumentative task under three different strategic planning conditions: meaning-focused, form-focused, and unguided strategic planning conditions.

 

Conclusion: The results indicate that guided strategic planning yields greater accuracy than unguided strategic planning with the learners at higher-intermediate levels of proficiency. The study also indicates that form-focused planning is more effective than meaning-focused planning in terms of accuracy of performance, and either is more effective than unguided planning. Thus, the present study offers valuable insights for EFL researchers and teachers.

 

 

Teaching Grammar as Skill Using Movies

 Daniela Terenzi, Baylor University

Practice-oriented Presentation

Research points to a critical gap between teaching grammar focusing on forms and teaching grammar focusing on meaning. Grammar as skill teaching methodology aims to fill this gap. In our presentation, we will explain how to use this methodology with young learners by employing different kinds of input resources, mainly movies. Several activities developed based on this methodology for the author's Master's degree research will be shown and discussed.

 

Full Abstract:

The process of learning and teaching grammar has been widely discussed in Applied Linguistics studies, especially with regards to EFL and ESL contexts. In these kinds of discussions, we frequently see authors arguing based on language learning theories about whether to use explicit or implicit methodologies to teach grammar.

Taking into consideration studies like Krashen's (1981), we could infer that the conscious learning of grammar structures will not likely result in students knowing how to use them in real communication contexts. On the other hand, if students are only exposed to input and interaction, they might not acquire the language and thus would not be able to use it properly.

 

There are other studies about this dichotomy in which the role of grammar instruction in EFL classes is discussed, such as Augusto-Navarro (2007) who, based on Ellis (2002a; 2002b) and Richards (2002), states that when students interact freely only focusing on information exchange, they might develop an unsatisfactory interlanguage level in terms of accuracy.

 

Therefore, we can see, as pointed out by Batstone (1994), a critical gap between teaching grammar focusing only on forms, which may not lead the learner to use the language in real situations, and classes in which the focus is meaning, where students do not improve their interlanguage level.

 

Grammar as skill teaching methodology aims at filling out this gap. According to Batstone (1994) and Larsen-Freeman (2003), the main characteristic of this way of teaching is to be inductive, offering learners the opportunity of reflecting about language aspects (form, meaning, and use) in communicative interactions.

 

We will explain how to teach grammar as skill to young learners through the use of different kinds of input resources, mainly movies. Several activities developed based on grammar as skill teaching methodology for the author's Master's degree research will be shown and discussed.

 

 

Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning for Language Learning: A Practical Guide for Language Teachers

Jayoung Song, The University of Texas at Austin

Practice-oriented Presentation

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the usefulness of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) for the ESL class. There has been a recent interest in technology-supported collaborative learning in higher education due to the development of new tools to support collaboration, the emergence of constructivist-based approaches to teaching and learning, and the need to create more powerful and engaging learning environments. Following this trend, this presentation will discuss how CSCL can be effectively used for language learning. The presentation will include possible computer-supported tools, activities, and assessments. Finally, the benefits and limitations of CSCL for language learning will be discussed.

 

Full Abstract:

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the usefulness of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) in the ESL or EFL learning environments. There has been a recent interest in technology-supported collaborative learning in higher education due to the development of new tools to support collaboration (Johnson & Johnson, 1996); the emergence of constructivist-based approaches to teaching and learning (Kirschner, Martens, & Strijbos, 2004); and the need to create more powerful and engaging learning environments (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005). Following this trend, this presentation will discuss how CSCL can be effectively used for language learning. In order to help ESL or EFL teachers' understanding of CSCL and implementation of it into their classrooms, a sample CSCL class will be introduced. The sample includes the design of the class, possible computer-supported tools, practical activities and possible assessments. Finally, the benefits and limitations of CSCL for language learning will be discussed.

