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Department of English
TESOL/Applied Linguistics Graduate Students Conference

Bate Building


2009 Conference

February 21,2009
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

Keynote Speaker

Jodi Crandall(University of Baltimore - Maryland County)

JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall is Professor of ESOL/Bilingual Education and Director of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Language, Literacy and Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).  She is the author of more than 100 books, articles, and monographs on issues of program design, curriculum and instruction, and teacher education as these impact academic language and literacy for secondary and adult English Language Learners (ELLs).

She was director of a five-year project to improve academic English and postsecondary participation among secondary school immigrant students (funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) and of a national content-based language instruction research project (funded by the U.S. Department of Education) which identified key characteristics and described models of content-based language programs through a series of case studies.  More recently, she has focused on issues of transition for adult English language learners, with a brief study of adult ESL in the community college, and a two-year study of promising practices in instruction and professional development in adult ESL at five community colleges (funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), including a close look at ways of transitioning adult ELLs into adult, academic and career education. She is currently preparing a white paper for the National Institute for Literacy on issues of adult ELLs and healthcare career ladders, focused on issues of program design and curriculum for transitioning adult ELLs of all language and literacy levels into healthcare careers which lead to a sustainable family income. 

Among her more recent publications are Content-based Instruction in Higher Education Settings and Content-based Instruction in Elementary and Secondary School Settings (with D. Kaufman); Adult ESL in the Community College (with K. Sheppard), and Passing the Torch: Strategies for Innovation in Community College ESL (with F. Chisman). 

Dr. Crandall is a frequently invited speaker at national and international conferences.  Recently, she was the keynote speaker at the 2007 Transitions Conference sponsored by the National College Transition Network and at the 2007 National Council for Workforce Education. 

She has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award from the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and the Outstanding Alumna Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University.  Dr. Crandall is a former President of TESOL, WATESOL, and AAAL.

Plenary Address:

Sharing Our Expertise: Working with Mainstream Teachers

With the increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) at all levels of education and in expanding geographical areas, it becomes critically important for ESL teachers to work collaboratively with mainstream or content teachers to provide an effective instructional program for all students. In this talk, I’ll share some ways in which we can collaborate with other teachers to the benefit of ELLs and ways in which our expertise can be shared to provide an effective integrated instructional program that addresses academic language and content area needs.

Discussion Session:

Standards in TESOL

This discussion session will focus on the use of standards in TESOL-related education. As the former Chair of the Standards Committee for TESOL for the past two years, I will begin by briefly reviewing the four most recent standards projects that TESOL has undertaken: ESL Standards for Pre-K-12 Students, Standards for Teachers of Adult ESL/EFL Learners, TESOL/NCATE Standards for P-12 ESL Teacher Education Programs, and the newest, Technology Standards for Teachers and Learners. We can then discuss experiences and issues related to the implementation of standards-based instruction in ESL.

Discussion Forum
Nigel Caplan with Dr. Gigi Taylor (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

ESL from Scratch: Developing Services for International Students and Scholars

What do ESL professionals do when they join a major university with over 2,500 international students and scholars but no ESL services? They experiment! This session introduces the fledgling English Language & American Culture program at UNC-Chapel Hill, which includes workshops, writing groups, a week-long intensive ESL program, and an online grammar blog. The presenters will discuss the effectiveness of these different models of ESL provision and consider the implications of housing an ESL program within the university’s Writing Center. Discussion and participation from attendees is encouraged to share experiences and ideas for developing ESL services at local institutions of higher education.

Nigel Caplan with Dr. Gigi Taylor (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

ESL from Scratch: Developing Services for International Students and Scholars

What do ESL professionals do when they join a major university with over 2,500 international students and scholars but no ESL services? They experiment! This session introduces the fledgling English Language & American Culture program at UNC-Chapel Hill, which includes workshops, writing groups, a week-long intensive ESL program, and an online grammar blog. The presenters will discuss the effectiveness of these different models of ESL provision and consider the implications of housing an ESL program within the university’s Writing Center. Discussion and participation from attendees is encouraged to share experiences and ideas for developing ESL services at local institutions of higher education.

