Toru's TESOL Life

My Reflective Thought on TESOL-related Lecture,Books,and Articles. Also, Useful Information Links. This blog stops posting new articles now. My current blog is as follows. This blog is mainly on thought about my teaching days and private life.

Monday, January 29, 2007

EIKEN(STEP) Research

I browsed several articles from STEP site. They give me a useful hints for me to find out some interesting topics to implement in secondary level.

The first interesting topic is about Vocabulary. Research about analyzing learners' corpus, and comparing words of textbooks and NRT test such as Center Test, EIKEN, TOEIC, and TOEFL, is what i am now interested in. Dr.Tono's site seems insightful, and Center Test soft data is available here.

The second one is about Reading. Though reading is primal area high school teacher teach, empirical testing about reading seems hard. Some articles from this Eiken Research did not give me reliable info becausae of many many variables they could not control. But WPM(Word Per Minute) and ER(Extensive Reading) is one of what i would like to try and research in high school context.

The third one is about Motivation. At first until recently, i thought motivation is peripheral area for language learning/teaching, and this area is not what language teacher focuse on to research, but it turnds out this area is interesting in terms of first, testing/researching to make a construct of target students motivation, and second, how the result obtained can be applicable to actual teaching. For example Dr.Hiromori's article provides me with hints about the relationships between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. He reevaluate the importance of extrinsic motivation, which is just what i have thought for a long time. His research satisfy both the two needs on motivation research i said above.

The last one is about evaluation/testing. Dr.Yamamori's research about evaluation using Genenarizability Theory is really insightful for me. Generalizability seems to be useful for evaluation of writing activity as we can see at Mr.Yamanishi's article and Ms.Okubo's article.

I would like to keep those interesting topics in mind when teaching English, and adjust those topics into my teaching contexts to come up with helpful research ideas both for me and other researchers/teachers.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Passed the Graduation Test!

I reveived the letter saying I passed the Graduation Test called Comps(Comprehensive exams)! Thank you for everyone! Though i already have said thank you to several people in real world, and mixi, i would like to express my gratitude to all who see my blog in the world! I would like to keep writing my blog, because i have noticed that this blog eoucourges me to organize my idea in interaction with various people in the world. Thank you again.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Psycholinguistic Conditions for L2 Vocabulary Learning

I read chapter 2 and 3 of Nation(2001) yesterday and today. 90pages long are all about vocabulary obviously. I could not concentrate on just vocabulary! But it turns out the vocabulary contains various topics.

Psycholinguistic Conditions where L2 vocabulary learning is likely to occur is one of the topics. These are noticing, retrieval, and generative/creative use. Psycholinguists, or Psychology is beyond my understanding, because it is assured by empirical testing, and the conceptions cannot be out of metaphor. It is inevitable, because we cannot see directly how our brains go on! Metaphor and testing can explain the phenomena, but it cannot account for everything i think. How do you think of it?

But, it does not mean these disciplines are meaningless, rather useful and helpful for teachers to gives clues for better language teaching.

Nation(2001) refers to effectiveness of L1 translation for the target L2 vocabulary. It is a bit surprising for me because i have learned language are better learned in contexts and from exposure than translation in many classes at this grad school. Dr. Nation argues teachability hypothesis may not be applied to vocabulary learning.
Moreover, he discuss, when L1 translation for the L2 vocabulary is restricted within one strand of vocabulary teaching design (consisting of Meaning focus input, Language focused learning, Meaning focused output, and Frequency development. it means it is restricted in Language focused learning), and when the vocabularies are high-frequency or important words in running texts, L1 translation is helpful for learners. That is really interesting point!


Monday, January 22, 2007

Word Frequency

I am now taking a Vocabulary Course in a grad school. The book and teacher from which i am now learning is a famous professor, Paul Nation as i said before in this blog. He and

the book he wrote refered to AWL(Academic Word List) Dr. Coxhead made. Today, i copied and paste the lit review about L2 motivation, into WFTP(Word Frequency Text Profiler), and found out AWL cover more than 20% of all texts and high frequency word are only about 30%. It reveals that the texts i wrote is highly academic one most of people cannot understand. Lit review is especially dense in terms of technical words hard to understand for many people. I don't know whether it is good or bad...

WFTP will be useful when i restart teaching in high schools because materials like textbooks, grammar books, supplimentary notes students use can be analyzed in terms of vocabulary once i copy and paste the texts on them, and change those materials to more tuned one to my target learners.

This is
the site Professor Paul recommends. The site is made by Dr. Cobb, and contains a lot of useful information we teachers can use!


L2 motivation in EFL environment

I have been reading several articles about L2 motivation to write short lit review on my paper. Though Dr. Gardner points out integrative motivation as essential component toward L2 learning, Dr. Dornyei argues elements making up of integrative motivation is a bit different from that in ESL environment. Dornyei comments the existence of sort of instrumental orientation generating strong motivation toward L2 learning, but he also asserts that these strong orientation in EFL environment like in Hungary is socially and culturally contextualized. Moreover, he refers to imporance of group dynamics as a factor to help students enthusiastically learn L2 in EFL countries, which encourage us teachers to motivatingly teach English as a foreign language like in Japan.

