LTS

Language Teaching Specialization Blog Site at the University of Oregon

April 10, 2017
by LTSblog
0 comments

Faculty Post Keli Yerian

InterCom is a weekly customizable newsletter provided free to Language Educators through CASLS. LTS students, alumni, and faculty often contribute to it. This week LTS Director Keli Yerian has contributed to InterCom, and it is reposted here. Subscribe to InterCom here! http://caslsintercom.uoregon.edu/

Connecting Input and Output through Interaction

Keli Yerian directs the Language Teaching Specialization program at the University of Oregon. Her research interests are in language and interaction, most specifically in the use of gesture in both L1 and L2 speakers, as well as language teacher education, including the goals and experiences of L2 speakers in language teacher education programs.

Peek inside one language classroom. Here we see students using actions and brief responses to show they are following the teacher’s story. Peek inside another. Here we see students repeating after the teacher to show they can accurately (re)produce the target sounds and structures.

In the first classroom, the teacher is using comprehension-based instruction, with a focus on helping students acquire language through carefully structured input. In the second classroom, the teacher is using production-based instruction, with a focus on helping students acquire language through repeated spoken practice.

What do these classrooms have in common?

If these two classrooms always look like this, every day, all year, we might say the common point is that they both tip dangerously to only one side of the spectrum of teacher beliefs and practices regarding instructed language learning. On one end of the spectrum is the belief that language acquisition requires the exclusive ingredient of comprehensible input. Indeed, comprehension-based instruction is strongly supported by some research (e.g. following Van Patten, 2007) that shows that structured input (input that compels learners to focus on form in order to access meaning) can lead to improved proficiency not only in comprehension but in production as well.

On the other end of the spectrum is the claim that a skill will only be acquired if it is directly practiced multiple times (see DeKeyser, 2007). While the direct practice claim has been less supported by research, studies do show that language acquisition may remain incomplete without the opportunity to ‘notice the gap’ between one’s own production and the target forms. Importantly, this benefit appears only when production involves meaningful exchanges that allow for the noticing and mediation of forms (e.g. see Swain, 2000).

From this perspective, what both classrooms may be missing is the key element of meaningful interaction. Many current scholars argue that interaction connects the dots between the essential benefits of comprehensible input and the visible advantages of “pushed output.”

However, it is never a good idea to judge a language classroom from just a moment of peeking in. A good language classroom will reveal, over time, a rich range of coherent practices, and include varied opportunities for learners to process authentic and structured input, meet the challenge of crafting output, and negotiate meaning with peers, texts, the teacher, and the wider community.

Maybe, if we peeked into these same classrooms some minutes later, or on another day, we would see something else entirely. A peek into the first may reveal students producing posters to present to their peers, and a peek into the second may show students immersed in extensive reading groups. In this case, our answer to the question above is turned on its head: what both classrooms have in common is the commitment to providing students with a full range of input, interaction, and output – all key ingredients for a ‘balanced meal’ in instructed language learning.

References
DeKeyser, R. (2007). Practice in a Second Language: Perspectives from Applied Linguistics and Cognitive Psychology. New York, Cambridge University Press.
Swain M.  (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: mediating acquisition through collaborative learning. In H. Byrnes (ed.) Advanced Language Learning: The Contributions of Halliday and Vygotsky. London: Continuum.
Van Patten, B. (2007). Input processing in adult second language acquisition. In B. VanPatten and J. Williams (eds.) Theories in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 115-35). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Citation for InterCom:
Yerian, K. (2017, April 10). Connecting Input and Output through Interaction. CASLS InterCom. Available from http://caslsintercom.uoregon.edu/content/searchContent

February 15, 2017
by gkm
0 comments

Student Spotlight – Becky Lawrence

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m originally from Louisiana, but I’ve lived about half of my life in Oregon. I’m definitely a fan of the cold and rain over the heat! I received my bachelor’s from Western Oregon University where I double majored in English Linguistics with TEFL certification, and Spanish Linguistics. In my spare time, I love spending time with my 5-year-old daughter, watching anime, singing, and writing.

Tell us about the work you do in the LTS program and at the University of Oregon in general. What kind of internships have you done?

