Teacher development forum: Neuroscience and Corpora

JALT Group: 
Event Speaker: 
Curtis Kelly of Kansai University
Victoria Muehleisen of Waseda University
Fee for JALT members: 
Free
Fee for non-JALT members: 
1,000 yen
Contact or Queries: 
Sunday, September 25, 2016 - 1:30pm to 4:00pm

Presentation 1:
Title: How Preschool (& Exec Function) Can Save the World
Speaker: Curtis Kelly

Two major studies found that under-privileged children put in preschools made immediate gains in numerous proficiencies, and surprisingly, kept them into adulthood. They were also likely to have better incomes, fewer teen pregnancies, and fewer problems with drugs or crime. But why? Neuroscience is finding the answer. Preschool is the time that critical executive functions in the pre-frontal cortex are developed, including: inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility; the basis of intelligence and character.

Presentation 2:
Title: An Introduction to On-Line Corpora for Language Teaching and Language Learning
Speaker: Victoria Muehleisen

The word corpus (with the plural form corpora) is from Latin, and means “body”. In literature studies, the term corpus has been used to apply to a “body of work”, and in linguistics, the term is usually used to refer to a collection of texts stored in electronic form on a computer. The first widely available computerized corpus was compiled at Brown University in 1961 and contained 1 million words of English. Some modern corpora are much larger, e.g., the British National Corpus at 100 million words. Corpora have been created for many languages, including both English and Japanese. Those made by researchers at universities or government institutions are usually freely accessible in some form. In this workshop, I will introduce some large on-line corpora and show how language teachers can use them in preparing materials for their classes, for example, to see whether their intuitions about whether a particular grammatical structure is correct, and to find examples of how a particular word is actually used. I will also introduce some sites based on corpora data which can be directly used by learners themselves.

In order to actively participate in this workshop, participants should bring a laptop computer with internet access. It’s possible to access these sites using an iPad or smart phone, but it is much easier to work with a laptop.