 

Computational Linguistic Analysis of L2 Academic Discourse Patterns in Computer-Mediated Discussions through a Systems Lens

Jeong-bin Hannah Park, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

This study attempts to explore L2 academic discourse patterns through the corpus linguistic data analysis (Cobb, 2010) and systemic view (Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008) of non-native English-speaking students' lexical use, who participated in asynchronous computer-mediated discussion (ACMD) with native English speaking peers in an advanced graduate level course in the U.S. The lexical patterns, such as word frequency and collocation, of 10 non-native English-speaking students reveal the overall propensity and subsequent change of the non-native students' lexical usage. The results show that non-native participants' messages use more discipline specific content words and less informal and casual comments of social characteristics. With regard to lexical variation, native English speaking participants' online discourse shows more lexical variation in the ratio of types and tokens.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Corpus linguistic data analysis (Cobb, 2010) has availed numerical results on lexical variation and lexical density of messages contributed by non-native English-speaking students. Non-native English-speaking students' lexical patterns, such as word frequency and collocation, also reveal the overall propensity and subsequent change of the non-native students' lexical usage as they participate in ACMD over a period of time and acquired content knowledge in L2. The systemic view (Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008) provides a solid venue to understand how L2 learners are acculturated into academic written discourse patterns in a socially shared online learning environment.

 

Purpose: This study attempts to explore second language (L2) academic discourse patterns through the analysis of non-native English-speaking students' lexical use, who participated in asynchronous computer-mediated discussion (ACMD) with native English speaking peers in an advanced graduate level course in the U.S.

 Ten non-native English speaking students enrolled in a graduate course in the U.S. took part in the study, three males and seven females, all representing various programs. These students were from India, Korea, Taiwan, Korea, Turkey, and Syria. Four students were enrolled in semester one and six were enrolled in semester two.  Because of the diversity of the participants' backgrounds, and for cross-group comparison, ten native focal students from the class, five from each semester, were selected to represent in-depth views of online discussion.

 

Research Design: Mixed method

 

Conclusions: The results show that non-native participants' messages tend to have more frequent use of discipline specific content words and less informal and casual comments that bear social characteristics. Though these non-native participants must have a high level of English proficiency to acquire content knowledge in L2, their syntactic structures are not as diverse and smooth as those of native students. With regard to lexical variation, native English speaking participants' online discourse shows more lexical variation in the ratio of types and tokens.

 

 

The Future Starts from the Present: The Design and Implementation of an Online Mandarin Chinese Course

Naiyi Xie Fincham, Michigan State University and the University of Oregon

Practice-oriented Presentation

This presentation discusses the design and implementation of an online Mandarin Chinese course offered to beginning level high school learners. This online program consists of three interdependent components realized on one platform: the main course platform supported by Moodle that contains all the learning materials, activities, and course documents; the learning community where students engage in collaboration, group discussion, and sharing of information and thoughts; and an e-portfolio site supported by Mahara for self-assessment. Discussion will focus on how materials and activities are developed within these settings and work dynamically to optimize the affordances of the online environment.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Recent years have witnessed a fast growing popularity of learning Mandarin Chinese in not only higher education institutions, but also K-12 schools across the States (Weise, 2007). Along with the increase of interests in learning the Chinese language and its culture, the demand of quality teaching and learning resources (including instructors, curriculum, practice materials and opportunities) has been rapidly raising, too. Educational technologies, especially Internet communication technologies, have taken up an important role in answering this call. From research and practice in technology enhanced language learning (TELL), we have seen the affordances of technologies in facilitating and promoting language learning. Today, the orchestration of different technologies can make language learning free from the restrictions of time and space, and bring the instructors, learning materials, and interaction opportunities to the students who may have difficulty accessing these resources locally.

 

This presentation: The online language program in this presentation consists of three interdependent components on one platform: "Courses", the main course platform that contains all the learning materials, activities, and course documents; "Groups", the learning community where students engage in collaboration, group discussion, and sharing of information and thoughts; and "Portfolio", an e-portfolio site self-assessment.

 

In this presentation, I want to share my experience in designing and teaching an online Mandarin Chinese course offered to beginning level high school learners in the States. I will start with theoretical perspectives that guide our design and implementation of the course. Second, I will provide detailed accounts of the course structure, the three components, and how they work together to realize the pedagogical goals (including pre-course learner preparation, ongoing leaner support). Examples of online and offline activities, various kinds of interaction, student participation, and forms of assessments will also be discussed. Lastly, I will share my reflection upon the potential and challenge of a language program that is completely online, and our developing understanding for future improvement of the course.

