Workshops on Technology & Second Language Acquisition

[Lecturers & Freelancers]


Report

Workshop on Second Language Acquisition – RIESI, Faculty Members

Day 1: 28 April, 2015

Workshop on Second Language Acquisition (SLA) started as scheduled at the Regional Institute of English, South India on 28 April 2015 as part of faculty development programme. A very informal inauguration set the workshop. Dr. Karen Price, Lecturer, School of Education, the University of Boston, USA was welcomed by the Director, Mr. Narasimhaiah with a flower bouquet. Mr. Hitesh C Bhakat, coordinator and POC introduced the members of the faculty, RIESI to Dr. Karen Price and explained the goals of the workshop on SLA. Academic session followed immediately after the inauguration.

Second language acquisition entails three important aspects. Helping learners explore macro-skills; exploring the language, investigating components that constitute a language; and supporting learning. In other words, mastery over vocabulary, grammar, discourse; and supporting language learners in developing command over the language can be channelized through diverse learning styles, individual strategies, intelligence questions, multiple intelligences through a compatible methods of teaching. Second language learning is a complex activity of raising awareness in multiple aspects of language. While developing language skills emphasises awareness of conscious effort of harnessing listening, speaking, reading and writing; exploring language comprises conceptualization of use of morphological items, basic sentence structure and use of cohesive devices. Supporting learning stresses on language practitioners’ deliberate efforts to help learners manipulate rules to express ideas and emotions both in oral and written communication in diverse contexts.

Workshop conducted by Dr. Karen price raised some issues on SLA through language teachers’ existing beliefs in the form of a survey questionnaire. A threadbare discussion followed on the issues highlighting use of multiples materials used in learning new languages and the validity of success of such material followed by exchange of recent issues on SLA and Krashen’s concept of comprehensible input and monitoring model in second language teaching. A participatory mode of the workshop led to new insights of various pros and cons of principles of SLA. The argument brought out the fact that while Krashen’s model highlighted the positive evidence in language acquisition,  the negative evidences were found to be equally important in raising awareness in the language practitioners and learners. Emphasis on learners’ efforts on being aware of their progress by developing linguistic sensibility through the tasks of input-providing and output-prompting, from explicit explanation to implicit conceptualization and vice-versa appeared to be crucial in second language learning. In other words, while explicit correction is important in helping learner become aware of learning progress, the technique of recast remains more implicit, which many learners might ignore. On the other hand, elicitation, repetition and asking for clarification act as propeller in output-prompting of learner language use in SLA. While elicitation is more explicit, repetition and clarification request act as more implicit prompt. The first day workshop ended with a positive task of learners’ effort of understanding and correcting individual use of language in a non-native context. All the members of the faculty were found exulted about the recent trends of second language acquisition through the dynamism of Dr. Price’s deliberation focusing all the aforementioned three aspects of language use. One of the most impressive aspects of the day’s proceedings was the presence of the Director, Mr. Narasimhaiah’s active participation in various activities conducted throughout the day. The first day of the workshop enthused the members of the faculty raising new issues of SLA.  The workshop remained a very memorable and illuminating experience for the reporter.

Day 2 – 29 April, 2015

A session with innovative ideas of teaching can be life-changing. The day 2 of the ongoing workshop on SLA and Technology was squeezed by one hour for the benefit of 89 participants of on-going Postgraduate Diploma in English Language Teaching (PGDELT) at the institute. Dr. Karen Price’s address on ‘Error Analysis and Corrective Feedback’ remained an eye-opening session for the participants. Participants were highly benefitted from her talk. Distributing two handouts to the participants, Dr. Price made the participants understand the importance of explicit and implicit corrective feedback in raising learners’ awareness in self correction in second language acquisition in non-native contexts.

