ARCHIVE Spring 2015 Brown Bags

January 15: PhD vs. Work: What’s next after graduation for MA in SLS students?

Organized by SLSSA Academic VPs

PhD Student Panelists: Ms. Aya Takeda, Ms. Bonnie Sylwester, & Mr. Sangki Kim
Faculty Panelists: Dr. Gabriele Kasper & Dr. Christina Higgins
Department of Second Language Studies, UHM

Which is a better option for MA in SLS students after graduation: apply for a PhD program or look for a steady job? This first session of the Spring 2015 SLS Brown Bag is a discussion about this issue from the varying perspectives of both current PhD in SLS students and SLS faculty. The graduate student presenters will share some information about their own backgrounds in this area and what factors contributed to their decisions, as well as taking questions from the audience. The faculty presenters will also share some of their own insights on the subject, along with what qualities they feel make for an exceptional PhD student.


January 22: Revisiting Studies on Causal Attributions in ESL/EFL Contexts: Towards an Alternative Model for the East Asian Context

Presenters: Dr. Peter Gobel, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan; & Dr. Setsuko Mori, Kinki University, Japan

When things go right (or wrong) how do people explain the outcome to themselves and others? Researchers in mainstream psychology have attempted to understand achievement behavior by analyzing perceived causes of success or failure. These perceived causes, known as causal attributions, are thought to affect expectations for future success or failure. Bernard Weiner’s attribution theory, concerned with degrees of achievement and perceptions of how that achievement was or was not attained, proposes that a person is more likely to attribute success to self and failure to external forces. This is in line with the independent view of self, dominant in many Western cultures. However, there is growing evidence in Asian contexts to suggest that patterns for causal attribution may differ based on cultural and group affiliations, and that similar differences exist regarding self-enhancement tendency. These differences may be a result of the interdependent view of self, dominant in Asian cultures, where self, social norms, and modes of thought are viewed as being interconnected.

In this session we’ll briefly revisit studies on attribution theory in general and studies in ESL/EFL to unravel the causal attributional patterns in the Asian context. Drawing upon recent empirical studies, we’ll examine basic differences in attributional patterns between East and West, and similarities and differences in patterns among the Asian cultures in the ESL/EFL context. We’ll then suggest an alternative model to attributions that is more relevant to the Asian context and discuss the pedagogical implications of the alternative model.


January 29: A Chinese EFL Teacher’s Practical Knowledge about Reading Instruction

Presenter: Ms. Qinghua Zhang, China University of Geosciences (Beijing)

Practical knowledge is believed to be one of the key elements of the knowledge base of teachers’ professional development, but it has not been sufficiently documented in the field of EFL reading. This study investigates a Chinese EFL teacher’s practical knowledge about teaching reading to a group of university students. By closely examining the teacher’s classroom talk and data from an interview, this study suggests that there are different categories of practical knowledge about teaching EFL reading. Pedagogical implications of this study will also be discussed.


*TUESDAY, Moore Hall 423* February 10: The Role of Literature in Teaching and Learning an L2

Presenters: Ms. Hyunjung An, Ms. Carmen Ramos Gomez, Ms. Kin Nur Al Ashikin, Mr. Darlin Vui Sue Sia, Mr. Linus Sun, Mr. Jay Tanaka, and Ms. Masami Taniguchi, UHM

This panel discussion explores the use of literature in the second and foreign language classroom. The primary purpose is to help the audience gain a systematic and principled approach to using literature in their teaching. In addition to a focus on the major theoretical and research issues, we provide information how we use a literature component in our own teaching. We will provide a definition of literature, and discuss a variety of genre of literature, poetry, graded readers with M-Reader, film, video games, picture story books, short stories, and folktales.

This is a dress rehearsal for our panel discussion at the 2015 Hawaii TESOL Conference.


