West Tokyo JALT:

Spreading the Good Word: Introducing the Vocabulary SIG

Date: Saturday, May 19th, 2012 Time: 10:30 AM - 5:15 PM

Speaker: Charles Browne, Rory Rosszell, Jeffrey Stewart, Charles J. Anderson, and Rob Waring.

JALT's West Tokyo Chapter, the JALT Vocabulary SIG and Oxford University Press are pleased to present an interesting series of presentations by a diverse range of speakers, all of whom represent excellence in the field of vocabulary education for EFL learners in Japan. This is a great opportunity for all ELT professionals who seek to expand their knowledge and gain useful insights which may well assist them with their teaching practice in the English language classroom. All are welcome!

Doors Open

Introduction to the Vocabulary SIG
Mark Howarth

Embracing the Vocabulary Challenge in Comprehending Authentic Video
Charles Browne, Meiji Gakuin University
Although there are now many online resources for accessing authentic video in and out of the classroom, this presentation argues that the gap between the average vocabulary size of typical EFL language learners and the amount of vocabulary needed to comprehend those videos is usually quite daunting. In this session, the presenter will begin by developing the argument for the importance of teaching high frequency vocabulary, citing some of his background research on the serious vocabulary gaps that face EFL learners in Asia. After a discussion of the differences between high frequency vocabulary needed for proficiency in reading and that for listening, he will then describe the theoretical underpinnings of several online scaffolding tools he helped to develop for assisting students to be able to better comprehend unsimplified videos (as well as many freeware and shareware equivalents). Participants will also be introduced to an approach for rating the difficulty of videos by their vocabulary content and simple techniques for developing targeted special purpose vocabulary lists based on corpus research of the transcripts of the video.

Using Word Engine to boost learners' vocabulary knowledge
Rory Rosszell, Meiji University
Word Engine is an on-line, fee-based vocabulary study program that incorporates spaced repetition and allows learners to target various kinds of vocabulary. After introducing the program and demonstrating a number of its features, I will provide a description of how its use has been integrated into a number of my classes over the past couple of years. Descriptive and questionnaire-based data will then be introduced to provide a more detailed picture of my students use and perceptions of the program, and finally, the session will round up with an opportunity to ask (further) questions.

Food and drink courtesy of OUP.

Creating vocabulary word lists using yes/no checklists
Jeffrey Stewart, Kyushu Sangyo University, Swansea University
Word lists used in ESL curricula are often organized by word frequency, as this is a strong predictor of their occurrence in text. However, while frequency lists can indicate which words are most important for students to learn, they tell us less about which words students already know. By identifying gaps in students' knowledge of frequent words, we can create more effective and succinct wordlists. Using a case study involving 2000 learners and checklist tests of 900 words, the presenter will detail how educators can collect, compile and analyze checklist data of their students‚ word knowledge. Topics addressed will include scanners, OMR software, and equating estimates of word difficulty under Item Response Theory. Finally, using data collected in the case study, major contributors to word difficulty for Japanese learners will be examined using a logistic regression analysis.

Utilizing pictures for formative vocabulary instruction
Charles J. Anderson, Kyushu Sangyo University
This presentation's intention is twofold. First, it will theoretically justify, then outline, a relatively uncommon but effective way to assist students in acquiring vocabulary knowledge. Second, it will situate this teaching approach within a larger, more important reconceptualization of feedback practice. Drawing on recent research in psychology, neurobiology and language acquisition, this paper will argue that drawing pictures, in conjunction with appropriate feedback, may be the most effective way to encourage logographically literate students to establish a strong initial L1-L2 association for core English vocabulary that can then be elaborated upon. While this research is still largely theoretical, preliminary findings from a large scale, ecologically valid, longitudinal study indicate it to be effective in promoting vocabulary acquisition.

A framework for selecting appropriate online vocabulary learning environments
Dr. Rob Waring, Notre Dame Seishin University
This talk will first present an overall view of the vocabulary needs of learners -- receptive and productive as well as language focused and fluency-focused activities. We will then examine many of the online resources that can fit this framework from decontextual memorization environments such as Anki, iknow or Quizlet to the more integrated environments such as EnglishCentral and graded reading online. The participants will then be tasked to deciding which ones would best fit their needs.

Book draw by OUP / Closing remarks

Hope to see you there! Pre-register by sending an email to Andy Boon.

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

Cost: JALT Members: free
Non-members: 1,000 yen

Venue: Tokyo Keizai University, Chu-kaigishitsu 5, 2nd floor, Building 6, Kokubunji-shi, Tokyo

Location: Kokubunji City, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan


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This event is co-sponsored by: