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ACS World Language Workshop - A Blended Learning Approach

October 20, 2014

4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Tucker Multimedia Center - 408 Tucker Hall

Dick Kuettner

Dr. Doreen Ewert
University of San Francisco

Workshop Title: "Vocabulary Development"

Workshop Description: Many language students arrive in university foreign language programs with little to no productive ability in the foreign (FL) or second language (SL). Even when they have previously engaged in classroom language study, they demonstrate limited fluency or accuracy in spontaneous use of the FL or SL. In some cases, the accuracy-oriented language curricula many of these students received in their primary and secondary training have contributed to this deficit in fluency. For this reason, it is important that language courses meant to support these students’ ongoing foreign or second language proficiency development should maximize production by focusing on fluency and vocabulary development.

Fluency is the component of proficiency that reflects the learners’ ability to use the language with a “sense of comfort, confidence and control”, which results from learners having opportunities to express their ideas quickly and continuously without fear of having their incomplete language systems critiqued for inaccuracies (Mayher, Lester, and Pradl, 1983). Research on the teaching and learning of reading, writing, listening, and speaking supports attention on fluency development apart from accuracy-focused activity (Dapke, 2013; Ewert, 2011; Nation, 2000; Robb and Kano, 2014; Waring, 2009; Wood, 2001, 2006). In addition, a focus on fluency is particularly relevant for vocabulary development. The leading vocabulary acquisition researcher, I.S. P. Nation (2000), claims that fluency building activity should make up 25 percent of any language curriculum. Although there is definitely a role for explicit instruction in vocabulary development, that along without fluency work will be inadequate for the breadth of vocabulary and speed of acquisition desired by most students and expected in many language programs. To date, however, attention to fluency-building is not systematically evident in FL or SL textbooks, and methodologies for fluency development are not that common in language teacher coursework.

In this Internet workshop, participants will consider principles of implicit and explicit learning and instruction, discuss recent research on fluency development and vocabulary acquisition, and participate in a range of fluency and vocabulary development tasks and activities across the four skills, including an introduction to extensive reading and listening.

Workshop Leader Bio: Dr. Doreen Ewert is Associate Professor and Director of the Academic English for Multilingual Students Program in the Department of Rhetoric and Language at the University of San Francisco, where she also teaches graduate courses in TESOL, undergraduate courses in linguistics, and English for Academic Purposes courses for matriculated international students. She does research on various aspects of second language literacy development, fluency development, extensive reading, language teacher development, and curricular innovation and implementation.

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