The workshop for the members of the faculty of RIESI began at 11.30. Although, the session was to be on ‘Use of Technology,’ Dr. Price had to continue her discussion on SLA on demand. Continuing her discussion on Explicit and implicit knowledge of SLA, Dr. Price enlightened the members of the faculty how formal assessment could check just the explicit knowledge of language learning. Focusing on ‘elicited imitation’, Dr. Price elucidated the concept of ‘priming.’ Raising issues on role of output whether it tests hypothesis, develop skills of noticing, meta-linguistic functions and/or modified output following feedback, Dr. Price elicited the comments of the members. Dr. Price emphasized on conceptualization of SLA and elaborated difference between ‘learning to speak English’ and ‘speaking to learn English.’ Dr. Price further talked about raising awareness among language teachers to check how each activity practiced in the language class could enable student learn English. Language teachers’ primary job being forcing learners initiate their self repair in the form of explanation, asking for clarification and additional information, an integrated focus on form as part of the recent research should also find a place in SLA practice. Considering the needs, instructions both unobtrusive and obtrusive suggestions in tasks like input flood, task-essential language, input enhancement, negotiation, recast, output enhancement, interaction enhancement, dictogloss, consciousness raining tasks, input processing and garden path types of tasks find priorities in a SLA class. Answering queries of the members of faculty, Dr. Price elaborated the points and enlightened the members of the faculty on the issues of difference between child and adult language learning focusing Krashen’s LAD, Chomsky’s UG and Ledo’s ‘Hierarchy Difficulty.’  The interactive session on aforementioned issues made the day a very illuminating and enlightening.

Workshop on Tech Solutions in Low-Tech Contexts – RIESI, Faculty Members

Day 3: 30 April, 2015

Technology has brought tremendous change in education system. Development of language theories and research in psycholinguistics have influenced in the Second Language Acquisition. While the use of technology has enabled researchers and practitioners provide positive exposure in second language acquisition, frequent changes in the concept and the use of technology has created dilemma and confusion. Considering the perplexity of technology use in second language acquisition Dr. Karen price began the workshop eliciting comments of members of the faculty regarding paradigm shift on 21st century Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). Dr. Price elaborated upon shift from Desktop computer to modern electronic equipment available in classroom language practices, benefits of on-line course on professional development, virtual world, speech synthesis with emotional aspects of language use, role of Skype, smart phone, audio pens, stylus-based, paper-based technologies, key board mice, live scribe pen and so on.    

Understanding purposes of technology in second language acquisition reduces misuse of technology in classroom practices. Dr. Karen Price focused her discussion on three aspects of language learning; namely, interactions in the classroom, platforms for creating an environment in language use and facilitating participants’ use of target language through use of technology. Highlighting importance of networking in language use, Dr. Price focused on the point as to how use of technology could create an atmosphere of arrangement that assist automation of language use.

Familiarity of recent development of technology in second language acquisition creates positive evidence of 21st century language classroom. Talking about use of multi-media, text, video and audio in creating augmented reality Dr. Price enlightened members of the faculty on apps like aurasma, voxxy, google glass translator, mobile translator, word-lens and so on. Commenting on ‘Gesture-based interfaces and sheer neglect on handwriting due to keyboard operation in techno-based learning, Dr. Price stressed importance of psychomotor skills of learners and aspects physical handwriting in paper. While use of technology overlooks and hampers language acquisition, deliberate and conscious efforts on the part of teachers might help SL learners developing language learning. Considering urgency of this aspect of second language acquisition, Dr. Price highlighted the paper-based technology available for classroom practices. Focusing on importance of synchronizing audio, video and text with objects, Dr. Price focused how language practitioners could take advantage of social networking in using the prescribed textbook.

Making language learners independent in second language use, becoming independent (BYOD) is important. Keeping in track from overwhelmed flood of information in internet, Dr. Karen Price illuminated members of the faculty with hands-on-experience of capturing websites in limited internet or low tech contexts. Dr Price showcased and made the members practically practice the use of plickers, Lit2Go, HT Tracker, Site sucker, Jing for screen recording, clip converter, MicNote, PLN, learning2gether, webheadsinaction.org, Calico, LLT, symbaloo, werti and noredink for classroom practice in low-tech context. The workshop remained one of the best experiences of the members of the faculty. The three day workshops ended with the valedictory address delivered by the Director of RIESI, Mr. Narasimhaiah appreciating Dr. Karen Price’s deliberation and RELO’s kind gestures in providing her services to the Institute.