Leona Mason (Pitt County Schools ESL Department)

Creative Uses for PowerPoint in the ESL Classroom

PowerPoint -- it's not just for presentations.  The animation and recording capabilities of PowerPoint 2007 provide new opportunities for students to practice reading, writing, listening and speaking.  This workshop will present a variety of uses for PowerPoint, including listening stations, dictation stations, student-narrated books, and class games.  Directed towards ESL teachers, this workshop will focus on practical applications of an old favorite.

Alexander T. Ibaraki & Maria E. Azpeitia (California State Polytechnic University)

Practical and Fun: Interactive Activities for the ESL Classroom

To play or not to play?  Games provide opportunities for students to practice language in a fun and interactive environment.  The presenters will demonstrate how to incorporate several interactive games utilizing whole-class participation, small-group work, and team-work activities in the ESL classroom. Alvarado (1992), Brunschwig (1994), and Long & Porter (1985) ascertain that language classrooms that use group work and/or whole-class participation, in conjunction with communicative tasks, provide more opportunities for students to use an L2 than traditional classrooms. Additionally, interactive activities promote participation, language use, and motivation, and decrease affective factors.  Handouts providing instructions and the pedagogical purposes underlying each of these games will be provided.  As part of the demonstration, attendees will be participating in a game called “What am I?” Thus, participants will leave this workshop with the tools and hands-on experience necessary to implement such activities within their classrooms.

Kara VanDam (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Corpus Linguistics: A Real Approach to Language Teaching

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an introduction to corpus linguistics and explain the different ways to utilize language corpora in ESL/EFL classrooms. Specifically, the presentation investigates how corpus linguistics can be used in finding the lexical and grammatical points in different discourses of the English language; illustrates the effective role it can play in teaching English for Specific Purposes; and introduces the audience to the beneficial uses of speech corpora in language instruction. In addition, the presentation demonstrates how the British National Corpus and the American National Corpus, as well as the concordance software monoconc, can be utilized in a language classroom. A corpus-based approach to language teaching provides students with an opportunity to learn language as it is actually used and in the context within which they wish to use it. It proves to be an effective method in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

Krystiane Evans (Greenville Technical College)

Hmong Refugees in WNC: Linguistic Assimilation and Resistance in Appalachia

This paper focuses on my work with Hmong refugees in McDowell County, NC. Many Hmong have settled in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, a place where they can “recreate” the agrarian communities of their native countries. Settling in the Appalachian subculture has produced a unique set of challenges for both parties. Similarities between the two have made linguistic and cultural assimilation a bit easier for many Hmong. However, both resistance from the Hmong and non-acceptance from the Appalachians do exist. My presentation will outline the history of the Hmong in Western North Carolina; furthermore, it will include a linguistic and social analysis of both cultural groups, case studies of Hmong refugees (and their 2nd/3rd generation American descendants) who have healthily assimilated in to this subculture, and examples of community efforts which have successfully unified Hmong and Appalachians.

Ryan C. Covington (East Carolina University)

So, What Do We Do Now? The Tangled Geographies of Global Climate Activism

Climate change has become an issue of human rights and environmental justice that connects the local with the global.  At the heart of climate change is the use of fossil fuel – particularly the emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Developed countries have accepted emissions targets in the Kyoto Protocol, but these are recognized as seriously inadequate, given the United States refusal to sign.  Using a textual analysis of websites and press releases from Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and Rising Tide, along with a critical reading of these discourses, this research investigates the way NGO climate initiatives frame global climate change and analyze to what degree, if any, issues of climate justice are incorporated into solutions.  This research suggests that climate change is currently framed in an emotional context, as strictly an environmental issue which inspires inaction on the part of policy makers and advocates, with little consideration given to issues of social and environmental justice, recognizing that personal sentiment is not divorced from larger political discourse.