I began the LTS program in Summer 2015 and although I had planned to graduate in one year and begin teaching immediately, I decided to take two years to complete the program instead so that I could take advantage of the many opportunities the LTS program has to offer.

During my time in LTS, I have done internships at CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies), AEI (American English Institute), LCC (Lane Community College), and an internship abroad at TIU (Tokyo International University). I’ve also worked at AEI as a Conversation Partner/Help Desk Tutor and Activities Lead, CAPS (Center for Asian and Pacific Studies) as an English Tutor for the Shanghai Xian Dai architect exchange program, Mills International Center as the English Conversation Circle Lead, and CASLS as a Spanish Assessment Rater. There are so many opportunities to gain experience in both campus jobs and internships that really help to grow your CV!

I’ve also taken advantage of the many professional development opportunities present for LTS students. I presented my project research at the 2016 UO Grad Forum, which gave me the chance to present my work in a professional setting in front of other graduate students and faculty from departments across the university. I hope to present again this year as well because it was such a great experience. I also got the chance to present my research in an AEI Professional Development Friday poster session for AEI faculty. Outside of the university, I will be presenting at two big conferences. In March, I will present at the 2017 International TESOL Convention in the Electronic Village in Seattle, WA, and in June, I will present at the 2017 IALLT (International Association for Language Learning Technology) in Moorhead, MN.

Since you’re on the two-year plan, you’ve had a head start on your MA project. Would you tell us a bit about that?

When I first entered the LTS program, I had no idea what I wanted to do for my MA project. I’ve always been interested in creative writing, and I write fiction as a hobby, but I didn’t think that it would be something I could focus on. I thought that I should focus on something more typical like grammar or pronunciation; however, I was wrong! That’s one of the great things about LTS. You can really tailor your MA project to focus on what you’re passionate about, so long as there’s a need and a relevant connection to language teaching. For me, creative writing is a way to express yourself, create new worlds and characters that you wish existed, or to escape from reality every once in a while. So, I decided to focus on designing a creative writing English course. However, after doing a few internships at CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies) where much of the focus is on the intersection between gaming and language learning, I was inspired to design a creative writing course where students create a playable narrative-based game using ARIS, an open-source platform for creating mobile games and interactive stories. The focus of my project is on multi-literacies development using ARIS in a creative writing classroom. I’m really excited to hopefully teach this course in the future.

November 23, 2016
by gkm
0 comments

Student Spotlight: Dan White

10609432_10206962125785413_1985016490970727243_nTell us about yourself. Where are you from? Where have you worked? Any hobbies?

My name is Dan White, and I was born and raised in Portland, OR, USA. I definitely fall under the “nontraditional student” category. Out of high school, I worked random customer service jobs, until, one day I realized I was not living up to my potential. I decided, on a whim, to join the military. I joined the US Army as an ammunition specialist and shipped off to basic training in 2006. The Army had me all over the US as well as spending a year in Korea and nine months in Iraq. I finished my contract with the Army and started school at the University of Oregon in 2010. I received my BA in Linguistics in 2013.

I had applied for the LTS program for the fall of 2013, but I decided to pursue some work experience by heading off to Korea to teach English. This was my second stint in Korea, but my first was spent with the U.S. Army, so I did not really get a chance to fully enjoy my time. The second time, I focused on learning the language and culture and truly experiencing every part of Korea. I made lifelong friends, and started a new hobby that is now a major part of my life: solving Rubik’s Cubes competitively.   I started learning as a way to pass time, but I soon realized that I had an aptitude and passion for these puzzles. I incorporated them into my English classroom, and I used my after-school classes (where the curriculum was entirely up to me) to teach Rubik’s Cubes to my students. I used English to teach them how to solve the puzzle. This has become a vital part of my teaching methodology. I truly believe the best way to learn a language is not to focus on the language itself, but to focus on completing a task that is of particular interest to you. Then you are not learning the language simply to learn it, you are learning an entirely new skill and the language is simply the medium you are using to acquire that skill.

After three years in Korea, I recently came back to the United States in September of 2016, and I started in the LTS program in the Fall of 2016. I am still adapting to living in the United States again, and I am very excited to continue pursuing my education. I love teaching, and I want to do everything I can to become the best language teacher that I can.