SLA Workshop for College Lecturers and Free-lancers (1-2 May 2015)

Day 1: 1 May, 2015

The workshop began at 10.30 am. The coordinator introduced the delegates to Dr. Karen and the Director of RIESI Mr. Narasimhaiah inaugurated the workshop. Academic session began soon after. Out of 30 delegates registered for the workshop, 24 delegated from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu participated the workshop.

Eliciting beliefs of second language practitioners on a select survey report, Dr. Karen Price made delegates familiar with the u-shaped learning of second language. Dr. Price further elaborated and elicited comments on rule-based and exemplar-based second language learning. The post-lunch session was on diverse activities on repair and initiation in SLA. Each activity remained eye-opening for the delegates. Dr. Karen Price highlighted that second language acquisition was to develop interactional competence of learner. Continuing the session, Dr. Price introduced and elaborated the practice of Marsden test. Marsden tests which mere tests explicit language knowledge may not be that important in raising awareness of interactional competence of language learners in second language acquisition. The delegates actively participated in all the activities and found the workshop interesting and illuminating.

Day 2: 2 May, 2015

Day 2 workshop began on “Back Channelling Signals.” It was an interactive session. Dr. Karen Price elicited comments from delegates on the issues citing examples like ‘oh? Uh- Huh!, Yes, Right, Ok, Really.’ Commenting on the importance of comprehension in real time communication, Dr. Price demonstrated the role play example of bad communication and importance of language instructions in second language class. Dr. Price focused on the idea of helping students find the words by asking, “what it is not, what it is, what it is like who, where is it used, and so on. Answering the questions of delegates on order and importance of macro skills, and supporting the importance, Dr. Price elaborated the uses of brain in reading. Other activities conducted in the discussion of second language acquisition are invisible gorilla, and rule formation of rules in the activity of ul/ne and gi/ro in an artificial language to develop awareness in SLA rules.

Post-lunch session began with delegates’ comments on focus on form, and function/ meaning of language as provided in the language use in the form of handout. Communication of diverse types activating the challenges of making language learners aware of form, function and meaning were practiced.

Feedback of Delegates

Feedback of participants attending workshop throws new light for organizing future programme. Delegates attending workshop on Second Language Acquisition conducted by Dr. Karen price was found to be crucial in planning future course of action. Out of 24 delegates registered, 2 of them submitted their feedback forms. The feedback form has five areas: (1) How useful was the workshop, (2) whether the workshop has met their expectations, (3) the most useful things they learned in the workshop, (4) Suggestions for improvement, and (5) Some topics they would like to suggest for the next workshop.

Question-wise Feedback:

Question No. 1. How useful was the workshop?

Out of 24 delegates twenty two (22) submitted their feedback. Of them, thirteen (13) delegates found the workshop very useful and nine (9) found it useful.

Question No. 2. The workshop has met my expectations.

Out of 22 delegates, twelve (12) delegates found that the workshop met their expectation to great extent, while ten (10) reported that the workshop met their expectation to some extent.

Question No. 3. The most useful things I learned in the workshop.

The delegates reported that they learned:

How to

  • correct minor errors through recasting,
  • help students develop second language,
  • enhance learner conversation,
  • use new strategies in SLA,
  • initiate team discussion,
  • organize activities for problem solving in SLA
  • apply innovative strategies SLA classroom in simple way,
  • organize learning strategies, error correction in SLA classroom, taking language use beyond classroom
  • generate new ideas and share in the class,
  • correct teaching method in SLA,

The delegate also learned that

  • learning is not coaching but pragmatics, engaging students in conversation using target, use of strategies in ESL class,
  • both implicit and explicit teaching are necessary,
  • it is necessary to conduct survey needs and expectations in SLA,
  • there is a need of developing speaking skills in SLA, comprehension in SLA, communication strategies, subtle differences in using grammatical items, and prompting students in using SLA in contexts. 