February 12: ‘So your father passed away in 2011’: Discourse marker ‘so’ in English-medium talk shows in China

Presenter: Dr. Yangfang (Yolanda) Cheng, Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, Hangzhou, China

Luyu, the famous Chinese TV talk show host, is described as the ‘Oprah of China’ owing to the popularity of her show called “A date with Luyu.” Her English-medium shows have more in common with those of Oprah’s in their many uses of the discourse marker ‘so.’ What does ‘so’ do in Luyu’s talk show? The study focuses on functions of the discourse marker ‘so’ in Luyu’s 2013 interview with former U.S. ambassador of China Gary Locke and his wife, analyzing it with the ‘Stance’ theory, and has interesting findings on cases of ‘so’ functioning either as expressing the interviewer’s epistemic stance or inviting alignment from the interviewees. The study interprets the use of the discourse marker from the perspective that the host, through frequent use of ‘so,’ indicates that she is not familiar with the ongoing talk show content and has to make frequent inferences. By continuously playing the role of a ‘curious audience,’ the host, with technique, keeps the interviewees involved in the talk and tell her more about their story. The study attempts to make contribution to the study of English as lingua franca in the context of Chinese media.


February 19: Analyzing language attitudes in order to understand language maintenance and shift: Preliminary findings from the Hawai‘i Linguistic Family Trees Project

Presenters: Christina Higgins, Gavin Lamb, and Mónica Vidal, UHM

In this presentation, we share preliminary findings from the Hawai‘i Linguistic Family Trees Project (2013–present), which seeks to better understand the role of language attitudes in intergenerational family language transmission among Hawai‘i’s multilingual population. The project uses interviews with individuals representing the main languages spoken during Hawai‘i’s plantation era (Hawaiian, Cantonese, Portuguese, Japanese, English) as a means of exploring how language attitudes expressed in families shed light on patterns in language maintenance and language shift (LMLS). In this presentation, we focus on an analysis of interviews with 10 Hawaiian-identified and 10 Japanese-identified individuals. Taking a qualitative and discourse analytic approach to the study of language attitudes, we use appraisal theory (Martin & White, 2005) to identify how stances expressed by the speaker about family members in the interviews reveal meaningful patterns in each family’s linguistic history. Our analysis treats language attitudes as stance-taking (Hiss, 2013; Liebscher & Dailey-O’Cain, 2009), and our analysis makes use of appraisal theory’s sub-system of attitude in which expressions of positive and negative affect, judgment, and appreciation index the value of family languages. We will show how expressions of attitude patterned differently for Japanese-identified and Hawaiian-identified speakers both at the lexico-grammatical and discourse levels. Thus far, our findings indicate that the stances individuals express in response to their family members’ language attitudes in interviews match up with their own LMLS. We argue that stance-taking is both a site for the reproduction of and transformation of language attitudes which can result in language maintenance or shift. We end with a discussion of implications for research methods on language attitudes and LMLS.


February 26: [Practice Colloquium] TBLT Through Different Lenses, Part 1

L2 Teacher Noticing

Presenters: Daniel Jackson & Min Young Cho, UHM

The purpose of this talk is to present and discuss second language teacher noticing (L2TN) as a construct relevant to task-based language teaching (TBLT) and other needs-based, communicative language teaching pedagogies. Drawing on Schmidt’s noticing hypothesis (1990, 2001, 2012) and recent work in mathematics education (e.g., Sherin, Jacobs, & Philipp, 2011), L2TN refers to teachers’ awareness of features of second language classroom interaction that may influence student learning. We briefly situate this construct in relation to current research themes, including: (1) language teacher education in areas of pedagogic innovation (e.g., TBLT, learner autonomy); (2) teacher and learner factors bearing on classroom management (e.g., interactional competence, individual differences); and (3) perspectives on cognition in teaching and learning (e.g., teacher cognition, sociocognitive approaches).