Kristie Barnhill (Snow Hill Primary Los Puentes Program)

Making the Standards "Real" through Teaching Thematic Units

As a kindergarten teacher in a two-way Spanish immersion program, I have learned many strategies to use in my classroom.  One of my main strategies is the integration of “theme units.”  I have several themes that I change every half of the school year.  These themes are interwoven into the NC Standard Course of Study as well as the ESL Standard Course of Study.  I will share how I use thematic units to teach the kindergarten curriculum to all of my students. Second language learners learn from the experiences which make the concepts more “concrete” and “hands-on.”  I will use videos of my classroom to display many ways we integrate our themes into every subject area.  I will also share organizational tips and planning ideas in my presentation.

Bridget Goodman (University of Pennsylvania)

Did You Say "Can" or "Can't?": A Phonetic Analysis

Learning how to comprehend and produce comprehensibly the modals "can" and "can't" is a great challenge for English language learners. Native speakers of English in the field of linguistics also notice great variability in the articulation of these words by native speakers. The author presents an exploratory analysis of differences (and similarities) in the articulation of these two words. Seven native
 speakers, 3 bilingual speakers, and 5 non-native speakers of English read a list of sentences prepared by the researcher. Each sentence contained one token of “can” or “can’t” in different positions of the
sentence and followed by different types of sounds (vowels, sibilants, /t/). Tokens of “can” and “can’t” were analyzed for vowel length, vowel formants, and allophones of /t/. The author will present preliminary evidence of contrasts and convergence of articulatory features within and between groups of speakers. Directions for future research will be discussed.

Joseph A. Dawson (East Carolina University)

Technical Discourse Paradox

Two concepts of society can be defined as the market and the polis. Within the market model, individuals pursue their own self-interest; in the polis model, individuals pursue the public interest above their self-interest. With some exceptions, technical communication research has primarily focused on workplaces operating within a market system. More recently, attention has turned to areas outside of the traditional “market.” This turn from the market to the polis as the locus of public rhetorical activity has implications for our understanding of technical communication as it is practiced beyond the work place. I will report the results of a discourse analysis of the public messages of a government entity that operates within a polis model while advocating for businesses operating within a market model. I will show how this organization, through its online content, paradoxically employs a public interest discourse that differs from a market’s self-interest discourse, yet maintains a credible ethos. This analysis will contribute to our field’s understanding of the behaviors and decisions of organizations that operate at the border between the market and the polis. The analysis will also help technical communication teachers to introduce students to the actual discursive environments in which technical communication is performed.

EunHi Seo (State University of New York at Albany)

Team Teaching by a Native English Teacher and a Korean English Teacher in Korean Public Schools

The purpose of this research was to explore the ways in which a team of a native English teacher and a native Korean teacher collaborate with each other and to discover patterns of teaching considered effective in EFL teaching at regular public schools. Three videos from the Internet about team teaching at three secondary public schools in Korea were collected as a main source of data. Data were analyzed and interpreted by employing the grounded theory data analysis and TIMSS video analysis. Findings reveal that effective roles of the native English teacher involve direct modeling of the ways to pronounce sounds and frame correct English sentences, whereas effective roles of the Korean teacher include managing the class activities, providing Korean translation when necessary, rephrasing the words or sentences that Korean students could not understand from the native English teacher, and promoting participation. Such effectiveness is determined by goals of the Korean National curriculum as well as the learning context. This study implies that effective team teaching requires teachers to have cross-cultural understanding, effective locus of control in teaching, and openness to pedagogical innovations that reflect socio-cultural challenges.

Kris DeAngelis (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

Hawaii Creole English and African American Vernacular: Two Controversial Approaches to Promoting Standard English

In 1996, the Oakland school board voted that African American Vernacular English (AAVE) should be recognized as an official language among its African American students. Teachers in the district were to attend trainings on the grammatical structures present in “Ebonics” so that they would understand better how to teach English to AAVE speaking students. This decision resulted in a media uproar and the program was eventually overturned. A similar debate occurred in Hawaii. Discrimination against Hawaii Creole English (HCE) became apparent in the 1930s when colleges began rejecting students that did not speak fluent Standard English (SE). The debate, though still ongoing, reached a climax in 1987 when the state government banned HCE from all classrooms. Again, this action resulted in a frenzy of negative media coverage and a failed educational initiative. While both of these programs were well-intentioned, they failed to accomplish their aims. Through a comparative study of these similar situations, we gain insight into the resources and approaches necessary for a viable educational program focused on promoting SE among students. In order  for such a program to be successful, it must have funding, community and political support, as well as a strong basis in solid pedagogy.

