East Carolina University. Tomorrow starts here.®
Department of English
TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference

Bate Building


2007 Conference

February 10, 2007
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Donna Christian (President of the Center for Applied Linguistics, Washington, DC)

Bilingualism for All Students through Two-Way Immersion

This presentation provides an overview of two-way immersion, synthesized from research conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), including extensive information collected from programs around the country. Two-way immersion education is a challenging model to implement well because it involves providing instruction in two languages to integrated groups of students. Among the issues to be examined are: goals of two-way immersion, key components of effective programs, and issues in design and implementation. Findings from a national research project will be presented, along with information about resources hat are currently available. For more information about CAL, visit http://www.cal.org/. 

Dr. Christian has worked at CAL since 1974. Her research focuses on the role of language in education, with a special interest in issues of second language learning and dialect diversity. Among her recent activities, she directed a federally funded research program on two-way immersion education and served as senior advisor on several other projects: the Heritage Languages Initiative, the Biliteracy Research Program, and the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth.
Dr. Christian is frequently asked to consult on issues of research, policy, and practice. She currently serves on the following boards: the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and the Heritage Language Journal, the Board of Directors of The International Research Foundation on English Language Education (TIRF), the Executive Committee of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (ex officio), the Advisory Committee of the Department of Linguistics at Montclair State University, and the Advisory Board of the Hispanic Family Literacy Institute (National Center for Family Literacy).

Discussion Forum

Ligia Lopez (Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools/Wake Forest University)

Teacher-Embodied Reflection through Transformative Boalian Theater

This session will present a qualitative research study conducted with K-12 ESOL teachers in which the use of the Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (PTO) was used as a tool to raise their critical awareness. PTO activities like physical exercises, aesthetic games, image techniques and special improvisations were used to help the teachers reflect by engaging in physical action. Some of the emerging findings from these sessions are the impact that the PTO has had in the stimulation of teachers' personal subjectivities and the awareness for creating strong school community crucial for the development of their students' academic pursuit. In the search for emotional and practical solutions to their power struggles, the teachers are becoming critical and interpretative inquirers who by embodied reflection have explored their ability to empathize with their students and colleagues. The workshop will give the participants a taste of the pedagogy by engaging in some games and constructing some images.

Myleah Kerns (East Carolina University)

The Implications of Absence: A Critical Review of the Literature on African American Females in Higher Education and Techniques of Assimilation

The increasing existence of Black women in academia speaks to both the opportunities conferred for women, but also to the absence of Black men. An assessment of how African American females adapt their speech to mimic the majority is necessary. The numerous studies performed on the assimilation techniques of non-white middle and high school students confirm that there is a specific need to analyze the presence of non-white college and university students, particularly women. This does not lessen the importance of Black males' success in college, but what makes the journey more easily traversable for Black females may illuminate the problems embedded in the academy. How African American women conform to the discourses and adopt the language of the majority will probably signify what makes the college experience different for African American males and White males and females. For this paper, assimilation will be defined as the transformation or shifting of speech and communication styles to those more characteristic of the dominant culture; this does not constitute a complete erasure of one's "native" tongue, but entails suppressing particular speech patterns in certain settings. The assimilation techniques of African American females are of great importance; it is true that academic performance, familial support, determination, and other influences largely encourage Black women to succeed, but speech assimilation also plays a distinct role in how Black women manipulate the expectations of gender and race within the academy.

Nobu Asoaka (East Carolina University)

Bidirectional Pragmatic Transfer in American English Learners of Japanese and Japanese Learners of English

Pavlenko and Jarvis (2002) and Cenoz (2003) introduce the term bidirectional transfer to explain a two-way movement between two languages, L1 and L2. This study investigates the bi-directionality of pragmatic transfer. The data was gathered from four groups, namely JJ (college-aged Japanese without much direct exposure to American culture), JA (Japanese exposed to the US), AJ (Americans exposed to Japan), and AA (Americans unexposed to Japan) in April 2006. Each of the participants filled in an English or a Japanese version of the questionnaire that focused on apologies. A total of 360 responses were categorized using a classification system modeled after CARLA and compared. Follow-up interviews were conducted with available participants. Findings suggest that depending on a combination factors, such as the degree of imposition involved and the relationship with the addressee, the L1 of both JA and AJ groups has been affected. For example, in certain situations, AJ participants were found to be more apologetic than JA. Furthermore, a follow-up interview reveals that some learners have "opened up" their world, in a sense, to question the way that they normally interact.