Next, we report results from ongoing research carried out in the context of an undergraduate program in second language studies for pre-service teachers. Stimulated recall methodology was employed to elicit retrospective verbal reports of L2TN, based on participants’ team-teaching demonstrations. The methodology incorporated split screen videos affording both ‘student’ and ‘teacher’ perspectives on classroom interaction.

The following research objectives guided the pilot study. The first goal was to develop an analytical framework in order to classify instances of noticing recorded while teacher trainees watched their video-recorded demo lessons. The second aim was to examine the real-time interactional contexts which prompted instances of L2TN. Initial results from eight individuals showed that the quantity and quality of recalled instances varied by participant.

Plans for future research will be discussed, as will challenges to the interpretation of L2TN data, including the discursive construction of teachers’ professional identities as ‘noticers’. In closing, we will revisit the relevance of L2TN in promoting innovations which rely on teachers’ ability to attend to student needs as they unfold during the task-in-process (Breen, 1987).


March 5: [Practice Colloquium] TBLT Through Different Lenses, Parts 2 & 3

Planning and Completion of Collaborative Tasks in an ESL class: An EM/CA perspective on Task Based Language Teaching

Presenters: Rue Burch & Josephine Lee, UHM

Planning has long been a major theoretical concern within TBLT research (Ellis, 2005; Foster & Skehan, 1999), with a great deal of focus paid to the distinction between strategic and on-line planning and the effects that these have upon the fluency, complexity, and accuracy of learners’ task performance (Ellis, 2009). One gap in the research, perhaps necessitated by the theoretical view of planning as an individual’s cognitive activity, regards what learners are actually doing when they plan together in groups. Instead of concentrating on the quantification of learner outcomes, the current project takes interest in a process-oriented perspective to explore how students approach collaborative planning tasks in real-time interaction.

The videorecorded data was collected from short-term intensive advanced ESL courses where the students were tracked across various steps of task planning and completion activities: 1) deciding on the topic; 2) determining roles; 3) devising and implementing questionnaires or interviews, and finally 4) presenting their findings in class. Drawing on conversation analysis and multimodal analysis, the data illustrates how the students orient to the task and actively do strategizing in ways that are driven by local contingencies and concerns. Fine-grained analyses of the interaction also reveal that group planning is essentially a social and pragmatic activity wherein the students use language to manage participant roles, resolve disputes and misunderstandings, and collectively work toward effective task completion. By uncovering the interactional particularities of collaborative planning interaction, this study seeks to provide empirical insights into the students’ language learning behaviors that precede and shape task performance (Markee & Kunitz, 2013), and ultimately, to inform and advance TBLT methodology and research.


Practicing TBLT as postmethod: Transformative task and syllabus design in the EAP classroom

Presenter: Angela Haeusler, UHM

Conceptualizing Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) as a post-method pedagogy, this paper argues for a redirection of inquiry in task and syllabus design towards individually and socially transformative experiences of language use. Looked at comprehensively, the transformative properties of real-world tasks have been a linchpin in the development of TBLT, recognized early on in Candlin’s (1987; 1989) call for tasks to be critically oriented and problematizing. Yet, studies that construe task-based pedagogies from a socially engaged, change-oriented perspective (e.g. Flowerdew, 2005; 2010) remain at the fringes of TBLT research. As the emergence of polyvalent norms in the use of global languages like English poses new challenges on institutional goal-orientations, task design and evaluation of task performance, the need for a context-sensitive, socio-politically conscious TBLT is further substantiated.

Drawing on findings from a classroom-based study in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) setting where the postmethod principles of particularity, practicality, and possibility (Kumaravadivelu, 2001; 2006) were actualized, the paper discusses the impact of transformative tasks in pursuing the diversification of academic writing norms. The results reveal that learners’ introduction to writing as an interest-based, sociopolitical enterprise facilitated a context-sensitive focus on form. Furthermore, transformative tasks offered opportunities for students to function as agents of change, and thereby communicators (Long, 1996; DeKeyser, 1998), whose task-performance was directly linked to the reassessment of institutional target goals for academic writing in the global contact zone. The paper concludes that a postmethod TBLT advances learners’ abilities to negotiate language diversity in transnational education and workplace environments.