Motivation researches are hard for me because of many usage of statistical techniques. But it helps me to remember what i learned in stats class in grad school.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Writing on Web

It has been popular in Writing instruction to help students to write on web.

The two articles i read today focus on relationships between Computer technology and writing. Writing is a intriguing topic, because it insightfully gives us not only inspiration about language but also implication we could use in daily-based writing instruction.

Especially topics researching students behavior and thinking online using for example, chat space, SNS, e-mail, and the like reminds me of how we yonger ages (of course including me!) have developed our own writing fluency, and i believe these reflection on ourselves help me develop effective strategies to instruct writing skills effectively for my target students.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back to Work- Vocabulary /Motivation/ Writing

Back to work.
Though i was feeling relaxed too much after a graduation test, i back to work these days.

Thanks for starting a class on Vocabulary, i begin to read some articles in a reading packet.
1) the vocabulary size for effective conversation in English is a bit larger (3000) than was expected before(2000), 2)Technical vocabulary is not just in vocabulary in Academic Word List or low-frequency vocabulary, but is hidden even in high-frequency vocabulary. 3) Validity and reliability of Nation's Vocabulary Level Test is successfuly confirmed using various stats. Three articles are all include not only professional and academic skills and knowlege to explore, but some implication teachers can elicit.

I woud like to add some lit review about L2 motivation to my body parts of the reseach paper i finished. Though it is hard to take steps to download various articles ( i'm in the middle of accessing the service TUJ offers), i begin to read some articles about L2 motivation. But i cannot see now how the lit review directly connect to "purpose of research" section in my paper. hahaha.

I would like to contribute to a presentation that would be given at Writing Symposium held in Japan this fall. So i begin to read some articles about writing and computer. Though it is tough to read something most of which is new to me, i would deal with it hoping it would be smoother to do that.

The three things will make up of my life academically until i go back to Hokkaido. I'll do my best.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Passon or Addiction ?

You Are 56% Addicted to the Internet
You're somewhat addicted to the internet - but who isn't?You can keep it under check, and you're by no means a hermit.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dr. Yasuko Kanno

I participated in Distinguished lecture at TUJ today by Dr. Yasuko Kanno just for Open Hour. She talked about bilingualism. Although what she talked is mainly what i have leaner at this master program, the case studies she have researched are intesting. One of the school is perhaps in the town i visited for my research paper when i was undergraduate program. What she talked about is related to sociology which was my major then, so her lecture was really fascinating!

When i asked a question about whether or not there is an effective metaphor to account for a BICS in learner's brain like Cummins' Iceberg metaphor, she answerd that the two language's surface features are BICS. Does it mean there is not any concept to represent that words and phrases categorized as BICS? I think there is a concept underlying the words and phrases, but not so intetwined with each other like CALP. When there is some more effective picture successfuly describe the picture of BICS, it surely help us teachers to develop learner's BICS.
Because developing students' BICS is much much harder than improving their CALP, i think.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Professsor Paul Nation

The last class for me have finaly begun! This class is the 10th course for me, and finishing this class with some grade means i can graduate from this program, Temple Univ Master Program! And unfortunately, the last class is taught by professor, Paul Nation. He is now in his subbatical leave and staying in Japan in this spring semester, teaching vocabulary in master and doctoral course at Temple. Like Dr. Brown, J.D, he talks a lot! Also like him, the lecture is full with humor, but basically systematic based on concept of what he had planned to teach, i felt. I had lots of exposure with really sophisticate English, which had me feel laxurious! Though i cannot attend the last classes held in April because i have to go back to Hokkaido to restart teaching, i would enjoy the course as much as possible as my last course.

There are several things to do before i go back to Hokkaido.
1) Attend his classes and fullful the requirements to be assessed well.
2) Make a schedule to for me to submit presentations and articles in 2007.
3) Make my two course papers (about Motivation, and about Test scores) be more sophisticated and native-checked
4) Make research plans to be operated when i restart teaching from April.

Okay, i would do my best!


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Graduation Test

I took a graduation test yesterday. Though the every test item i thought would be on a test was not on it, i basically wrote well. I felt relieved after that. I went to Monja restaurant with my classmates for New Years Party to share the relief of finishing the test, and gratidude for our cooperation with each other until now. Left picture is the original beer in Tsukishima area, and right one is prosperous street in Tsukishima with tonz of Monja restaurants.


Happy New Year

1/1~1/3 I had wonderful time with my family. I am given much energy to restart my teaching career at Hokkaido from April. Thanks for them, I could grow up and keep on living in 2007. I cannot stop having gratitude toward people supporting me. The weather have been shiny, so I can clearly see Hidaka mountains and Daisetsuzan Mountains from home.