Question No. 4. Suggestions for improvement

Delegates attending the workshop on SLA suggested some very important needs of conducting future workshops. Some of the important issues were: more on learning strategies, solving day to day SLA classroom problems at college level, more on practical than theoretical activities, activities on integrated language skills, use of technology in SLA, collaboration among ELT practitioners, more of role play tasks, follow up workshops, diverse approaches of engaging students in language practices, techniques of enhancing student participation in SLA, and so on. 

Question No. 5. Some topics I’d like to suggest for the next workshop.

Some of the topics suggested for future workshop were on phonetics and spoken English, demonstration, cognitive strategies in SLA, need analysis of learner, lesson plans at college level, communication skills, technology integrated language teaching, SLA in multilingual contexts, assessment of language skills in SLA, cultural challenges in SLA, translating theory of SLA in practice, skill-based language teaching, strategy-based SLA, learning to read and reading to learn, activity-oriented language teaching, language teaching in Indian contexts, helping students solving problems in GRE, TOFEL and IELTS, and helping slow learners in SLA.


Workshop on Technology for College Lecturers and Free-lancers (4-6 May 2015)

Day 1: 4 May, 2015

Workshop on Technology Solution in Low Tech Situations began at 10.00 am at the conference hall of RIESI. A total of 19 delegates joined the workshops. The delegates were from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Coordinator of the workshop Mr. Hitesh C Bhakat welcomed the dignitaries and delegates. Director, RIESI Mr. Narasimhaiah inaugurated the programme. Mrs. Uzma Raheel, Lecturer, RIESI proposed vote of thanks.

Academic session began at 10.15 am. Dr. Karen Price eliciting responses from delegates on their local contexts and availability of resources in their classrooms began the academic session on the use of ‘plickers.’ Dr. Price made delegates use the cards and tablets provided to them. The session continued with hands-on-experience of use of technology. The session continued till the lunch break. The delegates remained active throughout the session. Answering queries on best tools and technology uses in the classroom for SLA, Dr. Price further elaborated talking about ‘PICO’ projection and audio system. Discussion on ‘Schoology’ (LMS) website and its classroom activities for SLA continued till the lunch break. The post-lunch session was on hands-on-experience of use of ‘SLA Tasks using Schoology.’ The delegates were practically facilitated in using ‘Schoology Learning System’ in designing SLA tasks. The first day workshop remained very illuminating exercises for the delegates.

Day 2: 5 May, 2015

The Day 2 of Tech Solutions for Low-Tech Situations began with positive note. Internet Connections and other accessories needed to conduct the workshop found working very nicely. Dr. Karen Price began academic discussion on paradigm shift from Desktop Internet- Computing, Virtual Worlds and Games to Mobile Devices. Focusing on Pen-Based Audio Books to apps like Leaf-Frog (set up) I-pad Writing Games, Dr. Price divided delegates into three groups, and facilitated them practice speech synthesis by enabling them connect to www.letterschool.com, and http://onlinetonegenerator.com. Talking about Stylus-based and Paper-based Technology, Dr. Price helped delegates practiced ‘live scribe’ and showed how to turn words into action. Referring to translator like DRAGON (Nuance) Dr. Price focused more on Handwriting Recognition (Apps) Translator. Introducing ‘Augmented Reality, Dr. Price helped the delegates practice and create augmented text for their classroom use. Introducing Aurasma, and ‘my poster’ Dr. Price clarified delegates’ queries by citing own experience of software on the campus use in Boston University for foreign students. Further talking about Location-based apps Dr. Price talked about ‘WOICES’ TOOZLA’ and ‘Woxxy.’ Since some such apps were costly, Dr. Price advised delegates to use free ‘PIVOT’, Guttenberg, ‘schoology.’ 