Mica Pierson (East Carolina University)

Code-switching in Middle School Students Based on Teacher Attitudes

Teachers often have difficulty teaching their students about the importance of standard English in the academic setting. This study was an attempt to investigate the reaction of middle school students when their speech is corrected in the classroom setting. In this study, a group of students who speak African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) were observed interacting with their teachers, who encouraged them to speak and write in more standard English for academic purposes. The students were also surveyed to gauge their impressions of the teachers' attitudes toward the vernacular. Results showed that teachers who acknowledged AAVE as an important part of the students' culture, instead of regarding it a "wrong" way of speaking, saw more respect and willingness from students. This paper examines the importance of promoting a respectful, tolerant learning environment for students.

Caroline Brooks (East Carolina University)

Digital Languages: Teaching Complexity and Comprehension through the Application of the Visual in Digital Languages

A new form of rhetoric is beginning to dominate communication within today's youth culture, Digital (i.e. visual) Languages. Digital Languages serve as a form of visual rhetorical persuasion, where imagery replaces text as the primary form of communication. Just as text is read sequentially from left to right, images are read horizontally within a visual composition. Images carry semiotic codes connected to, but not dependent on, verbal or written text. The Visual in Digital Languages is ubiquitous; it appears in a multitude of media, from advertisements and television to magazines and web sites. It is relevant because these visual images / digital languages represent social constructs with structural, political and cultural implications. My goal in this presentation is to explore how the complexity and understanding can be utilized through the application of the Digital Languages of primary youth culture communication mediums such as the Internet and video games.

Stephanie Cain (Greene County Schools)

Los Puentes: Two Languages, Twice the Opportunities…A Bridge to Success

Los Puentes is a Two-Way Immersion program in rural Greene County, NC. The Spanish/English dual language program was established in 2003 through a Z. Smith Reynolds grant written by Dr. Rebecca Torres of ECU. The classes combine 50% native Spanish speaking students with 50% native English speaking students. Students learn a language through content and they learn to understand, speak, read and write in both languages. Currently the program serves Kindergarten through third grade students with additional grades added as the program grows. This presentation will provide an overview of the Los Puentes dual language program and how it was established in a rural community. Information on successes and challenges with establishing, maintaining and expanding an immersion program will be shared during this session.

Tabitha Slusher (East Carolina University)

Language Maintenance and Status: Belizean Kriol

Emerging from colonial status, Belize has been attempting to create a national identity that provides a positive global image. Since English dominates international business and politics, there is reluctance by government officials in Belize to allow Kriol to gain official status. In this paper, I will explore the Belizean Kriol language to investigate the post-colonial attitudes that affect the status of Belizean Kriol while identifying current trends towards language maintenance and shift in Belize.

Denise Alvarez (Davidson College)

Supporting College-Level ESL Students in Academic Writing Development

How do ESL students at American colleges go from familiarity with to proficiency in academic writing? A collective case study offers insight into numerous difficulties encountered by international students applying their knowledge of English composition to research writing tasks. Existing literature indicates that ESL composition students want and need explicit instruction, but studies investigating the nature of student difficulties and how to provide appropriate instruction are scant. These case studies of three international college students over a semester-long writing course investigated two basic questions: a) What skills related to writing research essays do students have difficulty demonstrating? b) What instructional techniques can teachers use to help students overcome these difficulties? Analysis of a variety of data including written feedback, conference transcripts, student drafts, and teacher journals answers a need stated by ESL composition scholars for studies incorporating various elements of the learning environment. Conference transcripts provide fascinating insight into student learning processes and help describe the pragmatic issues confronted by students in applying writing skills to real writing situations. Results show that ESL writers need support from instructors in performing a range of tasks associated with research writing; students appreciate explicit instruction in performing these tasks; and individual conferencing is a key element in instruction. Findings support providing explicit feedback and scaffolding for ESL composition students. The presenter will encourage the audience to discuss issues related to the findings.