1/4~1/5 I did a final check test items that will be on the graduation test. I went to a Pa
sta restaurant i often went when i was living in this city.


Star Wars

I cleaned living room of our family house today, and watched “Star Wars Episode 3” after that. I was really surprised to see the scene and scenery of space, city, stars, and characters. It really inspired me a lot and makes me think of how it is to live in such a world. As Episode 2, it told me a lot of lesson about how well to live, using the concept of “Force”.
1) To be modest.
2) To differentiate what is good and what is bad.
3) We can sense the differentiation of the two hearing our inner voice.
4) We can focus on other interests not only our interests.
5) We can stop admiring power too much. Power is to aid the aspect of the goods.
6) We can let situation go. We should not focus on loss of our important things too much, because fear of loss connects to our dark side.
7) We can stop increasing our angers, because it also connects to our dark side.
The film helped me to have a clear vision of connection between inner-self and real
world. I would like to live while sensing our situation in my heart, and the connection next year.


Movies and a book...indoor day!

12/30 I watched two movies, “Star Wars Episode 2” and “National Treasure”, and finished reading a book called “Mono-Kuu Hitobito” meaning people eating something around the world. I went outside to borrow the two movies. Though outside is incredibly cold, I feel it somehow comfortable. The movies was entertaining, I enjoyed the screen with highly developed technique, and exciting story. The book I read was on food and various topics around eating around the world. The content was much more than exciting and insightful than I had expected. The book give me an important fact that all of us keep on eating whether or not we enjoy it, and various topics around our lives are directly connected with the action of eating itself. Though it was published 12 years ago, and the social political situation was a bit different from that now, it told me significant truth.


Drink with my friend

12/29 I went for some drink with my previous colleague in the center of my hometown. Though daytime is quiet in the middle of my hometown, the night time is full with lots of people. I hope the place is in prosper with various kind of people at both of day and night time. The colleague, he is also my great friend, have not changed in a good way. He is a music teacher, and have wide and deep perspective, and highly cultural person. He is also kind and calm, so popular from all students. My sister joined the drink, and had a enjoyable time. I hope we keep in touch with each other for our future, because I feel our relationship has great possibility to do something contributable to community and society.


Reflect myself in 2006 and and set goals in 2007

12/28 Today is not rainy, though I don’t know exactly what it is because I have stayed all day home. I spent a lot of time to reflect myself and what happened around myself during this year, and set a kind of agenda about what I should do next year in terms of myself, working, and family. It is my custom to do that at the end of a year. It is meaningful time to organize my past and future before the dawn of a new year.


Preparation for the graduation test

12/27 Today, it is rainy. It already has snowed here, so rain change the snow on road into ice! It means road become really slippery. The car and people have difficulty to walk smoothly. After studying TESOL-related stuff, I went to my favorite ramen shop I often went when I worked around here, but it was closed today. So I went to my favorite curry shop I keep on going from my childhood. The taste was satisfying, because the taste is just the same as that I ate before.




I went to new library in my hometown built up this year. It has good design, sophisticated facility, and inspiring books including authors born or lived here. The study room is so quiet that I was able to concentrate on preparation for the graduation test. Outside the building was incredibly cold! I felt somewhat hurt from the cold air!


Three books

I have several days off in Hokkaido, so I bought a few books other than TESOL -related ones. Though I have to prepare for graduation test, I would like to spend meaningful life reading some books.

First book I read is Japanese authors book Akihiko Nishiyama. He told me useful and inspiring stuff about self-help, and how to be more productive.

Second book I read is by Takashi Saito. He focuses on productive skills like writing and speaking to make a professional, and reflective cycle as a human, and Saito focus on setting a vision in the beginning and revising it flexible dealing with trouble happened during the process to realize the objectives. There are lots of parts I could apply for my own life but also students’ life.

The third book I read is Katsuhiko Chika. He referred to Web.2.0 era, and analyze the possibility of blog and Social Networking Service, in terms of economics, sociology, and networking theory. He emphasizes the importance of “Weak relation” through which each member connected by strong relationships are inspired to hit upon some idea. Through blog, and SNS, each writer have big possibility to relate to “corrector” whose network is much more than other members, and to let other know about the writer themselves through the weak relationships.

Writing has been considered as a skill for discourse and grammatical competence are needed, but it has been turned out that writing is also essential skill for interaction, and conversation in Web.2.0 era.The three books are not directly connected to TESOL field, but each as really inspiring for me to deepen my insight about TESOL.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I flew back to Hokkaido! I directly came back to my hometown. The scenery is totally different from that in Tokyo, lots of trees, fields, wide roads, and snow. After putting baggage in my sleeping, I discussed various things with my father in living room, from our favorite authors to world economics. My father is always really inspiring because he knows a lot. Form my childhood, he tell me various things happened in world wide, and let me love books. Thanks to him, I like reading books and learning English through reading.