The post-lunch session began with ‘Tablets with Game-pieces.’ Dr. Price made delegates work in groups and enabled them to have hands-on-experience. The delegates practiced diverse games like OSMO Game, letter-games by low-cost audio pen language games. The post lunch session was very practical in nature and made delegates learn, practice and present their group work to the whole class. Giving home assignment of Day 3 assignment on ‘Mic Note,’ ‘Curriculet’ and ‘Thinklink’ Dr. Price set two objectives for the day: how to use ‘google dos’ and on-going learning of the post-workshop. The workshop remained an eye-opening for all.

Day 3: 6 May, 2015

The Day 3 workshop on Tech Solutions in Low Tech Situations began with issues on Grammar and Words in SLA. Considering internet problems, Dr. Price elicited comments on rule and meaning-based use of language by citing ‘Noredink’ web and elaborated how the process of very sign up makes students develop implicit rules of language. Citing examples of using CORCODANCING in leaning the use of ‘have to’ and ‘must’ Dr. Price made delegates understand the meaning of words and how the usage differed from the meaning provided in dictionaries. Using web titled ‘WERTI’ Dr. Price made the delegates aware of different topics of explicit grammar practices. The post lunch session which focussed on ‘google drive’ and ‘micnote’ enabled the delegates practice in developing students’ sharing of group activity and teachers’ feedback on the work. Eliciting comments on use of technology, Dr. Price elaborated the usefulness of such technology in real time classroom language use with limited internet facility classroom.

Administrative Officer of RELO, American Embassy Ms. Shweta Khanna, who kindly paid her visit to oversee the workshop, elaborated diverse scopes for continuous professional development (CPD) of Second Language Practitioners through RELO. 

The highlight of the workshop was capturing articles, images, videos, and entire websites from the internet to use offline.  Participants seemed to also particularly find the screen recording software (with or without their voice) quite useful.  Other software find special mention which can be used offline was voice recording synchronized with text (MicNote) and Curriculet (reading software).  The delegates got a chance to visit website like schoology with a great deal of information and links created for participants which they would be able to use after the close of the workshop.

The 3 day workshop ended with a very small valedictory function. Delegates shared their experiences on the workshops. Coordinator read formal report followed by valedictory address by Mr. Narasimhaiah, Director, RIESI. Dr. S. Venkateswaran, Professor, RIESI proposed vote of thanks.

The coordinator expressed his gratitude to RELO for giving the chance to host the workshop conducted by Dr. Karen Price at RIESI and Director of RIESI for entrusting the responsibility to coordinate the workshop.

Feedback of Delegates (Workshop on Tech Solutions in Low-Tech Situations)

A total of 20 delegates registered for the workshop and 19 delegates participated in it. Out 19, 18 delegates submitted their feedback. There were five aspects on which feedback was sought. They are (a) usefulness, (b) meeting of expectations, (c) most important learning, (d) suggestions for improvement, and (e) suggestions on topic for future workshops. All the delegates found the workshop very useful. Out of 18, 17 delegates expressed that the workshop had met their expectations. The most useful benefits the delegates accrued in the workshop were hands-on-experience of technology use, various strategies of use of technology in SLA, use of technology in classroom, use of curriculet, schoology, getting resources from various web, mentoring students through technology, professional growth, use of internet for effective use of materials. In response to the suggestions sought for further improvement, all the delegates found the workshop excellent. The topics suggested for future workshops were communication skills, joyful learning at college level, innovative techniques in SLA, trainer skills of conducting workshop, CPD, critical thinking, and so on.


Dr. Karen Price

Lecturer, School of Education, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Doctorate, Applied Linguistics (with highest honors), Faculte des Lettres, Besancon, France. M.A., New York University and Maitrise, Applied Linguistics (with highest honors). Dr. Price is specialized in Second Language Acquisition, Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Educational Contexts for Emerging Technology, Second and Foreign Language Methodologies and English as Second Language.

Dr. Price has published several articles and chapters in many authoritative books on Second Language Acquisition and Technology, she has acted as Keynote and Plenary Speaker in many International Conferences, conducted workshops and has presented numerous papers in various conferences in difference countries.