2015 MEES Conference Presentation Lineup and Conference Schedule

The following is from the MEES page on Facebook. 

The four poster attachment can be found at that site.

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Hello everyone !

Only a little over a month to go before the 2015 MEES conference ! First off, we want to thank everyone who submitted presentation proposals. There were a lot of great proposal ideas. Cheers!

We are proud to announce a full day’s lineup of six diverse presentations for Sunday, May 31st! Something for everyone! Please check out the full conference schedule below. The lineup is also attached to this post as 4 image files in a flyer format.

Information on our social event for the evening of Saturday 30th, bento lunch orders, and shuttle bus station pick-up / drop-off times will be posted soon!

Conference schedule:

09:00 – 10:00 Registration

10:00 – 10:10 Opening Comments

10:10 – 11:05 Plenary Session
John Campbell-Larsen (Kyoto Women’s University)
‘Teaching the Spoken Language: From Research to Classroom’

11:15 – 11:55 Session 1
James Hobbs (Iwate Medical University)
‘What’s in a Word? – Learning to Decipher English Medical Terms’

12:05 – 12:45 Session 2
Neil Addison (Tokyo Woman’s Christian University) and Neil Conway (Musashino University)
‘Scaffolding Poetry Reading in University EAP Classes’

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 14:40 Session 3
Marc Jones (Waseda Junior High School)
‘The Effects of a Lack of Second Language Acquisition Theory/Research Application in Japanese English Conversation Schools and the Assistant Language Teacher System’

14:50 – 15:30 Session 4
Chutatip Yumitani (Tohoku Fukuchi University and Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University)
‘On Scott Thornbury’s 7 Ways of Looking at Grammar’

15:40 – 16:20 Session 5
Mark de Boer (Iwate University)
‘But We Are Friends!’

16:20 – 16:30 Closing Comments

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Presentation Descriptions:
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Plenary Session (10:10 – 11:05)

John Campbell-Larsen (Kyoto Women’s University)

‘Teaching the Spoken Language: From Research to Classroom’

The written form of the language has long served as the model for students of a second/foreign language. However, with the onset of reliable, portable video and audio recording equipment and powerful computers that can analyze large amounts of data, it has become clear that the spoken form of English differs from the written form in many ways, many of them not immediately accessible to the intuition of native speakers or proficient L2 speakers. Data from the fields of Conversation Analysis and Corpus Linguistics have revealed that the way in which the spoken language is used is not chaotic and ‘degenerate’ as was asserted by the generative model, but deeply orderly and structured. This presentation will outline some of the research findings concerning such items as discourse markers, purposive vagueness, vague category markers, figures of speech, topic management, reported speech and turn structure. The presenter will go on to outline the application of these findings in classroom practice, illustrating with video of student conversations.

John is from Britain and is associate professor of English at Kyoto Women’s University in Japan. He received his MA TESOL from Birmingham University and his research interests are Conversation Analysis, Cross Linguistic Semantics and teaching the spoken language.

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Presentation # 1 (11:15 – 11:55)

James Hobbs (Iwate Medical University)
‘What’s in a Word? – Learning to Decipher English Medical Terms’

All words come from somewhere, and usually their origins are known. For example, my dictionary tells me that the word ‘origin’ itself derives from the Latin ‘oriri’ (‘to rise’). Interesting? For some, perhaps, but clearly such information is neither necessary nor useful for students who just want to know what words mean and how to use them. With English medical terminology, however, things are different, as the meanings of most medical terms are clearly encoded in component parts that students can learn to identify. For example, there is nothing daunting about the word ‘cardiomyopathy’ if you recognize the Greek-derived component parts cardi/o (‘heart’), my/o (‘muscle’), and -pathy (‘disease’). Moreover, many of the roots, suffixes, and prefixes that make up medical terms are encountered very frequently in medical English, making it all the more useful to know them: Just think of how many medical conditions you have come across that ended in ‘-itis’, ‘-osis’, or ‘-algia’. In this presentation I will show how such analysis of words forms the basis of a course in English medical terminology, a field in which linguistics and language education are not just friends, but inseparable soul mates.

James Hobbs is from Britain and has been living and teaching in Iwate since 1991. He holds an MSc in TESOL from Aston University, and has taught in many contexts. He has a wide range of research interests, and has published in areas including language teaching methodology, medical English education, discourse analysis, and Japanese-English translation.

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Presentation # 2 (12:05 – 12:45)

Neil Addison (Tokyo Woman’s Christian University) and Neil Conway (Musashino University)

‘Scaffolding Poetry Reading in University EAP Classes’

This presentation describes a short series of visual media based classes for Japanese university EAP Reading students. The classes sought to introduce the students to 19th Century English poetry and the culture which underpins it by teaching basic concepts from semiotics, lexis and poetics. Literature, poetry in particular, is sometimes used in Reading classes as the material for Intensive Reading activities which focus solely on vocabulary uptake or on demonstrating discrete grammar points, yet this is a limited and somewhat unfulfilling use of great writing. More can be done with L2 readers if they are given some explicit and scaffolded training with a few basic concepts from the fields of linguistics and cultural history. This short study was conducted by two teachers working with students at three universities in its first year, and having achieved positive results, will be run again in 2015. Course information will be presented along with the data resulting from quantitative response data gathered from student pre- and post-course questionnaires.

