Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series

Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series


All Thursday talks will be over Zoom from 12:00 to 1:15 pm.

To register for our upcoming talk, please visit

We are now accepting proposals for presentations for the 2020–2021 academic year. Please contact Dr. Nicole Ziegler (, Associate Professor in SLS.

January 14

No talk scheduled

January 21

Finding Affordances for Language Learning at a Zapotec Revitalization Program

Dr. Kate Riestenberg, Haverford College

Indigenous language revitalization often involves grassroots teaching with the aim of developing new speakers (e.g., Pérez Báez et al., 2018). However, students in many language revitalization programs struggle to gain proficiency though the need to become fluent is urgent (e.g., Ratima & May 2011; White 2006). This presentation, based on a recently published paper (Riestenberg 2020), will offer an analysis of how educators at a Sierra Juárez Zapotec language revitalization program in Oaxaca, Mexico have tried to make teaching more effective by creating new spaces for meaningful social interaction and focusing on “affordances” for language learning (Aronin & Singleton 2010, 2013). Affordances can be thought of as moments or opportunities when social and cognitive factors come together for language learning to take place. Based on videos of 23 class sessions with children at the revitalization program, I will describe cases of educators providing language learning affordances through: (1) meaningful listening during visits to the homes of Zapotec speakers, (2) rich and elaborated language through gestures, repetition, recasting, and paraphrase, and (3) negotiation for meaning through the creation of communicative “gaps” that drive an interaction forward (Ellis 2009). Drawing on these examples, I argue that teachers in revitalization contexts can promote individual language affordances despite a weakened state of social affordances. Teacher practices can lead to the types of individual language affordances that catalyze and promote language acquisition. This work helps to bridge the gap between the body of academic work on language teaching on the one hand and the realities of teaching in language revitalization contexts on the other.

January 28

Rethinking a Spanish language program at the college level: Toward inclusive and relevant second language education for ALL students

Dr. Germán Zarate-Sández, Western Michigan University

In this presentation I will describe the research and curricular changes I am implementing to confront issues of inequity encountered by Black and African American students in the Spanish program I direct at Western Michigan University. The project consists of three phases: describing the problem at hand, understanding its origin, and taking concrete measures to solve the problem. In the first stage, a comprehensive analysis of student demographics, enrollment, and academic performance for the last six years revealed that Black and African American students at my institution begin Spanish education at high rates but are later less likely to advance to higher-level courses and more likely to obtain lower final grades than members of other groups. The second stage consists of surveys, interviews, and class observations aimed at better understanding Black students’ experience and needs in our Spanish program. Results from this needs analysis reveals issues of retention and academic performance among Black students are not unique to my institution (e.g., Anya, 2020; Charle Poza, 2013; Gatlin, 2013; Moore, 2005). The last stage of the project will educate our personnel in issues of equity and diversity and will implement changes in the curriculum to make our Spanish courses more relevant for Black and African American students, while also aiming to expand all students’ awareness of diversity and inclusion in Spanish-speaking cultures.

February 4

Submitting your research for publication? Here’s Some Things to Consider

Dr. Betsy Gilliland, Dr. Dustin Crowther, Dr. Theres Grüter, and Dr. Nicole Ziegler, , Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Building on the previous Brown Bag on journal reviewing, this presentation and Q & A session will focus on the process of submitting theoretical, empirical, and position pieces to journals for publication. SLS faculty will share their insider perspectives on the article submission process-including how to choose a journal, writing cover letters, responding to a revise and resubmit (including how to respond to reviewers’ comments), and rejection. Questions are encouraged-please use the google form to submit your questions about the journal article submission process so that the panel members might address these during the discussion. 

February 11

No talk scheduled

February 18

No talk scheduled

February 25

Keeping Students Engaged: Online Teacher-Led Peer Writing Conferences

Dr. Betsy Gilliland, Mr. Rickey Larkin, Ms. Michelle Kunkel, Ms. Mitsuko Suzuki, and Ms. Victoria Lee, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

Teacher-led small-group writing conferences (TSWC) blend the benefits of one-to-one teacher-student writing conferences with advantages of peer response. Previous research has identified how TSWCs socialize student writers into discussions of academic writing, giving them an expert model (the teacher) and the opportunity to practice providing feedback to several peers. No research to date has considered how TSWCs work when the conferences are moved into an online environment. In this Brown Bag, we report on the first semester’s findings from implementing online TSWC in three levels of English as a second language (ESL) writing courses in the UHM ELI. We compare changes in students’ participation across the semester and across different course contexts. Analyzing recordings of Zoom conferences, students’ written texts and comments, and post-course interviews, we argue that the affordances of Google Docs and Zoom facilitated students’ contributions and engagement over time. We found that advanced preparation was essential for participation: students read their peers’ papers before the conference and used the Google Docs “Add Comment” tool to provide comments. Across all courses, those students who put more details in their comments had more to say during the conferences. They were able to refer to their comments in discussing each other’s writing. Across the semester, students contributed more to these comments and to the oral discussion. The Zoom platform allowed teachers and students to use screensharing to highlight specific sections of the papers under discussion and point out valuable comments. Students valued these features of the conferences, although some also wanted more teacher feedback.

