UC Santa Barbara’s Applied Linguistics Interdisciplinary Emphasis hosts its Spring Colloquium

Monday, May 14, 2018
Wona Lee, Justine Meyr, Feng Xie

The Spring 2018 Applied Linguistics Colloquium presenters: Wona Lee, Justine Meyr, Feng Xie

On Friday, June 1, UC Santa Barbara’s Applied Linguistics Interdisciplinary Emphasis will host its spring colloquium featuring student research from 11 am – 12:30 pm in Education 1217. Pizza, drinks, and dessert will be provided at this event that is free and open to the public. The presenters will be Wona Lee and Justine Meyr from the Department of Education and Feng Xie from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.

Wona Lee will give the talk, “Who is proficient?: The relationship between teachers’ perceived proficiency and their pedagogical decisions in a first-grade Korean/English TWI classroom.” Although it is common to assess the language proficiencies of non-native speaker students using standardized tests in educational contexts where language proficiency is considered a determiner of academic success, various studies have argued that language proficiency should instead be considered a notion of communicative competence. Based upon this notion and sociocultural theories of learning, this study adopts the concept of perceived proficiency, i.e., that language proficiency is perceived by participants who constitute learning through interaction. In particular, this study focuses on bilingual teachers’ perceived proficiencies of students in a Korean/English TWI program. By analyzing classroom interaction data and in-depth interviews with two teachers about four first-grade focal students, this study found that the teachers focused more on academic language and knowledge, instead of communicative competence, in evaluating students’ language proficiencies in both Korean and English. Furthermore, it was observed that teachers’ perceived proficiencies influenced turn-taking processes during the Korean instructional time in which both teachers expressed their insecurities about teaching content in Korean. Consequently, teachers’ perceived proficiencies of students – and of themselves – were enacted to make pedagogical decisions during the Korean instructional time in a Korean/English TWI program, where both teachers and students with various levels of proficiencies interact each other to teach and learn content in Korean.

Justine Meyr will give the talk “Building Social Presence in a Telecollaboration between American and German Higher Education Students.” Participation in target language (TL) communities is one of the primary aims of language learning and is listed in ACTFL’s (2011) Standards.  Through the theoretical lens of Garrison and Vaughn's (2001) Community of Inquiry (CoI), this study calls on action research methods to describe student participation and social presence in a nine month online exchange within the medium of Facebook and Google Docs.  The analysis made visible that video chat, social cues and fillers (i.e. laughing, smiling, nodding) enhanced social presence and effective communicative language learning.

Feng Xie will give the talk “Exploring Learners’ Interaction Process Through Video-Recorded Text Chat.” Research on synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) has shown its benefits for SLA. It has been proved to bring opportunities for L2 learners to negotiate for meaning, receive comprehensible input, obtain corrective feedback, and notice “gaps” in their interlanguage systems, etc. However, there has been little scholarship that tracks learners’ moment-to-moment behaviors as they engage in SCMC activities. Using video screen capture technology, this presentation examines advanced-level L2 Chinese learners’ interaction process as they participate in small group text chat (one type of SCMC) discussions. By looking at how learners manage to form and carry on their “conversations”, it further explores the affordances and limitations of text-based SCMC for L2 learning and teaching.

Applied Linguistics is a growing and vibrant discipline in universities nationally and internationally. It is an interdisciplinary field of research and instruction that provides theoretical and descriptive foundations for the empirical investigation and solution of language-related issues, especially those of language education (first-language, second-language, foreign-language and heritage-language teaching and learning), but also issues of bilingualism and biliteracy, language policy, language assessment, translation and interpretation, lexicography, rhetoric and composition. Students who demonstrate competence in these areas increase their opportunities for employment, as many job descriptions indicate a preference for candidates with an emphasis in applied linguistics or second language acquisition. Also, with the ever-increasing number of second language learners at the PreK-20 levels, it is essential for all teachers and educational researchers to have a fundamental understanding of language learning and teaching theories and practices.

[The presenters are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]