Katrina Hinson and Liz Dennis (East Carolina University)

Playing Nice Online: Gender and Privacy in Virtual Spaces

Today people can communicate in many different ways using various forms of electronic communication.  Our research studied two distinct forms of electronic communication. The presentation is divided into two parts.  Part One focuses on gender construction via Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and Part Two centers on privacy issues related to online social networking sites posted in a classroom blog. Both studies represent a growing area of interest within online communication.

Part One: Taking an ethnographic approach to the online environment of IRC and using participant-observation methods, this research sought to answer why individuals, particularly males, choose to adopt feminine traits, especially if they do not portray such traits face to face. Among the findings, it was noted that gender identification in the online environment is deliberately constructed through the text written in the IRC space.

Part Two: Using rhetorical and textual analysis of blog postings by college students at the University of Texas at Austin, this research sought to highlight issues related to students’ perceived privacy of their MySpace and Facebook pages. Specifically, the presentation rhetorically analyzes what happened when student’s “private” online selves were brought into the classroom via an Instructor’s presentation.

Debra O'Neal with Dr. Marjorie Ringler (East Carolina University)

Redefining Linguistic Diversity

t the heart of quality content based instruction models is the focus on academic language. According to Marzano (2004), background knowledge, which he contends  is key to academic success, manifests itself as vocabulary knowledge. If we look at the children of poverty, those from lower socioeconomic status, and speakers of non-standard dialects, we see a lack of background knowledge for the classroom and a lack of academic language. If we recognize the relationship between background knowledge and academic language, it becomes evident to the authors that academic language is indeed a second language for all learners. Content based instructional models such as the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), have been embraced for creating success for our English Language Learners. These models which place a large focus on instructional and learning strategies, as well as the need to recognize, use and teach academic language should be employed for ALL students.  This paper will make the case that all children entering school are learning a second language: academic language.

Forrest Caskey (East Carolina University)

Languaging: Finding a Balance between Form and Function or Pedagogical Filler

Beginning with Firth and Wagner (1997) and echoed by many others (Williams, 2001; Ellis, 2001; Lightbown & Spada, 2006; Brown 2007; Atkinson, 2002), the past decade has seen research in SLA pedagogy return to a focus on form.   Henceforth, the question has been how to optimize SLA salience in the classroom by finding a balance between form and function.  Research has shown that a superfluous amount of focus on form leads to learner deficiency in communicative competence. Conversely, sole exposure to communication and function without attention to form has proven to deprive the learner with the linguistic tools to utilize structure optimally.  Recently, Swain (2007) has coined languaging as an umbrella term encompassing collaborative dialogue, private speech, task-based learning, and language play.  Swain and others have shown through extensive research that languaging bridges form with function without the expense of the other, creates coalescence between the social and cognitive realms of language learning, and provides an environment for language itself to mediate language learning.  I have synthesized a decade of research in languaging and compiled a list of successful pedagogical approaches to implementing languaging in the classroom.

Caroline Brooks (East Carolina University)

The Pedagogy of Visual Discourse within U.S. Military Video Games

The Visual Discourse of U.S. Military Video Games is a very new, interdisciplinary field of research which explores how visual media attempts to recruit game players through psychological coercion and cultural indoctrination techniques. Academics place these video games within the emerging category of “serious games”, yet they struggle to identify theoretical approaches applicable to video game analysis. My goal is to provide a pedagogical justification for establishing qualitative measurements in the study of U.S. Military Video Games. Only after these measurements are ascertained can the nature of video game discourse be explored from an empirical standpoint. The pedagogy guiding this study include the multidisciplinary fields of Psychology, Computer Science, Education, English and Information Design.

Mary Cordova and Charetta Walls (East Carolina University)

Spanning the Distance:  Online Professional Development for Rural Teachers of ESL

Although rural teachers increasingly encounter the need to differentiate instruction for English language learners (ELLs), many recognize their need for additional preparation in order to provide this instruction successfully.  As teachers in rural districts, they often find that unique challenges are associated with locating professional development because of distance and small numbers.