You had an internship opportunity to work with students from Saint Gabriel’s College in Bangkok, Thailand. What was that like?

I had a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of high school students from Thailand. I could immediately tell that they were very special. I taught them over the course of two weeks. Rather than focusing on language courses, I taught them cultural courses. I had a lesson on comedy and a lesson on expectations vs. reality. Their trip culminated in a presentation to LTS students in Dr. Trish Pashby’s “Teaching Culture and Literature” class. Prior to the actual presentation, we had a practice presentation. The students did well, but I gave them a lot of feedback. Their English was fine, but they needed to work on their presentation skills. They primarily lacked in smooth transitions from speaker to speaker and visually-appealing slides. The difference between their practice presentations and the presentations given in class was night and day. I was so proud to see the way they took my advice to heart and poured everything they had into their presentations. It was one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had as a teacher.

Talk to us about working with the Fulbright Scholars.

Mixed in among our LTS students in various classes are some amazing minds from across the world. We are lucky enough to share our Literature and Culture class with four Fulbright Scholars. Fulbright Scholars work on special scholarships to study in the United States while also teaching their native language and culture. The four we have are from Kenya, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Thailand.

I had the opportunity to select some students for a lesson demonstration in my Multiliteracies course. I decided to invite all four of them, although I only needed to demonstrate my lesson for two students. All four showed up, and I taught them a lesson on American comedy. We discussed different comedy styles, I showed them various examples of American comedy. We also analyzed a specific comedy sketch, looking at various elements (camera angles, music changes, language choices) and discussed how they added to the comedic element of the video. Then they attempted to create their own comedic sketch.

The lesson was very challenging, but the Fulbright scholars were more than up for the task. I was very impressed with how patient and receptive they were to my lesson. I think teachers make very good students as they know the challenges that a fellow teacher faces, and I was definitely lucky to have them in my class. I also felt that they benefited a lot from this lesson as comedy is an extremely difficult topic to understand for second-language learners as there are both linguistic and cultural hurdles. Overall it was a great experience with them.

You’re also an intern with CASLS, right? What can you tell us about that?

I am currently working as an intern with the Games2Teach project of the CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies) program. My job is to play commercial video games and assess how they can be used by language teachers to facilitate language learning. I look at both language and cultural aspects of these games that could benefit students. I assess the age appropriateness, language difficulty, and overall genre of the games. This experience has been very rewarding, as my master’s project will be focused on developing a language teaching game template that teachers can adapt to their lessons. I have found many elements from the games that I have tested that I would love to incorporate into my own game.

Last but not least, tell us about the Cubing Club!

The UO Cubing Club did not exist, so I decided to go through the steps to start it. Students need hobbies to pass the time, and cubing is a great one. I love teaching people how to solve the cube. I get to see the excitement on their faces when they are finally able to make the last turn that solves the cube. It is a lot like the joy I get in seeing my language-learning students progress. We also help people who can already solve to transition into competitive solving. They can learn larger cubes (4×4, 5×5, etc), or they can add new tricks to the normal 3×3 (blindfolded solving, one-handed solving, etc). Meeting with the club is a great stress reliever for me. I hope the club continues to grow throughout my time here at UO. If you are interested in joining, look up “UO Cubing Club” on OrgSync!

July 6, 2016
by Annelise Marshall
2 Comments

Student Spotlight: Keisuke

CIMG2416Keisuke Musashino, a native of Chiba, Japan, has taught Japanese immersion classes at Mt. Tabor Middle School in Portland since 1998. Prior to finding his place in Portland, Keisuke spent a year in Tennessee as a student on a study abroad program and three years in Georgia as a student. Having been a duck since last June, he enjoys everything the “tracktown” offers and spending time in the library.

 

Why did you choose to come to the LTS program?

The short answer is that I felt that I needed to study more about teaching language. Here is a longer version: when I was invited to be an intern at Mt. Tabor in 1997, I had no training in teaching the Japanese language. A short teacher training course over the summer before starting my internship and the internship experience itself really got my feet wet for teaching, and it did not take much time for me to realize the different culture of teaching and learning in the US, and complexity of teaching Japanese to middle school immersion students. Furthermore, being a classroom teacher at a public school gives you a whole lot of responsibility in and outside of classroom. So, I learned many things the hard way.