March 4

Instruction and heritage bilingual children: A look at morphosyntactic development

Dr. Julio Torres

This presentation begins with an overview of the subfield of instructed heritage language acquisition, which includes the results of a recent exploratory meta-analysis (Bowles & Torres, in press), to provide context of the issues at stake. Within this context, only two studies have examined the effects of instruction on heritage bilingual children (Wright, Taylor & McCathur, 2000; Cuza, Miller, Pasquarella & Chen, 2017), and it remains unknown how instruction alters heritage bilingual children’s morphosyntactic development. To address this issue, the second part of the presentation will consist on reviewing the results of a one-year longitudinal study of 2nd and 4th grade Spanish-English heritage bilingual children. The findings will be discussed in light of the magnitude of instruction on heritage language outcomes among bilingual children in previous studies as well as the theoretical underpinnings of dynamic systems theory (e.g., Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008; Larsen-Freeman, 2017).

March 11

Who speaks “broken English” now? A conceptual replication of Lindemann (2005) 15 years later

Dr. Dan Isbell and Dr. Dustin Crowther, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

The continued spread of English as a medium of communication has brought increased emphasis on global usage (Rose & Galloway, 2019), highlighting the ways nonnative users demonstrate agency and creativity when creating meaning in multicultural contact (Widdowson, 2019). However, this global use is primarily considered outside of English-dominant contexts, and this international acceptance may not reflect listener perception in English-dominant environments. Lindemann (2005) identified negative attitudes toward many non-local English varieties amongst US undergraduates (UGs), a concern echoed in recent scholarship (e.g., Kang et al., 2015; Lindemann & Subtirelu, 2013). Given the 15-year gap since Lindemann (2005), our conceptual replication addresses to what extent US UGs’ perceptions of non-local Englishes may have changed, as well as how UGs’ perceptions compare to those of older Americans.

March 25

An action research study on learning through online instruction

Ms. Kristen Urada, Second Language Studies, UH-Mānoa

As a new instructor who was assigned to teach an undergraduate course in the fall 2020 semester, I used action research to investigate and document my experience of teaching an introductory course about Pidgin in Hawaiʻi. The three goals of this study were to investigate helpful classroom management strategies, document what students learned and how the course affected their perspectives towards Pidgin, and assess my own professional development. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from the course material, student work, and my reflection journal. The results suggested that while there was a need for more student accountability in preparation for in-class activities, students learned a lot about Pidgin and had positive perspectives towards Pidgin by the end of the course. Furthermore, this study identified areas of growth and aspects of my teaching that need to be developed in future teaching opportunities. The findings from this study have also provided implications for continued online instruction and Pidgin in the classroom.

April 1

April 8

Title TBA

Dr. Hae In Park

April 15

Title TBA

Dr. Shelly Staples

April 22

The psychology of pre-service language teacher noticing: Combining quantitative and qualitative insights

Dr. Daniel O. Jackson

Noticing, as described by Schmidt (1990), is a central topic in second language (L2) research, though few studies have examined noticing by L2 teachers (Jackson & Cho, 2018; Jackson & Shirakawa, 2020; Lengeling et al., 2020). The goal of this talk is to advance discussion of teacher noticing (Sherin & van Es, 2003) as an important feature of language teacher psychology. Based on a definition of language teacher noticing as a multi-faceted construct involving attention, interpretation, and decision-making during engagement, this mixed methods study focused on influences on noticing among pre-service English teachers (PSTs) in Japan. Using a repeated-measures design, PSTs (N=16) taught a series of four map tasks with a peer in the student role. After each task, the study participants immediately completed trained, video-based stimulated recalls, in their L1, to probe noticing. To address gaps in language teacher education research, the influence of two factors was examined: the tasks used (simple vs. complex) and the perspective afforded by the video stimuli (observer vs. field). Task-based interaction was transcribed using conventions from conversation analysis. PST recall comments were translated and reliably coded for noticing instances by two raters. Descriptive analyses uncovered large differences between PSTs in the percentage of their recall comments that constituted noticing, ranging from 30-67%. Quantitative analyses revealed that, as expected, complex tasks yielded more recall comments, p = 0.00, d = 0.73. However, neither factor influenced noticing instances. Qualitative analyses shed light on how PSTs noticed nonverbal (e.g., recipient nodding) and verbal (e.g., landmark descriptions) resources during tasks and used these resources to enhance overall task performance. In sum, these findings suggest that PST noticing is influenced by individual factors and they highlight the necessity of noticing an array of communicative resources. Implications for language teacher development in general will also be discussed.

April 29

The SLS Thursday “Brown Bag” Lecture Series is organized by the Department of Second Language Studies for enhancing students’ academic experience and professional future. Archived presentation descriptions can be found at the following links: ;   Fall 2020Spring 2020;   Fall 2019;  Spring 2019;   Fall 2018;   Spring 2018;   Fall 2017;   Spring 2017;   Fall 2016;   Spring 2016;   Fall 2015;   Spring 2015;   Fall 2014  .