Although many colleges and universities will establish satellite programs for remote groups, rural teachers in small districts cannot always provide the critical mass of participants which will make this strategy realistic.  E-Learning, however, can create cohorts which conjoin numerous sites as electronic learning communities, making possible effective professional development for rural educators across the inevitable distances.  This workshop will showcase the work of Project ECU LEAP, which offers a sequence of five online graduate courses to inservice teachers in eastern North Carolina, funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition. Teacher-tested strategies for improved academic engagement and achievement for ELLs will be shared.

K. Chadwick Elliott (East Carolina University)

Adjusting Grammar Studies to Integrate ESL Students in First-Year Composition

English grammar is a difficult topic to approach in university composition classrooms because traditional approaches decree that students either write “correctly,” or are “unskilled” (Shaughnessy, 1977). This division is too stark: too many variables exist between secondary school writings and college-level exposition to make such sweeping characterizations. For example, students’ learned dialects affect their grasps on composition (Leki, 1992). However, even though progressive methodologies move away from strict grammar instruction, the most popular methods employ reliance on innate (L1) understandings of English (Spellmeyer, 2008). These approaches are difficult to apply to ESL students, so composition instructors often feel frustrated when teaching ESL students. ESL instructors in non-native English language courses, in contrast, recognize L1 influence to prepare for grammatical errors in English writing, thus avoiding frustration.  Awareness of L1 influence allows instructors and students to shift “modes” of thinking, thus avoiding prescriptive grammar instruction (Leki, 1992). In an effort to better integrate native-English and ESL students within the same university composition classroom, I propose that elements of manipulating L1 influence be applied to native-English grammar instruction. This approach would accommodate differences between professional written English (the L2) and learned manners of speaking (the L1) for native speakers, and this grammar instruction would accommodate – not alienate – existing methods of grammar instruction for ESL students.

Catrice Barrett (New York University)

Hip-Hopping Across Shanghai: Global Participation in the Shaping of Local Identity

The globalization of hip-hop has arisen as a byproduct of English as an American export.  China’s recent opening of its doors prompted an influx of foreigners, some of whom bring with them the language, style and technique of global hip-hop.  This case study locates hip-hop language as a site to deepen understanding of an African-American male rapper’s role as it relates to (a) his interaction with and impact on local Chinese hip-hop identity and (b) his strategies for negotiating authenticity and affiliation within a non-native context.  Data for this study were collected through interviews, lyric analysis, recording studio and live performance observations as well as through internet technology, which is used extensively within the Chinese hip-hop community as a tool for disseminating information.  The findings suggest that a teacher/apprentice dynamic exists between the foreign artist and eager young Chinese hip-hop initiates. In addition, the artist employs recontextualization, differentiation and code-switching as discursive strategies to enact hybrid identity and connect with a multilingual, multicultural audience.

Michelle Cauthen with Dr. Ummuhan Yesil-Dagli (East Carolina University)

A Vocabulary Intervention Research for Kindergarten ESOL Students

The purpose of the study is to examine the causal effects of language (e.g., vocabulary knowledge) and literacy (e.g., letter-sound knowledge and word recognition) interventions for kindergarten students on their growth of letter/word recognition, and vocabulary and passage comprehension skills. There will be a randomized controlled trial in which schools will be randomly assigned to the treatment (intervention) and control groups using a lottery system, after certain characteristics of schools (or teachers) are matched. Schools and teachers with kindergarten classrooms will be eligible to participate in the study. Initially, the intervention will be piloted in the chosen schools/classrooms. The vocabulary intervention is being designed will provide systematic and direct vocabulary intervention for kindergarten students. The intervention will include 30 minutes of vocabulary instruction during four days of the school week. Popular children’s books will be selected. Teachers will be provided with a list of 4-5 target vocabulary words, definitions, and examples of word usage sentences for each book. Selected vocabulary words may be verbs, nouns, adjectives, or adverbs. The intervention will include book reading, definition, sentence usage, and acting.