March 12: L2 Learning to Write Through Writing Conferences: Preliminary/Emerging Findings of a Mixed-Methods Inquiry [‘Oihana Maika‘i Fund Awardee]

Presenter: Junko Imai, UHM

A writing-conference (WC) is a one-on-one counseling on writing between a novice-expert dyad. The literature commonly addresses (a) novices learn to write through WCs, (b) WC is a coordinated, collaborative action and (c) L2 WCs is more complicated than L1 WCs (e.g., Aljaafreh & Lantolf, 1994; Cumming & So, 1996; Goldstein, 2006; Koshik, 2002; Park, 2007; Patthey-Chavez & Ferris, 1997; Thonus, 2004; Young & Miller, 2004). While studies share conceptualizing WCs, researchers take contrasting analytical approaches to WCs. L2 writing researchers try identifying conditions leading to successful text revisions, while discursive analysts illustrate interactional processes of WC talk. Neither approach has yet studied how the continuous engagement may enhance writers to perform meaningfully in WCs shedding lights on the talk–text connection in a particular context and how contrasting analytical approaches contribute to understand L2 learning to write through WCs in depth.

Filling this gap, this study explores whether, and if so how, L2 learners of English (and graduate student tutors) change their participation, attitudes, revision practices, and text quality over time. As a mixed-methods research (MMR) study, it also explores how qualitative findings compare to quantitative findings. In spring and fall 2014 semesters, I introduced WCs to students in a college-level EAP program in Hawai‘i. Employing a concurrent embedded MMR design (Creswell, 2009), I administered a survey and an essay as pre/post observations. Over eight weeks, student-tutor dyads met for WCs and I conducted a briefing with each dyad and play-back sessions after WCs and a wrap-up interview with individual participants.

Data analysis for this study has only just begun. This presentation will share preliminary findings and be an idea-sharing opportunity for learner/professional development Audience contributions will be important.

This presentation is a “dry-run” of an upcoming conference presentation, and this will be reflected in the length of the presentation.


March 19: [Practice Talks]

Ideologies of Language and Identity in Hawai‘i: Narratives by Micronesian Women

Presenter: Priscila Leal, UHM

This presentation will examine the personal narratives-in-interview by a woman from the island of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, residing Hawai‘i, and how she positions herself in relation to ideologies of language and identity that value her spaces. I will discuss the linguistic, rhetorical, and interactional properties of her narratives and juxtapose them against sociolinguistic and socio-historic contexts in which they were produced, in order to reveal certain discursive constructions. I argue that by looking at the interdependence between context, content, and form, it is possible to see how the narrator positions herself with regard to societal discourses on language and identity both in the micro and macro contexts of the interview space and of Hawai‘i, and its implications to the local migrant community—especially the Chuukese.


“Nganong magbinisaya man?”: Language Ideologies and the Mother Tongue in Philippine Classrooms

Presenter: Jayson Parba, UHM

Language ideology has received an increased attention in recent studies on language policy and multilingualism (May, 2014; Tollefson, 2012). Building on language ideological framework, this paper attempts to analyze language ideologies that shape both the Mother Tongued-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) policy and the classroom practices in Philippine elementary schools. This ethnographic study shows teachers’ ambivalence with regard to the MTB-MLE policy and strong preference for the use of English as medium of instruction in the beginning of the policy implementation. Classroom observations and in-depth teacher interviews, however, reveal that the MTB-MLE allows students to easily understand new lessons and actively engage in classroom discussions. Most importantly, the policy has allowed translanguaging practices that allow the students to make sense of the world around them through the fluid use of their bilingual linguistic resources, specifically Cebuano and English. Findings also reveal that lack of adequate teaching materials, students’ textbooks, and classroom facilities are some of the most pressing issues that limit the implementational space for the policy. Thus, I argue for situating language policies at the ground level to open up greater spaces for more informed discussions about the current policies are enacted in the classroom. This approach can also inform policymakers to engage communities, schools, teachers, and the students in language planning and policymaking process.