 

 

Investigating Learning Anxiety and Self-Esteem in Second Language Learners

Dr. Debora B. R. Zamorano, The University of Texas at El Paso

Research-based Paper Presentation

Second language students usually lack self-confidence, and as a consequence, develop language learning anxiety. As a result, they can become extremely stressed when attempting to learn a second language. The study proposed here will identify instructor's techniques and personality traits, as perceived by students, which may increase or reduce anxiety and as a consequence, affect self-esteem. Attention will also be focused on participants' beliefs, experiences, and feelings towards anxiety and self-esteem as far as second language acquisition is concerned. As Von Worde (2003) points out, anxiety affects language learning negatively, and thus, by reducing it, one can increase language acquisition, retention, learner motivation, and self-esteem.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: According to Horwitz, Horwitz and Cope (1986), it has been estimated that one-third of students learning a foreign language experience some type of foreign language anxiety. Campbell & Ortiz suggest that perhaps fifty percent of language students have an astonishing level of anxiety (1991). Anxiety restrains the learner's capacity to process language and consequently prejudices the process of acquisition (Krashen, 1985). Furthermore, language anxiety may develop lack of self-esteem and risk taking ability. As a consequence, it obstructs proficiency in the second language (Crookall and Oxford, 1991).  According to Horwitz (2001), there are three kinds of foreign language anxiety: communication apprehension (i.e., the fear students have to communicate with other people in the target language), test anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation (i.e. concerns about how other people see the speaker).

 

Purpose: This study thus focused on second language students' perceptions of how to handle language learning anxiety and self-esteem, and on teaching techniques and strategies which may help them to reduce related issues in the language classroom. The findings may help second language instructors become more aware of the importance of their role as "psychologists" in the classroom to reduce students' anxiety and lack of self-esteem. Furthermore, the study provided relevant information to second language instructors so that they can use effective strategies to reduce their students' apprehension and lack of confidence.  By employing such strategies, they can become better instructors and, as a consequence, impact their students' learning in a positive way.

 

Research Design: This study utilized a qualitative methodological approach with a quantitative component.

 

Conclusions: Based on the data collected, it is clear that anxiety is a disturbing issue for a significant number of language students. The findings revealed language students' perceptions of how to handle language learning anxiety and self-esteem, as well as teaching techniques and strategies which may help them reduce related issues in the language classroom. The findings helped second language instructors to become more aware of this issue and as a consequence, make use of techniques that could minimize anxiety in the classroom.

 

 

"Profile of a Language Learner": Foreign Language Learning and University Freshmen

Nichole M. Lucas, The Youngstown State University

Research-based Paper Presentation

The importance of foreign languages from a global standpoint is compelling, and the study of critical languages has gained momentum as economic incentives for learning these languages become increasingly clear. This study examines the importance of foreign languages from the standpoint of urban university freshmen. Through questionnaires and open-ended narratives distributed randomly, freshmen students identified vast support for instrumental and individualized language learning with recognized importance of an integrative and collective language-learning attitude overall. However, they were unable to see benefits of language learning past their own needs noting, "Our best days are in the past."

 

Full Abstract:

Background: The importance of foreign languages from a global standpoint is compelling, and the study of critical languages has gained momentum as economic incentives for learning these languages become increasingly clear. As in the 1950's with the Sputnik scare and the Russian language becoming a focus, specific critical languages change with the ever-evolving global world. Yet, the changing needs do not reflect a change in attitude. To take up a foreign language based on ideas other than a global need is no longer acceptable and is viewed as "global ignorance" (Lewis 2000).

 

Purpose: Motivational aspects in language learning are well researched with respect to gender, age, and intrinsic values. However, this study examines how urban university freshmen see the importance of specific foreign languages and foreign language learning in general from a global standpoint. This examination proposes the need for our future leaders to think of themselves as citizens of the world as opposed to citizens of the local community.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Conclusions: The motivations of students at the Youngstown State University (YSU) more than support an instrumental attitude with regards to language learning. The future endeavors of these students and coming generations are based on how the learned language will benefit them and not the global world. Although the subjects identified vast support for an instrumental, individualized attitude for language learning, they did recognize a need for an integrative, collective attitude overall, concluding that YSU students are unable to see the integrative, collective benefits of language learning past their own needs.