At my school, my colleague and I worked for several years to create a curriculum for each grade level emphasizing both Social Studies content and Japanese language. My responsibility is teaching the language (including grammar), mostly through thematic units. Without extensive knowledge about the Japanese language and how to teach it, I have basically taught myself how to do it using whatever resources available. That ignited my desire to go back to school, so I decided to take a leave of absence for a year. As I started looking for institutions, I thought about the U of O based on the location and knowing that they take a leadership role in teaching languages with CASLS. Then I ran into the LTS website and was really intrigued with what the program would offer. After communicating with Keli by e-mail, I was convinced that the LTS program would give me the best learning opportunity. Plus, I could get to live in Eugene for a year! So, it was an easy choice for me.

What advice would you give to other experienced teachers who are interested in the LTS program?

There are so many good things about this program. First of all, I think this is a rare program that has a really good balance between theory and practice, and even teachers with years of experience will be able to learn a lot from each class the program offers. In addition to the core classes such as lesson planning, curriculum design and assessment design, students can also take some elective classes based on their needs. For example, I took classes about discipline management, Japanese pedagogical grammar and another pedagogy class specifically for East Asian languages. They are all important for me as a teacher who teaches middle school Japanese immersion classes. Also, if you have teaching experience, you can really reflect on your past teaching practices with what you learned in class and share your experience with your classmates who are just entering the profession. Also, I should note that the program can be completed in five terms (starting in the summer term and ending in the summer term in the following year) – that was another reason why I chose the program. I felt I could get the most out of my year-long study leave. Oh, one more thing – this is a wonderful learning community with caring professors and energetic/fun classmates! I feel I am fortunate to be able to get to know them, study with them, socialize with them and run with them (please see the post about LTSEOTT – LTS Eye of the Tiger – on this blog!). I would honestly say my passion for teaching is even stronger now.

What is your MA project on?

The student body in the Japanese immersion program has become more linguistically diverse, and the class size has also become larger (typical for public schools, I guess). Besides, teaching middle school students is sometimes challenging. They are somewhere between children and adults, are usually honest, but very self-conscious, and have different interests and learning styles. With all those elements, I struggled with reaching all the students last year and keeping them motivated. That experience inspired me to investigate challenges specifically in the middle school immersion context, L2 identity, motivation and differentiated instruction. Based on the findings, I would like to create examples of teaching materials for my class that I can use when I go back to my school after finishing the program.

What are you most looking forward to in your remaining time in the program?

I cannot believe there is only one term left. While I really enjoyed all the classes I took in the last four terms and the experience of working with students in the second-year Japanese students as a GTF for the Fall and Winter term, I am most definitely excited about giving my full attention to my final project this summer. Also, as I only have a week until I go back to my school after graduating in August, I look forward to enjoying the summer weather in Eugene, being outside whenever I can, hanging out with my wonderful classmates and just having fun.

February 22, 2016
by LTSblog
0 comments

Faculty Spotlight Julie Sykes

Julie M. Sykes is the Director of the Center for Applied Second Language Studies (casls.uoregon.edu) at the University of Oregon. In the LTS program, she teaches courses on the teaching and learning of second language pragmatics and technology and language learning.

How are you connected to LTS?

 

For this post, I thought it would be fun to play some word association to start.

Language: people, the world, communication

Teaching: fun, rewarding, challenging

LTS: amazing students and colleagues, fostering amazing teachers

CASLS: great place to work

UO: beautiful, outdoors, green, Go Ducks!

Innovation: important, exciting, whiteboards are critical!

What are you teaching?

In Winter, I typically teach LT610: Second Language Pragmatics, a course in which we explore the ways meaning is communicated through language. In doing so, we examine our own communication practices as well as ways to help learners build their communication skills through the interpretation and expression of intended meaning. For example, did you know speakers of Spanish typically refuse an invitation three times or that the expression “Hey, we should have coffee sometime.” Isn’t typically intended as an invitation.