April 2: Effects of L1 Syntax on the Comprehension of L2 Wh-Structures: Evidence from German-English Bilinguals

Presenter: Professor Tom Rankin, Wirtschafts Universität Wien [Vienna University of Economics and Business]

‘Competing grammars’ models of language acquisition suggest that grammatical properties are not reset from one discrete value to another during the course of development. Rather, distinct, mutually exclusive grammatical properties may continue to co-exist, resulting in variable performance by individual learners. In this paper, I draw on this idea to analyse instances of cross-linguistic influence in the comprehension of wh-structures by L1 German-speaking learners of L2 English. The results from a series of picture interpretation experiments shows that learners at advanced levels of proficiency continue to optionally allow interpretations of these structures which are licensed by German grammar but are not possible in English. In line with Yang’s (2002) Variational Learning model, I suggest that the ‘success’ of the L1 grammar in assigning parses to input results in continued access to L1 grammatical properties to parse the L2 at more advanced proficiency levels.


April 9: Hem i Broken English nomo: Interrupting the same old story about pidgins and creoles in school

Charlene J. Sato Distinguished Lecture

Presenter: Professor Fiona Willans, University of the South Pacific

Pidgins and creoles have a long tradition of stigmatisation within formal education. Very little has changed in this regard, despite several decades of sociolinguistic research demonstrating that there is no linguistic justification for keeping these languages out of the classroom. This presentation uses recent data about Bislama (an English-based expanded pidgin), collected at two schools in Vanuatu, to demonstrate that attitudes towards this language remain incredibly negative in the domain of formal education, despite its high status outside school, and despite its prominent place in teachers’ and students’ linguistic repertoires. It will be suggested that these negative arguments can be countered in a number of ways, but that it is difficult to open up sufficient space to disrupt the status quo without rethinking some of our fundamental assumptions about the nature of language and languages. The presentation will consider whether it is possible to shift our thinking from deficit to difference to repertoire, as a way of validating Bislama as part of a complex teaching and learning repertoire.


April 16: Second Language Studies Graduate Work Session Organized by the SLSSA Academic VPs

*Location: Moore Hall, Room 575*

Bring your own laptop/tablet resource-building session


April 23: English for North Korean Defectors Attending University in South Korea

Presenter: Professor Eun Sung Park, Department of English Literature & Linguistics, Sogang University

The number of North Korean defectors entering secondary and tertiary institutions in South Korea has rapidly increased in the past decade. Such an influx of North Korean students has prompted a series of research examining how well they have adjusted to the South Korean educational system. Findings from these studies have consistently shown that they face tremendous difficulties with mandatory English classes offered in South Korean universities. Such findings notwithstanding, not much attention has been paid to examine the type of difficulties these students face and the kinds of support that might best serve their needs.

This talk will outline a work in progress at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, which aims to provide support that would best cater to the North Korean defectors’ unique English language-learning needs. The presentation will provide a general demographic sketch of the North Korean defectors enrolled at Sogang University, examine the types of instruction that they received back in North and (after they moved to) South Korea, and report on the difficulties that they typically face in English classes including their initial feedback to the ‘foundation’ classes especially designed for them.


April 30: Building Student Motivation to Read

Presenter: Professor Neil Anderson, Brigham Young University Hawai‘i

This workshop will focus on ways that teachers can build student motivation to be more fluent readers. As we build students’ comprehension skills and reading rate, they will want to be better readers. Participants will have the opportunity to consider how the elements of the presentation can be integrated into their philosophy for teaching L2 reading.