Neil Addison was born in the U.K and is Associate Professor in the Department of Literature and Culture at Tokyo Women’s University. His research reflects his interest in using literature in the language classroom to improve students` holistic reading skills and critical thinking abilities.

Neil Conway teaches English literature and EAP at universities in Tokyo. He is particularly interested in the use of English poetry in ESL and its many benefits to learners. His other research interests are in assessment and classroom practice.

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Presentation # 3 (14:00 – 14:40)

Marc Jones (Waseda Junior High School)

‘The Effects of a Lack of Second Language Acquisition Theory/Research Application in Japanese English Conversation Schools and the Assistant Language Teacher System’

It is my experience that in Japan’s English conversation schools there is a lack of practice that has any kind of basis in SLA theory and/or research beyond Krashen’s comprehensible input theory and Swain’s output theory. I intend to look at the effects of this situation, and the negative effects, the sum of which is that teachers are unwittingly supplying ineffective lessons and conversation schools are selling ineffective products. My own awareness was raised when beginning to study for the Trinity DipTESOL. It is my belief that this situation is merely the tip of the iceberg. The effects I plan to look at include: explicit, prescriptive grammar curricula which tries to meet the needs of all and satisfies none; ignorance of acquisition stages and the internal notional syllabus; and vocabulary uptake and interference theory. I also put forward potential solutions and probable objections that: training trainers eats into profits and is time consuming; tacking on SLA theory to pre-service qualifications will ensure Japan still has a dearth of teachers with any kind of qualifications, and providing teachers with quality CPD costs money and most teachers and institutions are unwilling to pay for it from their own pockets.

Marc Jones has taught in Japan and the UK. He started teaching in language schools in Japan, taught in primary schools in England, returned to Japan and taught as a substitute ALT and in language schools. He currently teaches at Waseda Junior High School, and at universities and companies as a dispatch teacher. His interests are SLA, pronunciation, listening and task-based language teaching.

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Presentation # 4 (14:50-15:30)

Chutatip Yumitani
(Tohoku Fukuchi University and Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University)

‘On Scott Thornbury’s 7 Ways of Looking at Grammar’

Grammar is a complex phenomenon. Theoretical linguists, as scientists, have looked at it from various angles and have come up with many theories and hypotheses. Are those theories and hypotheses applicable to language teaching? In his 50-minute presentation entitled “7 Ways of Looking at Grammar”, Scott Thornbury looks at seven of those theories and discusses their applicability to language teaching. While each theory offers a different way of looking at grammar, many of them overlap in some ways. The idea of grammar as rules, which is Thornbury’s first way of looking at grammar, is also included in the third way (grammar as mathematics), the fourth way (grammar as algorithms) and the seventh way (grammar as an emergent phenomenon.) The fourth way, grammar as algorithms, can be considered a computer application of the third way. The overlapping indicates that there are some underlying principles that many theories share. Thornbury’s presentation raises the question of how informed language teachers should be about development in theoretical linguistics and its areas of application besides language teaching. This presentation argues that teachers should know as much as possible although it may not be easy. The question of whether or not what they know is applicable in the classroom is another matter.

Chutatip Yumitani received B.A. (English and French) and M.A. (English) from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and M.A. (Formal/Computational Linguistics) and Ph. D. (Linguistics/First Language Acquisition) from University of Kansas, U.S.A. She has taught at universities in Thailand and at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu. She is currently teaching at Tohoku Fukushi University and Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University in Sendai.

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Presentation # 5 (15:40-16:20)

Mark de Boer (Iwate University)

‘But We Are Friends!’

In this talk, the presenter will discuss how linguistics is a large part of language education. To begin, the presenter will clearly define both sides of the question; what is linguistics and what is language education. He will then discuss the differences between syllabus types, and the predominant way of teaching language in Japan both in the classroom and in ‘Eikaiwa schools’. From there, he will look at the theories of first and second language acquisition, artificial grammars, implicit, explicit, inductive and deductive learning, the communicative side of language education, and communication strategies. He will then define what the goals of language education should be. The results will clearly provide a solid answer to the question ‘Why can’t we be friends?’.

Mark de Boer is an Academic Researcher and ICT content specialist at Iwate University. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Birmingham and his research is based on the sociocultural theory and the
process of learning through mediation. On a personal note he is a semi-professional cellist and performs regularly around Iwate.

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About jasohill

Teacher in Japan and landscape photographer.
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