 

How does what you teach connect to your research?

My research examines the ways we can utilize innovative tools and techniques to foster second language pragmatic development. Our (and by our, I mean the amazing team of people I get to work with on a daily basis) two most recent projects have examined the impact of using synthetic immersive environments and place-based augmented reality games for the learning and teaching of L2 pragmatics. You can check out more about some of these projects through Mentira (http://www.mentira.org/the-game), Ecopod (https://casls.uoregon.edu/student-programs/residential-immersion/) and Games2Tach (games2teach.uoregon.edu).

 

What do you like about working with graduate students?

Pretty much everything. They are passionate, interesting, dedicated, and focused on the goal at hand. The classroom (used to mean buildings, neighborhoods, offices, coffee shops) is one of my favorite places to be. I am really grateful for a job I love. Students are a huge part of that!

October 15, 2015
by sdeng@uoregon.edu
1 Comment

Student Spotlight: Becky Lawrence

12027657_10207248667071914_7717221249091627894_n

Becky Lawrence, originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, double majored in English and Spanish Linguistics. She is currently learning Japanese as her third language and dreams of teaching English at a university in Japan. She is interested in integrating digital games and creative writing into her future classrooms.

Why did you choose the LTS program?
 
I chose the LTS program at the UO because it offered something I couldn’t get anywhere else I researched: the ability to obtain a Master’s degree through an intensive one-year program completed with a small cohort of peers under the guidance of excellent faculty. During the day, I am a busy graduate student with classes and work. When I go home, however, I hang up my backpack and leave the student life at the door because I have a three and a half year old who has missed me all day. Being able to get such an amazing education in half the time allows me to get into my desired career sooner than anywhere else. It is almost too good to be true!
 
What are you involved in outside of your LTS classes?
 

I am currently a Conversation Partner and Help Desk Writing Tutor at the American English Institute (AEI), an intern at the CASLS, the Center for Applied Second Language Studies, and an English Language Circle Leader at Mills International Center.

How do you balance everything that you do?

I wake up every morning and look at my child. It really is that simple. Seeing her young, innocent face and imagining the dreams I want her to be able to achieve one day gives me the motivation to do everything I can to not only provide for my family, but to show her that she can do anything she dreams of as long as she never gives up.

What advice would you give to other parents about going to grad school?

Don’t ever limit or label yourself. Don’t think that you’re too old, or too busy, or too anything. If you want to go to graduate school, do it! The hardest part is believing in yourself. The only things that are impossible in life are the things you have never tried doing.

What are you most looking forward to this year in class or in your other involvements?

I am looking forward to starting on my Master’s Project! Although it’s going to be a long and most likely difficult road (which is why energy drinks were invented !),  I am so excited to create something that will be useful to me in my career as a language teacher.

October 8, 2015
by sdeng@uoregon.edu
2 Comments

Student Spotlight: Katie Carpenter, a new GTF at CASLS

Katie Carpenter is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. She speaks Spanish, and some Japanese and Portuguese, and is interested in learner engagement and motivation, and curriculum and materials planning. She has taught English at a language school in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, working with all levels.

IMG_1528

Why did you choose the LTS program?

I chose the LTS program because of the experience I had at the UO, in the Language Teaching and Linguistics Departments, while an undergrad. I originally wanted to go into elementary education, and was taking classes to do that. Since I love languages and travel, I decided late to try out some LT and LING classes, and loved the material and faculty I got to work with. I really liked how I found everything I was learning to have a real-world application in the areas I was interested in, and I got a lot of support from others in LT and in the Linguistics department. After that, it felt like the obvious choice for me.

What is your GTF context?

I am the Curriculum Development Assistant at CASLS, the Center for Applied Second Language Studies. A lot of what I have been doing so far is helping on projects where they need some extra assistance–doing transcription, helping get the game app Ecopod (which was recently used in its first class at UO!) ready, helping at a freshman orientation booth, etc. I’ve been able to learn a lot about many different projects at the center. One project I am working on now that I really enjoy is writing classroom materials/activities for InterCom, our weekly newsletter, and that will be a portion of materials taken to this year’s ACTFL convention.

What is the most challenging part of your GTF?

