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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Last Message in Tokyo Life

This is the last post in my Tokyo life.

I almost finished taking all classes needed to graduate from TUJ. Though it will take several months to get a master degree officially, I was done what i needed to do.

Maybe, because i felt relieved, i got a cold, and was sick in bed for two days. But I've got better now.

From April, my new life will start as a high school teacher teaching English. I think it is not easy to apply what i learned in TUJ into teaching, but i would like to enjoy overall process including the struggiling within myself and between others.

Thanks to my blog, i could have reflect myself, and reorganize what i learned in Tokyo. I would like to keep on blogging, and i would be happy if this could help you somehow.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

L2 Motivation articles

Oxfor, R. and Shearin, J. (1994). Language learning motivation: Expanding the theoretical framework. The Modern Language Journal 78(1) Spring 12-28
This articles was not for indicating the result of a research, but for displaying overall summary of L2 motivation research. It address components that make us feel difficult to understand L2 motivation issues, and points out necessities to pay our attention to fruits various psychology brings such as psychology, cognitive, and developmental psychology as well as sociological psychology that has had major impact on L2 motivation literature. A variety of theories are also explained in this article beginning from Piaget and Vygotsky.

Dornyei, Z. (1994). Motivation and motivating in the foreign language classroom. The modern language journal 78(3) Autumn, 273-284

This article also summarizes a variety of issues regarding to L2 motivation from integrative/instrumental motivation through extrinsic/intrinsic motivation self-confidence, to self-determination and proximal goal-setting theory, as well as cognitive psychology theory like self-efficacy, attribution, self-confidence, need for achievement theory. Among the explanation, the part about limitation of social and pragmatic dimensions of L2 motivation clearly indicate the nature of L2 motivation. "the exact nature of the social and pragmatic dimensions of L2 motivation is always dependent on who learns what languages where"(p, 275).

He then categorize those complicated issues into three levels, 1) Language Level (social dimension), 2) Learner Level (personal dimension) and 3) Learning Situation Level (educational dimension). He moreover divide the Learning Situation Level into three subcategories, (1) course-specific, 2) teacher-specific and 3) group-specific motivational components. He ends this article with lots of implication teachers can use based on the results of researches that has been conducted.

His articles are always systematic and express his statements simply. It is be case he is smart of course, but maybe partly because English is his L2.

Dorney, Z. (1990) Conceptualizing Motivation in Foreign-Language learning. Language Learning 40(1) 45-78.

In the research conducted in Hungary, he extracted factors as motivating components for Foreign language learning, that is different from those extracted in the context of second language acquisition (learning). He extracted 1) instrumental motivation, 2) integrative motivation, 3) need for achievement, and 4) attributions about past failures. According to him, 2) was divided into four sub components, and 2) is a bit different typical integrative motivation found in second language acquisition (learning ) context. Moreover, he examined correlation between learners' desired proficiency and the factors, and found out learners who desired high proficiency has integrative motivation, wheres learners who desired limited proficiency has instrumental motivation.

This articles not only indicated intriguing results mentioned above, but also precise data and questionnaire, which is helpful for readers.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Memory Retention

Baddeley A (1990) Human memory Language Erlbaum London, 152-158.

Pimsleuer P (1967) Mordern Language Journal 51(2)73-75

Both of two articles indicated the effectiveness of teaching vocabulary with expanding repetition interval. For example, for the words learned to be put hold for a long time, the words should be taught right after the day the words are learned for the first time, but the interval for the next learning and next next learning should be expanded to the point when learner do not forget the word! With this strategy, teachers can have learners retain their words learned for much longer time than they learned words with equal interval.

Though it is difficult to develop the curriculum or syllabus in line with this truth above, I would like to apply this to my teaching in second language learning classrooms.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Assessing Speaking

Tomoyasu Akiyama (2003)Assessing speaking: Issues in school-based assessment and the introduction of speaking tests into the Japanese senior high school entrance examination. JALT journal 25(2) 117-141
This article 1)explores the possibility of speaking test implemented into in-school, and entracnce examination using the framework of "usefullness" (Backman and Palmer 1996). He also 2)collect data about feeling and opinions selandary level teachers in Tokyo have in their mind about speaking tests, and 3)conducted speaking tests toward many students in Tokyo, using a variety of tasks like role-play, speech, description and interview. He then used IRT to examine the item fit and students level fit. This article is maybe expanded version of his article in STEP bulletin, and more interesting because it searches for the possibility of speaking test comprehensively from theoretical aspect like 1) to empirical testing aspect like 3).


Questionnaires I can pass out to students

Recently, I have collected questionnaires I and other teachers can pass out to students to collect data on which we can establish suitable curriculum for our students.

Horwitz E, Horwitz M and Cope J.(1986).Foreign language classroom anxiety. The modern language journal 70(2), 125-132

They came up with scale to measure anxiety in language learning classroom called FLCAS(Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale), arguing anxiety students feel in language learning classroom as "a distinct complex of self-perceptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors related to classroom language learning arising from the uniqueness of the language learning process (p,128)".

Oxford R and Nyikos M. (1989). Variables affecting choices of language learning strategies by university students. The modern language journal 73(3), 291-300
They conducted a large scale of research with 1200 participants in a university in U.S. to examine their strategies using SILL(Strategy Inventory for Language Learning), analzed data with ANOVA and found that several background such as (gender, major, years of study, course status, proficiency, and motivation)have some relationships with SILL score(perhaps mean scores of each Factor extracted from Factor Analysis). For example, female tend to use more strategies than male do, or strategy students use is different dependeing on their major. Though they did not examine the data precisely(for example, they did not analyzed interaction effect of like course status and motivation, the analysis itself is interesting!

Brown, J,D, Gordon, R and Rosenkjar P.(2001). Personality, motivation anxiety, strategies, and language proficiency of Japanese students. In X.Dornyei & R.Schmidt (Eds.), Motivation and second languor acquisition. Honolulu.
They also conducted a large scale of research using a variety of measurement like FLACAS, A/MTB, SILL,Y/G Personality Inventory, Michigan test and Cloze test to homogeneous participants (students in TUJ IELP program).Since i have not learned discriminant function analysis, i could not fully understand the data. But they found that anxiety correlated with social extraversion, and high proficiency in Japanese students. That result is different from that in other countries, but it is consistent with some researches conducted in Japan like (Kimura, Nakata and Okumura 2001 JALT journal, anxiety was extracted as a factor to motivate them in high school students, junior college students and science majoring students ).

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Teaching Vocabulary based on Thematic Topics

Tinkham, T, (1997) The effects of semantic and thematic clustering on the learning of second language vocabulary. Second language research 13(2) 138-163

Nation(2004) summarizes several articles warning teaching semantic related vocabulary in one time. One of importance evidences of it is in this article. He compares test scores between semantic and thematic clustered items, and confirms that semantic related vocabularies takes longer time to get the correct answers than thematic one. In terms of stats, he used sophisticated way to measure the data. He set independent variables, condition4(semantic clusters, thematic clusters, and the like), modality(oral or written), task(recall task or recognition task), form (counterbalanced A form and B form), and order of test students take. And then he set dependent variables, scores of recall test(oral and written) and recognition test (oral and written). So he used MANOVA to calculate the data. Also, He precisely assessed interaction effects of a variety variables mentioned above.

Although i could not fully understand the way of measuring it, it is good to remember what i learned in a stats class. Moreover, it seems to support the rationale for teachers to implement task-based learning, because TBL's syllabus is mainly centered around thematic topics.

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