 

 

 

Using Qualitative Methods to Investigate "Advanced": A Study of Arabic Learners' Vocabulary Production in the Context of the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview

Summer Loomis, The University of Texas at Austin

Research-based Paper Presentation

 Foreign and Arabic language oral assessment have been dominated by the use of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages' (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) (Liskin-Gasparro 2003; Eisele 2006). This paper presents the preliminary findings of a study on advanced speakers of Arabic, with a focus on vocabulary production and semantic error in samples rated at "Advanced-Mid" or "Intermediate-High."  The vocabulary and semantic errors within the samples were measured to determine how the samples differed quantitatively from one another; the samples were also transcribed in order to determine qualitative differences. 

 

Full Abstract:

Background: Foreign and Arabic language oral assessment have been dominated by the use of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages' (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) (Liskin-Gasparro 2003; Eisele 2006). While there is continued interest in teaching students to reach advanced levels of speaking ability, there are few studies of OPIs that focus on advanced learner speech. This paper presents the preliminary findings of a study on advanced speakers of Arabic, with a focus on vocabulary production and semantic error in the ACTFL OPI.

 

Purpose: This paper focuses on speech samples gathered from Arabic OPI recordings that were double-rated at "Advanced-Mid" or "Intermediate-High" levels. According to the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Guidelines, "Advanced" learners are expected (among other abilities) to be able to discuss concrete and abstract topics, and produce language organized at the paragraph level. In contrast, "Intermediate" learners should demonstrate an ability to discuss topics related to their personal interests and experiences, and produce language largely organized at the sentence-level (ACTFL Oral Proficiency Guidelines 2012).  This paper investigates the vocabulary production and semantic errors within Advanced and Intermediate level samples to determine how the speech in these samples differs.  In order to do this, speech samples were transcribed and coded, with measures of lower frequency vocabulary and semantic errors taken, in order to determine if quantitative and qualitative differences exist in the samples under consideration.

 

Research Design: Qualitative

 

Conclusions: Preliminary results suggest that while measures of vocabulary used in Arabic learner speech at Advanced and Intermediate-High levels do not represent quantitatively distinct levels, qualitative examination reveals more varied vocabulary and more complete answers to OPI testers' questions at the advanced level.

 

 

Exploring Social Networking Language Websites: Perspectives from Students, Teachers, and Researchers

Dr. Min Liu, Claire M. Parrish, Jeong-bin, Hannah Park, Grace Lee, Matthew Evans, and Monica McCrory

Research-based Paper Presentation

Social networking, an area of Web 2.0 technologies, is being used by some language learning websites. The main purpose of these online communities is language and culture learning. Via synchronous and asynchronous tools, students can collaborate and interact directly with native speakers of the target language. 30 university students participated in the study and shared their perceptions of Busuu, Englishcafe, and Livemocha, specifically regarding the sites' ability to enhance their language learning abilities. Since some students were enrolled in more than one of the three ESL classes recruited for the study, a total of 42 surveys were completed by these students. In addition to feedback from both students and instructors, the presentation will provide a practitioner's perspective on the challenges of performing this type of research. The selection of the websites and the features will be identified, in addition to the challenges of designing the tasks and implementing the study in existing classrooms.

 

Full Abstract:

Background: An area of Web 2.0 technologies that has seen tremendous increase of interest in the educational setting is social networking (O'Reilly, 2005; Stevenson & Liu, 2010). The World Wide Web provides a new context for language learning and teaching (Susser & Robb, 2004; Warschauer, 2005) with an opportunity for growth in collaborative knowledge construction and participation in online communities (Kraumsch, 2002; Larsen-Freeman; 2008). However, there is a lack of research on the perceived usefulness of these social networking language sites and literature regarding the challenges of conducting such research. Social-cultural theories and communicative affordances of ‘Web2.0' form the theoretical framework of this study with the following research questions:

1.     What is students' and instructors' perception when language learning websites with social networking features are used as tools for language practices?

2.     What difficulties arise for the researchers when attempting to collect data?

 

Purpose: This study explores affordances and challenges of using social networking language websites as a tool for language practice from the perspectives of students, teachers and researchers. Three language learning websites (Busuu, LiveMocha, and English Café) were chosen. Students from three ESL classes used the websites as a part of their learning in the class as well as outside class for a period of five weeks by completing language learning tasks in collaboration with an ESL instructor and network groups. Our goal is to understand how these tools are actually used and what learners think of them.

 

Conclusions: In addition to feedback from both students and instructors, the presentation will provide a practitioner's perspective on the challenges of performing this type of research. The selection of the websites and the features will be identified, in addition to the challenges of designing the tasks and the implementing the study in existing classrooms.   