Celestine Davis (East Carolina University)

Learning Strategies of Non-Native Speakers of English at ECU

Increasing numbers of non-native speakers of English in the student population at East Carolina University (ECU) present both a challenge and a responsibility to the current pedagogical paradigm. Over 200 students from fifty-four different countries attend ECU. It is not unusual to have five non-native speakers of English with five different native languages in one class. Identifying their common strengths and weaknesses for a holistic approach to their challenges will be both advantageous and practical. Information garnered directly from the students provides an opportunity for instructors to develop instructional practices that are more applicable to all their students. This study intends to explore and identify preferable learning strategies from among note-taking, instructor facilitated learning conferences, peer to peer mentoring, to the use of native language materials, among others.  The study aims to answer the following questions:  Do non-native speakers employ the same learning strategies as they did before attending an English-speaking institution? Have they adopted new strategies? What instructor facilitated or influenced learning strategies do they find useful?

Saheefa Jaleel (University of Wolverhampton, UK)

Effective Efficacy: Teaching English at a Business School

It is always difficult to make home for teaching and learning in an ESL environment regardless of age and proficiency level. As globalization is setting in, its foundation in Pakistan with many multi-national organizations operating in the region, English language proficiency is the top priority on the list of students’ wants from higher education institutions. The research has indicated that self-efficacy beliefs affect second language acquisition. For this study, the presenter conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with three English language teachers and focus group discussions with 14 students at a private business school in Lahore, Pk. The goal was to understand the phenomenon of self-efficacy as it influences both teachers and students during English language learning. The methodology (modern or traditional) adopted by teachers and positive affective states of students emerged as apparent sources of efficacy. Interpretive analysis led to the conclusion which was represented by a model showing the interrelationship within the phenomenon of self-efficacy. It was noted that innovations (use of songs, movies, modern authentic material and creative classroom activities) introduced by teachers and positive interpersonal teacher-student relationships have a constructive effect on student efficacy; meanwhile, constructive feedback from students is reciprocated by the improved efficacy of teachers, leading to a conducive language-learning outcome.

Whitney Larrimore (East Carolina University)

First-Year Course Instructors’ Attitudes toward Teaching College Students Writing

Teaching first-year college students writing is a two-part effort involving instructors who communicate discourse expectations and students who must meet those expectations when they write and submit papers.  This study examines two questions: 1) How do first-year course instructors perceive students’ attitudes regarding the students’ valuation of writing? and 2) What are first-year writing course instructors’ attitudes regarding the importance of describing their discourse expectations to students?  The investigator created a survey instrument administered through Perseus and surveyed six of twelve first-year writing instructors employed by a private, graduate-level, liberal-arts institution in the North Carolina Sandhills region.  The collected data include the following: 1) demographics of the participants; and 2) detailed attitudinal information in the form of participant narratives. Among the results, participating instructors describe students in largely negative terms; instructors think they adequately describe discourse expectations despite whether they actually do or not; and their narratives imply that the instructor/student relationship is largely adversarial in nature rather than cooperative.

Felicia Pruteanu (Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools)

Poe and Irving’s Approach to Nature: Stylistic Analyses

The current paper is founded on the macro- and micro-stylistics theory promoted by Hulban. The Romanian stylist defines these terms in order to sustain that the stylistic interpretation of the literary discourses may acquire a certain level of objectivity. The aim of this paper is to analyze the stylistic devices using elements of nature that occur in Irving and Poe’s short stories and to trace their function in determining whether nature through its elements operates as a topic, theme, or motif, perceived in, what I refer to as “the perspective of the axis of generality.” The stylistic analysis technique applied in this presentation follows the model launched by Hulban (2004). The starting point is the classical belief that all arts produce harmonious works. Particularly music is characterized by the quality of harmony. Hulban uses the term “periodicity” to emphasize its inherent character in a literary work.  By comparing musical and poetical languages, we find many connections between the two. The operational concepts are borrowed from the theory of music and are perfectly applicable to the stylistic analysis of literary discourses. The writers’ performance to combine stylistic structures at different levels delineates their stylistic matrixes.