West Tokyo JALT:

Astonishing Research - TESOL Action Research Mini-Conference 2008

Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2008 Time: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Speaker: Fiona Copland, Andy Boon, and Mike McDonald

Professional development for EFL teachers: Aston University in collaboration with the JALT West Tokyo Chapter, Toyo Gakuen University, and Oxford University Press invites you to an evening of presentations exploring the topics of research, writing, corpus, ethnography and linguistics.

17.45-18.00 Doors Open

18.00-18.45 Combining general and genre-specific approaches to L2 writing instruction
Mike McDonald (Hosei University)
Many English for Specific Purposes (ESP) writing courses follow a genre-specific approach to writing instruction. For example, students learn to write business letters or research reports by studying examples of the genre, identifying common features in the language and rhetorical steps, and then attempting to use them in their own writing. This talk will show how such a procedure can be combined with a more general approach focusing on discourse patterns common to many different genres, such as Situation-Problem-Response-Evaluation. This two-layered approach to writing instruction may help students to transfer their knowledge of a particular genre to a wider range of writing tasks.

19.00-19.45 The illusion of synonyms: Investigating the similarities and differences between bias and prejudice
Andy Boon (Toyo Gakuen University)
This presentation questions the synonymic relationship between bias and prejudice as it appears in a coursebook task. Firstly, the two terms are compared using their entries in the New Oxford English Dictionary. The analysis reveals that the dictionary cannot fully account for the two terms and only offers limited assistance in guiding a user to an understanding of their differentiation. The second part of the investigation examines bias and prejudice as they occur in a 50 million word corpus of modern English (Collins Cobuild Wordbanks Online) to discover points of overlap and departure between the two terms. The analysis shows that bias and prejudice share an illusory synonymic relationship which begins to fade once the terms become situated in separate contextual and co-textual environments. The final part of the presentation discusses a number of implications for vocabulary teaching arising from the investigation.

20.00-20.45 Legitimate talk
Dr. Fiona Copland (Aston University)
Feedback in pre-service teacher training contexts is, for the most part, hidden from view. 'Trainee' teachers receive critical comment and advice from experienced 'trainers' in an event that is rarely researched and under-discussed. Drawing on data from two pre-service teacher training courses for English language teaching to adults, this paper conjoins linguistics and ethnography to uncover the discourse practices of trainers and trainees as they discuss learning and teaching. The research shows that for much of the time, participants reproduce traditional transmission discourses. However, other exchanges also take place that challenge the legitimacy of transmission talk and reveal feedback to be a place where the emotional and social are fundamentally present. The paper argues that talk in feedback is a sophisticated, multi-faceted enterprise in which competing ideologies and identities jostle for position and where participants who can play by the 'rules of the game' (Roberts and Sarangi, 2001) negotiate the event successfully.

Organization: West Tokyo Chapter of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (West Tokyo JALT)

Cost: free

Venue: Toyo Gakuen University, Hongo Campus (map)

Location: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan


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