West Tokyo JALT:

TESOL Action Research Mini-conference 3: More Astonishing Research

Date: Friday, April 24th, 2009 Time: 5:45 PM - 9:00 PM

Speaker: Andrea Little, Terry Fieldsend, Sarah Haas, Andy Boon, and Alastair Graham-Marr

Description:
Professional development for EFL teachers: Aston University in collaboration with JALT West Tokyo and Tokyo Chapters, Abax, and Toyo Gakuen University invite you to an evening of presentations exploring the topics of task-based learning, and communication.

17.45-18.00: Doors open

18.00-18.45: Form-focused tasks using semantically enhanced input - Andrea Little and Terry Fieldsend (Aston U)
Andrea Little and Terry Fieldsend will describe a small research project using realia (a miniature apartment) to target prepositions. Using Samuda's (2001) design framework, the research investigates whether tasks which illuminate areas of meaning (semantically enhanced tasks) might be effective in leading learners to notice a "gap" in their language, seek language input on a highlighted form, and then apply that form with a greater degree of accuracy and control as a result of their increased appreciation of that particular meaning-form relationship.

18.45-19.00: Break

19.00-19.45: The value of non-evaluation in the research and writing process - Sarah Haas (Aston U) and Andy Boon (Toyo Gakuen U)
It is well-established that giving/receiving feedback is an important part of the research/writing process. However, feedback is often synonymous with evaluation. This is not surprising, given that the established discourse of higher education is evaluative; —ideas are moved forward by criticism and debate. However, in certain stages of research, evaluative feedback may not always be the most preferable for some. While not denying the importance of constructive criticism, Sarah Haas and Andy Boon will discuss how non-evaluative interaction may facilitate understanding for the individual teacher/researcher.

19.45-20.00: Break

20.00-20.45: Communication strategies: Why training is helpful - Alastair Graham-Marr (Tokai U and Abax)
We often observe that, all other factors being equal, some people communicate better than others. Communication strategies are often the difference. Learning to use communication strategies is not so much a matter of education as it is a matter of training. We all use and understand such strategies to varying degrees in our first language. The key is having enough experience to transfer these skills over to our second language. Alastair Graham-Marr will look at some of the L1 cultural interference issues with respect to acquisition of strategies and suggest an explanation for differing research results between Asian and European studies.

20.45-21.00: Closing remarks

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

Cost: free

Venue: Toyo Gakuen University, Building 1, Hongo Campus, Room 1302

Location: Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan

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Contact West Tokyo JALT

Website: jwt.homestead.com/home.html

Andy Boon
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