JASAL Event at Okayama University, 11th July 2015

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 11, 2015, the Language Education Center (LEC) at Okayama University, in conjunction with its Teacher Development Workshop, invited JASAL members to visit the L-café, its social space for language learning for a JASAL Show & Tell session of student/teacher presentations about self-access centres across the region. This was followed by a presentation by Charles Browne (Meiji Gakuin University), sponsored by the LEC and Okayama JALT.

Introduction to L-café

The afternoon began with a ‘welcome’ and presentations from Okayama University students who gave their perspectives about various aspects of the L-café.

JASAL Show & Tell

After the Okayama student presentations, the event continued with more presentations from students and teachers from institutions in Chugoku, Kansai and Shikoku. Over 60 people attended, from all over the region. Participating universities were:

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies

Hiroshima Shudo University

Otemon Gakuin University (Osaka)

Konan Women’s University (Kobe)

International Pacific University (Okayama)

Kagawa University

IMG_0520

The presenters all gave excellent English presentations about their centres, the opportunities they provide for language learning and some of the challenges that they are facing. After the presentations, students made groups with others from different universities and were set the task of designing their ideal centre. This gave them all chances to discuss what they like about their own spaces and how they’d like to improve them.

IMG_0546At the end of the session, each group gave a mini presentation in English about their ideas.

IMG_0547While the students were designing their ideal centres, teachers, advisors and administrators had a chance to join a JASAL discussion or to attend the Okayama JALT presentation by Charles Browne (details below).

It was an excellent event, and wonderful to see so many students passionate about the language learning spaces at their universities, and eager to make friends with other students from around Japan. IMG_0563A short report on the event has been written for the JALT Learner Development Blog, which can be accessed here:

http://ld-sig.org/talking-points-august-2015/

We hope to organise similar events in other regions across Japan in the near future.

LEC/JALT sponsored presentation by Charles Browne

Following the JASAL presentations there was a presentation entitled “Covering Your Bets: The Reading/High-Frequency Vocabulary Connection” by Charles Browne. The abstract for his talk appears below.

“Covering Your Bets: The Reading/High-Frequency Vocabulary Connection” by Charles Browne

Abstract

This presentation will review and discuss some of the literature on the importance of high frequency vocabulary in helping to improve reading comprehension, the way extensive reading and intensive vocabulary study are complementary and symbiotic learning activities and then introduce several free word lists, online tools and websites that the presenter has developed in order to help students and teachers to work towards improvement in these two very important areas of second language acquisition.

Bio

Dr. Browne is Professor of Applied Linguistics & TESOL, Director of the EFL Teacher-Training Program at Meiji Gakuin University. He is a specialist in Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition and Extensive Reading, especially as they apply to online learning environments, and has written dozens of research articles, books, and textbooks over his 30 years in Japan. In addition to his recent work in creating two important new corpus-based word lists for second language learners known as the New General Service List (NGSL) and the New Academic Word List (NAWL), he has also helped to create a wide variety of research-based language learning and analysis software including ER and EL-focused websites such as the OGTE (Online Graded Text Editor), ER-Central, EnglishCentral, etc, and works hard to share this knowledge with teachers, researchers and software developers through countless presentations, seminars and hand-on workshops around the world.

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