Study Abroad College and University Education Practice-Oriented Short Workshop
Reverse Engineered: Modeling cross-cultural pragmatics with TOEFL iBT tasks
The TOEFL iBT test is designed to measure the likelihood of academic success in English-medium universities attended by non-native English speakers. In order to do well on the test, an understanding of academic vocabulary is important, but so too is a grasp of non-academic vocabulary that is useful in student life. This “college knowledge” is tested in the listening and speaking sections of the TOEFL iBT. Test-takers are asked to demonstrate their understanding of conversations between students and professors, students and university staff such as a librarian, registrar, or academic advisor, and conversations among students. By utilizing TOEFL iBT practice materials and their accompanying scripts, these texts can be reverse engineered to model , instruct, and improve our students’ lexical and cross-cultural pragmatic awareness. This workshop will demonstrate how materials can be exploited to build up useful vocabulary for study abroad (dorm, GPA, transcript, etc.), improve situational awareness through reading, listening, and role-play, and ultimately build up students’ confidence so that they have a degree of “college knowledge” before they set foot on a campus far from home.
Zach Kelly is currently a visiting faculty member at Asia Univerity and an academic English skills instructor at Hitotsubashi University and Temple University Japan. Prior to Japan, Zach taught academic English in Mexico, Los Angeles and New York where he was an instructor and curriculum developer for City University of New York (CUNY) for a number of years. In 2007 Zach co-founded a face-to-face and online TOEFL iBT training program, Test Success NYC. Zach has a passion for immigrant advocacy and has worked with Emerald Isle Immigration Center in New York and Koganei International Support Services Association (KISSA) in Japan. Zach's recent presentations and publications have been about the TOEFL iBT, leveraging technology in education, scaffolding writing tasks, and negotiated syllabi.