Sessions / Learner Development
This presentation will introduce letter writing as a way to improve students’ motivation in their language learning by having them set goals that they determine. Goal-setting is an approach to develop learner autonomy in the classroom. Learner autonomy is important because students need to have a sense of control in their language learning (Benson, 2011). The presenter will share the process of using letter writing in lessons. The study gathered data from approximately 80 surveys distributed at the middle and end of term during one semester from three different classes at a Liberal Arts university. The first was a mandatory English presentation class for first-year advanced intercultural communication students. The second was an elective cross-cultural communications class for second- to fourth-year students from various faculties. The third was an elective English discussion and meeting class also for second- to fourth-year students from various faculties. The strengths and limitations of the study based on current literature and student responses will be discussed. Finally, the presenter will offer suggestions for potential ways that participants can use this activity in English classes with learners who have varying levels of proficiencies in different educational settings.
It is through self-reflection that individuals are able to understand themselves, their context, and make sense of the connections. For students, self-reflection is a valuable tool in becoming more effective language learners, since those who are able to self-reflect have been shown to have a greater capacity for self-organising their behaviours than those who lack the ability (Deci & Ryan, 2000, Ryan & Deci, 2017 ). This presentation will argue for the need for more scaffolded self-reflective teaching practices based on the literature, and provide three mini-case studies on how self-reflection can be implemented in university settings. The first of these mini-case studies outlines materials developed for a reflective workshop conducted with 200+ sophomore students. The second will explore how written reflections when revisited with a critical eye, result in deeper, more critical reflective reports. The final case-study will provide insight into how group discussions can help build supportive classrooms and raise self-awareness. Each of these mini-case studies will demonstrate how student self-reflections elicited clearer goals and encouraged focused learning behaviours. The presentation will conclude with a call for audience participation to share the role of student self-reflection in their own classrooms.
In this poster presentation, a vocabulary learning strategies course which develops student autonomy is described. The course is structured using an iterative approach to engage students in creating, evaluating, and revising individual learning plans based upon personal needs analysis. These plans are appraised and reformulated as students gradually discover more about vocabulary learning strategies. The course culminates in two projects; one in which learners in pairs create authentic texts to demonstrate their ability to use vocabulary in context, and the other, in which they teach vocabulary learning strategies to a class of their peers. The presentation will not only explain the design and contents of the course, but also subsequent changes to the course going into its second year.
The ability to create compelling narratives that inspire and promote cooperation is one of the most powerful tools humans possess. It is what makes us unique, allowing us to innovate, learn, survive and flourish. (Noah Yuval Harari, 2015). Storytelling is one of the fundamental elements of communication and learning. We are naturally able to process and apply stories to every aspect of our lives. Storytelling is an effective way to connect many people, allowing us to learn from things we have never experienced. Apart from knowledge and training, teachers possess their own personal and professional experiences or stories, applying these to language learning is of tremendous value to students. Everyone has a story to tell. Presenters will demonstrate how simple, concrete, and comprehensible narratives, critical incidents or experiences can be constructed and shared to help learners develop a deeper understanding of abstract and ambiguous aspects of language and culture. In conclusion, presenters will also discuss how a simple narrative framework can be applied to creating, teaching, or learning from stories. Examples, ranging from children’s books and popular films to keynote presentations and influential speeches, will show how good stories connect, motivate and inspire.
In this practical presentation, the presenter will describe how Active Learning was introduced into a tertiary 1st and 2nd-year self-directed research and discussion course that centered on examining various global, political, and social issues. In the course, students worked individually on two research projects that were each completed over a 5-week period. After each period of research, students presented their findings to small groups in the form of a 12-15 minute presentation that included time for discussion. The presenter will describe how they scaffolded and facilitated the research process from the brainstorming to the presenting stage. In doing so, they will explain how research skills such as brainstorming, note-taking, and questioning were introduced to the students. As the presenter demonstrates each, he will provide examples and give advice that can be applied and adapted to other classrooms. In closing, the presenter will share some of the student reflections he collected at the end of the course.
This presentation addresses the facilitation of students' using a devoted English speaking area within a multilingual self-access center (SAC) at a private Japanese university. When the current SAC facility opened, the need for L2 social interaction became apparent, prompting the creation of the speaking area. Observation and previous research indicated, however, that further support for increasing English use was needed. Therefore, interventions to promote student L2 interaction were held; these included regular events for speaking practice or collaborative learning led by SAC student staff, with support from SAC faculty (the presenters). The presenters are conducting ongoing research on these events, focusing on reflection by learners and student staff on effective support and environments for L2 speaking, as well as beliefs about their own language use. Initial findings, based on qualitative data from an online post-event questionnaire and subsequent interviews, are presented, along with their implications for learners’ autonomous language use outside of class. The presenters also share their reflections on their support of learners and the potential effects on both event participants and leaders. Finally, practical suggestions are provided for practitioners interested in nurturing L2 use beyond the classroom, fostering students’ agency in supporting peers, and keeping such support sustainable.
Teacher-student conferences (TSC) about essay writing can help students to raise their awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and revise their essays. However, few studies on the effect on learner autonomy (LA) to develop their writing skills have been conducted in Japan. Therefore, the present study aims to explore the influences of TSC on LA and students’ writing strategy use. An illustrative case study was administered with six 2nd-year university students in central Japan for 3 months. For this, data was collected through classroom observation notes, interviews, and the target students' learning logs. Using inductive thematic analysis, the researcher coded the data and categorized it into three groups: the use of secondary references, the use of a grammar reference book, and collaborative writing activities. Data illustrated that students still needed the teacher to judge whether their writing strategies were appropriate; however, the more actively students were engaged in conferences, the more revisions they conducted while utilising more writing strategies. Therefore, this study attests to the claim that teachers and students can collaboratively explore ways for students to revise their papers by themselves (Hirvela & Belcher, 2018). Accordingly, TSC will contribute to writing instructions and LA in EFL tertiary educational contexts.
Recently active learning has become a buzzword in education in Japan. This interactive forum will open with a discussion questioning what active learning can add to the EFL classroom. Next, it will describe a self-directed student research project--based on concepts of active learning--in which students researched and presented on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The forum will end with a workshop showing how to apply Mind, Brain, and Education Science to active learning. This will introduce 7 neuro-ELT practices adaptable for materials and coursebooks to engage learners and guide active learning across a range of language skills. Throughout, participants are invited to question and discuss the ideas presented.
This interactive presentation is based on the research into Mind, Brain, and Education Science (MBE) by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa (2010a, 2010b, 2014). At the intersection of neuroscience, education, and psychology, MBE presents a scientifically-grounded approach for improved teaching and learning. Drawing from what is known about the brain while also debunking neuromyths, this workshop introduces 7 neuro-ELT practices adaptable for materials and coursebooks to engage learners and guide active learning across a range of language skills.
This presentation will report on how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) can be incorporated into the classroom. Over the course of 5 weeks students selected a SDG as the focus for a self-directed research project. Each week they researched their SDG and made 2 pages of notes and shared these notes in class. At the end of the project cycle each student formally presented their findings and lead a discussion on the SDG. After their presentation they reflected on the development of their content knowledge and language skills.