A lot of the materials/resources developed at CASLS are intended to be used in a language classroom in the United States, which is not where my past experience has been. CASLS also has projects that are very game/interactive technology focused, and I don’t have much experience using that type of technology in the classroom. I’m finding that I often need to do some extra research, or ask questions of those around me, to expand upon my own experience and knowledge. I think this helps me create materials that are applicable in a wider variety of contexts than I am used to, so that they are useful to more teachers and classes. Luckily, CASLS has a really supportive environment, and I’ve been able to get lots of advice.

What is the most rewarding part of your GTF?

I’m learning so much, and I’m getting really valuable experience. It also makes me proud that the materials that I write, or projects that I help with even a little, are going to be resources that are used in language classrooms, and that will help students learn. Like I said, it’s a really supportive environment, and they’ve already made a point to not only put me on projects where they need help, but also give me work that will help me develop my own skills and qualifications.

What are you most looking forward to this year in your GTF or in the
LTS program?

In my GTF, I’m looking forward to learning from what everyone at the center has to offer, getting more resource development experience, and, short term, hopefully going to the ACTFL convention this year with them.
In the LTS program, I’m hoping to take advantage of all the opportunities for skill development they offer. I’m looking forward to doing an AEI internship, to starting on my MA project, and to developing more relationships with faculty.
Both contexts provide me with a lot of opportunities, and I’m eager to take advantage of them!

August 27, 2015
by Tiffany VanPelt
0 comments

Internship Spotlight Ben Pearson

Ben Pearson is an LTS graduate student originally from Salem.  Ben’s MA Project is entitled: Using Analog Games to Improve Negotiation Skills in Upper Intermediate Level ESL Learners.

 

What was your internship context?

I chose to take my internship at the Center for Applied Second Language studies, (CASLS). My context was that I’d be working on their blog website called Games2Teach.  My master’s project is about using games in a classroom setting to teach pragmatics and I took a class from Julie Sykes, the CASLS director, on that topic in the winter.  I asked her if there was any way I could intern with CASLS, and she said she had a position available.  I worked on the Games2Teach site and also creating materials, lesson plans, and activities.  It was a really nice, comfortable office setting with a great group of people.

 

What surprised you most about your internship?

One of the most surprising thing about working over at CASLS was how accommodating Julie and all of the staff were there.  It was just a friendly, warm environment, and I didn’t feel like an outsider at all.  Everyone had their own jobs to do, and it was a very supportive atmosphere that really made me feel like part of the team.  Even though I may not be as proficient in a second language as some of my colleagues there, (some of them speaking three or four different languages), I still felt like I had my part to play and that what I was doing was meaningful. That was also surprising.  I was producing content for the InterCom newsletter, and I was creating activities and updating the blog. It was great to be actually putting what I was learning in LTS to use in this great atmosphere.

 

What was the most chBen_Pallenging part of your internship?

One of the challenges of working at CASLS became time management. While doing all of this great work coming up with activities and blogging, I was also in the LTS program, which as you know is a very intensive program where you’re taking about 12-14 credits per term, so time management was a big challenge.  It was something that I had to learn to do well, but I think it was a positive challenge. Before I hadn’t considered myself very good at time management, but having this internship and being in this Masters program I had to learn to do it effectively.  Not to mention, if something really big came up in my academic life, I could talk to my colleagues and flex my schedule.  They were very accommodating and understood that I was a very busy student.  It was definitely tough, but I think I am now better because of it.

 

Would you care to share a memorable moment?

One of the more surprising things that happened to me was when I was asked to write up a game review for Dragon Age: Origins, a recent game that had come out.  Julie had created a template for five different criteria that needed to be addressed in the review.  I was sitting in the office one day playing this video game, and some members of the team came over and starting asking me linguistic questions and discussing how parts of the game could be used for instruction.  I sat there a moment and realized that I play video games on my own time, but I never thought talking about pragmatics and speech acts and linguistic forms would ever mesh up together with that context. It was one of those moments when I realized that I was really interning at the best place for me, and I had never thought that this combination would work! My skill set and my interests were really lining up perfectly.  I really enjoyed interning there, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the program.

Skip to toolbar