22nd Summer Workshop at Kusatsu
Theme: Theory and Practice of L2 Teaching
Dates: August 21(Sat)-22nd (Sun), 2010
Place: Kusatsu Seminar House
This year featured Professor David Newby, from Graz University in Austria. In his first lecture, Newby presented the European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages (EPOSTL). This teacher training tool helps future language teachers assess and reflect on their progress using 195 distinct can-do statements. Newby co-created EPOSTL as an extension of independent learning principles set forth by the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) and the European Language Portfolio (ELP). Gunma Chapter’s July meeting focused on CEFR, and the member’s familiarity with the subject enabled an interesting and lively discussion. Copies of EPOSTL in various languages are available at http://epostl2.ecml.at/
Newby’s second presentation Cognitive + Communicative Grammar addressed some perceived problems integrating grammar education into the communicative classroom. Newby criticized recent trends in communicative teaching which either treat grammar as an afterthought, or disregard explicit grammar education completely. Newby's proposed solution is to focus student attention on language functions, which he terms notions. By focusing on concrete notions instead of abstract grammatical forms, students can concentrate on using those forms to express their own ideas in real situations. Lastly, Newby gave examples of communicative class activities that utilize a notional view of grammar. Descriptions of these activities can be found in Newby’s lecture notes, available for download at the bottom of this page.
Not to be outdone, five Gunma JALT members and guests gave presentations on various projects and research they have completed this year.
http://www.criticallyminded.com/ and information regarding the SIG can be found at http://jaltct.wordpress.com/ or search Facebook for “JALT Critical Thinking SIG”.
Fergus O’Dwyer spoke about Can-do Statements in Language Education in Japan. O’Dwyer showed that by using can-do statements in self-assessment students can more easily identify learning targets and monitor their progress. While the aforementioned CEFR and ELP contain can-do statements, O’Dwyer warned against using these statements without first adapting them to a student’sindividual language learning situation. O’Dwyer’s main reference material, Can-do Statements in Language Education in Japan and Beyond can be downloaded via the JALT Framework and Language Portfolio SIG website http://tinyurl.com/CDSLEJB.
Atsushi Iida and Asuka Iijima gave a presentation about the Use of Haiku in Japanese Classrooms; Theory to Practice. Iijima started by giving the findings of her literature review on the benefits of using literature translated from the student’s L1 to the target language. Among the benefits she presented was that students are able to use well-known cultural references as scaffolding to aid comprehension. Iida then showed how the creation and interpretation of haiku had been a useful part of his ESL classes. The short form haiku necessitates brevity from the writer, which in turn lends itself to numerous different interpretations from the reader.