This month we had a special treat as six presenters who are headed towards Shizuoka gave us a special preview of their four presentations.
First, Eleanor Carson discussed her longitudinal research about how time plays a role in changes observed in preferences of Japanese university students for the use of L1 in courses. Eleanor investigated these changes over the course of one year. Some of the conclusions were that proficiency influences learners’ preferences, and that mother tongue support should be decreased over time, especially in the first semester when most changes normally occur.
George Higginbotham and John Tennant presented their principles of materials development, such as word knowledge, frequency of use and learner autonomy. From there, they continued by taking these principles and demonstrating how they put the principles into practice in their classrooms. Of particular note is the use of explicit teaching of vocabulary in the classroom.
Yukari Rutson-Griffiths and Matthew Porter discussed the duties of a learner advisor, and then their study into conversation analysis. Their study focused on oral interaction between learner advisors and learners. Matthew and Yukari showed the audience how they collected and analyzed their interaction data.
Monika Szirmai introduced us to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) for foreign languages. The CEFR is a framework for assessing levels in various courses including languages, and assigning levels to the learners and programs. Using this framework courses and students can be compared across different educational systems in European countries. The merits of such a standardizing system were introduced to orient the audience to this system. After the introduction of how this linguistic goal-oriented system works, the inherent problems were outlined. The presenter showed us how Hungarian is a good demonstrator of how goal-oriented assignment of levels does not work as well with some languages as with others.