Tabitha Slusher (East Carolina University)

Exclusion and Misrepresentation on the Web

Multimodal discourses such as websites have garnered little attention from critical discourse analysts. Yet the Internet is a medium which is now such a key space for enacting social practice, and for reflecting and shaping social processes and problems (Mautner, 2005). Through the use of text, hyperlinks, and images, websites produce a discourse that includes multicultural communities around the globe. As a result, the definition of discourse and the tools used to analyze discourse are transforming to include visual discourse and the social, political, and economical contexts in which these multimodal discourses are formed. In this paper, I will show through a critical discourse analysis of the Belize Film Commission's website how web-based discourse constructs social context and identity that exploits and misrepresents cultures.

Carol Edwards, Rebecca Hughes, Erin McDavit, Caroline Oats, & Wendy Rickenbaker (University of South Carolina)

Error Correction in the L2 Classroom: Is Nativeness a Factor?

Current studies suggest that both native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) follow characteristic trends in the way they address learners' errors in the L2 classroom (Schultz, 1996, 2001; Jolivet, 1997). However, more research is needed to determine the most effective methods employed by NS and NNS instructors. Our research explores error correction in beginning L2 university level classes and compares that of NS to NNS feedback in these classes. Implications for L2 learning are considered. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, data (from Likert-type questionnaires, video observations, and focus group interviews) will be analyzed and discussed. To conclude, we will present the results of our study and its pedagogical benefits.

Erin Callahan, Danica Cullinan, & Mary Kohn (North Carolina State University)

New Ethnic Varieties of English: Hispanic English in North Carolina

As North Carolina's Latino community expands and stabilizes in its second and third generations, the public school system is witnessing the emergence of an indigenous ethnic dialect of English, variously referred to as "gang member speech, Spanglish, English with an accent, and beginner English", Many speakers of this unique native variety may in fact know little or no Spanish. Current sociolinguistic research on Hispanic English in the multi-ethnic communities of Durham and in Hickory explores the following questions: What are the stable linguistic features that characterize this systematic variety of English emerging among Latinos? How can an understanding of Hispanic English (and dialect awareness in general) inform the instruction and classification of both native and non-native English speakers? A presentation of research findings from the North Carolina Language and Life Project will provide information that educators can draw upon in discussions with other teachers, administrators, and policymakers.

Kimberly Harper (East Carolina University)

Discourse Bias in Humanities Textbooks

Much of critical discourse analysis is about how social practices are tied to a text, the representation of images, and how the distribution of power affects large scale systems of societal belief. It is clear that critical discourse analysis begs the question of positioning and power. Post colonial theory studies the effects of colonization on the discourse of a specific culture. Mills (2004) states that it is the critical study of those literary and non-literary writings which were produced within the period and context of British imperialism, and the effect of colonialism and colonial texts on current societies (94). This paper is concerned with how the post colonial concept of "othering" is reinforced in present day humanities textbooks and the long standing affects of colonialism on power structures that help perpetuate colonial othering. Additionally, this paper focuses on how and why African contributions are consistently marginalized in the field of humanities, the discussion of ancient civilizations, and their contributions to the world.

Christa B. Teston (Kent State University)

Grammatical & Conceptual Metaphor in Discourse about Cancer and the Body (Accepted, but unable to attend)

This paper accounts for the theoretical terrain pertaining to grammatical and conceptual metaphor. Among others, I draw upon Halliday's (1985) concept of grammatical metaphor and Lakoff and Johnson's (1999) concept of conceptual metaphor. An application of these theories is employed in a linguistic analysis of a key workplace document within clinical oncology known as the Oncotype Diagnosis Report. Said report is used by oncologists to discuss treatment options with breast cancer patients. Findings include not only the nominalization of complex processes and events, but also the grammatical representations of issues of life, death, and recurrence of cancer via statistics and numerical values. I argue that the report's usage of grammatical and conceptual metaphor embodies an aura of scientific authority, and it is only through linguistic analysis of the report that we may become conscious of the various ways in which the future is shaped by the very language and numbers used to describe it.