 

Poster Presentations 

Challenges to Saudi Arabian and Chinese Students in ESL Composition Courses

Liang-Chen Lin, Texas A&M University

This presentation is drawn from a case study completed at Arkansas Tech University. An eight-week case course was implemented to explore Saudi Arabian and Chinese students' challenges in an ESL Composition course. It was found that specific linguistic, cultural and educational factors led to their challenges in writing English. This study provides a new perspective on Chinese and Saudi Arabian students' learning experiences and will help teachers implement improved instructional techniques.

 

Full Abstract:

Gaining insight into students' diverse linguistic, cultural and educational backgrounds before beginning instruction would greatly facilitate the teaching of ESL composition courses. Consequently, this research aimed to explore ESL students' challenges with these courses through a case study conducted at Arkansas Tech University. The target ESL composition course was composed of seven ESL students: five from Saudi Arabia and two from China. Data was collected using both quantitative and qualitative methods via classroom observations, interviews and questionnaires. Findings of this research demonstrated the diverse backgrounds, learning processes and learning styles of the Saudi Arabian and Chinese students and affirmed the interrelation between these factors and the challenges the students faced in the ESL composition course. Findings from this study will provide teachers with a new perspective on students from these backgrounds and thus improve instruction.

 

 

Type and Frequency of Connectives Use in EFL Beginning Students' Writing

Hilal Peker, The University of Texas at Austin

 

 

After receiving instruction on the use of 22 connectives, thirty-five EFL students taking beginning courses in Turkey were asked to write a one-paragraph description of their dreams. Students’ use of connectives was investigated through a quantitative method that calculated frequency of use and accuracy for each connective type. Results indicate that beginning EFL students in Turkey most frequently use and, but, when. However, and was generally overused, and so, so that, after, and then were generally misused. Furthermore, the beginning students prefer using when over while. The pedagogical implications of these findings are also discussed.

 

Full Abstract:

Researchers in the field of Foreign Language Teaching have proved that the use of connectives in English occurs through the years with the regard of age development. However, little is known about the students’ use of connectives in terms of frequency and accuracy at specific English levels. This study attempts to fill this gap in the research literature. After receiving instruction on the use of 22 connectives, thirty-five EFL students taking beginning courses on writing, grammar, reading and listening/speaking at a Turkish university were asked to write a one-paragraph description of their dreams. Students’ use of connectives was investigated through a quantitative method analysis that calculated frequency of use as well as accuracy for each connective type. Results indicate that beginning EFL students most frequently use and, but when. However, and was generally overused, and so, so that, after, and then were generally misused. The results also show that beginning students prefer using when over while. The pedagogical implications of these findings are discussed in this paper.

 

 

The Effectiveness of Still vs. Animated Cartoon Pictures on Learning Second Language Vocabulary

James Ahikpa, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

 

 The study investigated whether the teaching of L2 vocabulary with still cartoon pictures and animated cartoon pictures would result in a significant difference in second language learners' receptive and productive knowledge of the target words. The effect of test type (receptive vs. productive) on participants' retention of the target words was examined. Finally, the study tried to find out whether the semantic category of vocabulary words influences vocabulary retention across picture types. The results showed that over 80% of the words were successfully retrieved on the receptive knowledge tests vs. only about 40% successful retrieval on the productive knowledge tests.

 

Full Abstract:

The study investigated whether the teaching of L2 vocabulary with still cartoon pictures and animated cartoon pictures would result in a significant difference in second language learners' receptive and productive knowledge of the target words. Also, the effect of test type (receptive vs. productive) on participants' retention of the target words was examined. Finally, the study tried to find out whether the semantic category of vocabulary words influences the rate of successful vocabulary retention across picture types. For the purpose, a group of 17 ESL students from a Midwestern University participated in both treatments with still and animated pictures, followed by vocabulary tests. The results showed that over 80% of the target words were successfully retrieved on the receptive knowledge tests vs. only about 40% successful retrieval on the productive knowledge tests. Yet, the results did not reveal significant differences in vocabulary gain due to picture type as both treatments showed similar success rate of retention of the target words, especially in view of receptive knowledge. Also, neither of the two types of pictures was effective in facilitating productive knowledge of the target words. In addition, the study found that some semantic categories of vocabulary words may be easier to recall than others. 


 


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