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LINGUIST List 24.2210

Tue May 28 2013

Confs: Language Acquisition/UK

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

Date: 28-May-2013
From: Jacqueline Harding <j.hardingaston.ac.uk>
Subject: Explorations in Second Language Acquisition and Task-based Teaching and Learning
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Explorations in Second Language Acquisition and Task-based Teaching and Learning
Short Title: SLA & TBL

Date: 26-Jun-2013 - 26-Jun-2013
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom
Contact: Jacquie Harding
Contact Email: < click here to access email >
Meeting URL: http://www1.aston.ac.uk/sla-and-tbl/

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

Meeting Description:

This twilight event consists of three sessions which explore Second Language Acquisition and Task-based Teaching and Learning. The first session is led by Professor Rod Ellis of the University of Auckland and Shanghai International Studies University. He will be followed by Professor Alison Mackey, Georgetown University and Lancaster University and finally by Jane Willis, Honorary Visiting Fellow, Aston University. Places are limited so online registration is essential.

2.45
Registration & welcome

3.00 - 4.00
Distinguished Visitor: Professor Rod Ellis, University of Auckland and Shanghai International Studies University
Teachers researching tasks

Conducting action research is not something that teachers always find easy. Nunan (1990) reported that teachers’ action research proposals tended to be rather grand and unmanageable because they had failed to identify specific research questions. I propose that one practical way in which teachers can research their teaching is by carrying out micro-evaluations of instructional tasks.

In this paper, I report my experience of requiring students enrolled in a course on task-based teaching as part of their MA studies to undertake an evaluation of a task. They were first asked to design their own task in groups. They then planned a micro-evaluation of the task, taught the task and in the process collected data for the evaluation, and finally wrote a report. I use examples of their reports to discuss how they planned their evaluations, the process of conducting the evaluations, and the kinds of findings they came up with. I also examine the utility of such microevaluations as a means of developing teachers’ understanding of task-based teaching.

4.00 - 4.15
Break

4.15 - 5.15
Professor Alison Mackey, Georgetown University and Lancaster University
Second language interaction: Cognitively constructed and socially construed?

In the previous twenty-five years, more than seventy empirical studies of interaction have been carried out in laboratory and classroom settings. Recent meta-analyses of the interaction literature (Keck et al. 2006; Mackey & Goo, 2007) collectively provide empirical support for claims about the developmental efficacy of interaction. The interaction approach is dynamic, with a history of evolving in response to theoretical and methodological developments in SLA and related areas. These developments are both cognitive, for example, in relation to recent research on the relationships amongst working memory, cognitive creativity, noticing/attention, aptitude, and language learning, as well as social, for example, in relation to current investigations of the roles of learners’ conversational partners, peers, and contexts in interaction-driven learning. All of these factors help to explain how and why interaction works to impact learning (and why it sometimes doesn’t). In this presentation, I will first briefly outline some current theoretical claims and the wide range of methodological approaches used in interaction research. I will then show some data from three very different studies, ranging from cognitive to social in orientation. I will conclude with a concise discussion of how this work can be applied to authentic learning contexts.

5.15 - 5.30
Break

5.30 - 7.00
Jane Willis, Honorary Visiting Fellow, Aston University
Workshop: Designing, adapting and researching tasks

The aim of this workshop is to give participants a brief experience of the overall process of task design, implementation and research planning. Participants in small groups will design a set of three or four tasks based on a topic or a text of their choice, making flexible use of a ‘task generator’. After reporting back on their ideas for tasks, each group will choose one task, and I will outline parameters that can be used for adapting tasks and refining task instructions. Groups will then decide how their task could be refined and implemented so as to offer rich language learning opportunities within a typical TBL framework. Finally, drawing on earlier input, we will brainstorm ways in which teachers might research the effects of their refinements of task design on, for example, learner participation and language used.

7.00
Drinks reception



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