Sessions / Location Name: F31
Exploring systematicity of spatial phrasal verb constructions for L2 learners of English #2874
This ongoing study investigates the systematicity and teachability of difficult spatial phrasal verb constructions (PVCs) for second language (L2) learners of English. Cognitive semantic research (e.g., Evans & Tyler, 2005; Mahpeykar, 2014; Shintani, Mori & Ohmori, 2016; Bong, 2019; Tyler, Jan, Mahpeykar, & Tullock, 2020) indicates that systematicity and teachability of PVCs have been a long-term focus of language teachers and applied linguistics, and continues to be of particular interest. For this current study, 41 1st-year university students in an English program in Japan completed a survey eliciting a range of difficult PVC usages. Analysis of the data reveals that correlations of participants’ first language (L1), linguistic complexity, PVC difficulty, prototypical and polysemous categorical properties demonstrate systematic features that can influence the teachability of English PVCs for L2 learners of English. The implications of this research on the systematicity of spatial PVCs could lead to enhanced teachability and thus may have an effect on L2 pedagogical practices.
High-frequency multi-word sequences and learners’ speech rate and listening #2830
The automation of multi-word sequences (MWSs) reduces the cognitive load required for fluent speech (Wood, 2010). However, this poses challenges for L2 learners because considerable phonological reduction occurs in high-frequency MWSs (Bybee, 2002). This study looks at whether attending to reductions during focused listening and speaking practice of the highest-frequency MWSs could help improve students’ spoken fluency and listening perception (accuracy). Over the course of 10 weeks, both a control group (N=17) and an experimental group (N=16) of Japanese L1 English language users studied 10 common bigram collocations each week, while the experimental group additionally studied sets of 10 phonologically reduced high-frequency trigrams. Both groups also described three picture stories that contained the target collocations in class and completed focused listening homework each week. Participants were tested for 1) gains in spoken fluency through both a free speaking and storytelling task and 2) ability to accurately complete a dictation listening task containing target MWSs. This presentation will discuss the study and results, which found a large advantage for the experimental group in spoken storytelling fluency but no statistically significant difference in free speaking fluency and listening perception.
Assessing the validity of essay marking rubrics #2887
As English high school curricula becomes increasingly communication-oriented, it is becoming more necessary to develop university entrance tests which assess students’ ability to produce target language based on communicative goals rather than to translate between languages or select correct answers. A potential problem with these more communication-oriented test questions is they may risk sacrificing reliability for validity; however, the use of rubrics can ensure that both reliability and validity remain high (Jonsson and Svingby, 2007). This presentation looks at the results of a preliminary study to determine if a university entrance exam rubric results in high inter-rater reliability. The study looks at the test scores of three types of markers: 1) those trained to apply the rubric; 2) those who have seen the rubric but have not been trained to apply it; and 3) those who have not seen the rubric. It aims to answer the following questions: Does the rubric achieve a Cohen's kappa value greater than 0.7 for inter-rater reliability 1. between trained markers? 2. between trained and untrained markers? 3. between trained markers and markers who have not seen the rubric?
The findings of this study will interest educators involved in test and assessment design.
Phonological Clustering: A different approach to L2 vocabulary instruction #2870
Traditionally, L2 vocabulary has been taught utilizing a thematically or semantically based approach (Waring, 1997). While this is likely the most practical way of teaching new words to L2 learners, according to a pioneering study by Wilcox and Medina (2013) semantically grouped words were found to have the lowest impact on word retention when compared with other methods of presentation. In contrast with semantically based approaches, phonological clustering is an approach that presents phonologically similar words to learners with the aims of raising their awareness of the shared phonological patterns between words and replicating the conditions in which the mental lexicon integrates new words into existing phonological schema. A major issue regarding the EFL context of English education in Japan is that learners are unlikely to be sufficiently exposed to the phonological patterns of the target language due to the “impoverished context” of the EFL classroom (Best and Tyler, 2007, p. 19). In light of this issue, the aims of this presentation are to discuss phonological theory and its implications for EFL vocabulary instruction and describe how the approach of phonological clustering could be applied to the presentation of materials in order to facilitate word retention and instructional practices.
Facilitating English academic vocabulary learning using fictional graded readers #2715
Given the importance of learning L2 vocabulary in context (Webb, 2008), academic texts would seem to be the most useful way to support learners’ academic vocabulary learning. However, for teachers using word lists such as Coxhead’s (2000) academic word list (AWL), finding authentic materials with sufficient academic vocabulary range and frequency to support course-related academic vocabulary learning can be a challenge. Against this background, the presenter wrote a fictional graded reader series (‘The AWL Readers’) in an attempt to make English academic vocabulary learning more stimulating and (hopefully) more effective for his students.
The AWL Readers follow the adventures (and misadventures) of a fictional university student and her unusual friend, and include all 570 AWL words (with spaced repetition). One of the goals in creating the AWL Readers was to add to recent research which is rethinking the assumption that academic vocabulary learning should primarily be facilitated through reading academic (rather than fictional) texts (Krashen, 2010; McQuillan, 2020).
This presentation will discuss: (1) how and why the AWL Readers were created; (2) the results of our preliminary study into their effectiveness as a vocabulary learning tool; and (3) their possible usefulness in other teaching and learning contexts.
Making it personal: Meaningful vocabulary activities for the ESL classroom #2964
Vocabulary instruction through meaningful input and output is a bedrock of English language learning. Many common resources tend to lack a communicative component - much less any meaningful or memorable ways of instruction - and usually focus on matching or fill-in-the-blank style activities. Making vocabulary meaningful and memorable in the classroom by using activities that tap into a learner’s personal experience not only leads to a more lively and communicative classroom, but may contribute to better retention over time. Research has shown that this type of structured input and output can focus the learner’s attention to target elements of instruction; however, current practice has focused more on grammatical rather than lexical features. The English instructor is paramount in structuring the lexical content in order to create a personal experience for the language learner. This presentation will illustrate this process through a series of ‘personalization activities’ that have been structured to highlight target vocabulary and use it in a meaningful and memorable way. Moreover, tips and suggestions are shared for adapting and modifying existing resources to make them more personal.