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Lighthouse Summer Symposium 2014

Lighthouse Summer Symposium

Lexical Bridges to Academic Success
A symposium on meeting ESL students where they are
and leading them to success.

Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21, 2014
Big Rapids, Michigan

The 2014 Lighthouse Summer Symposium at Ferris State will run for two full days, from June 20 and 21, 2014.  All presentations will take place on Big Rapids campus of Ferris State University (Big Rapids is an hour north of Grand Rapids).  The format will be similar to last year’s symposium, only better.  Our planning has been greatly informed by the feedback from last year’s attendees.  The overarching goal of our symposium this year is to focus intensively on vocabulary teaching and learning.  In other words, we want to organize sessions that are more workshop-style and collegial, where the attendees are actively engaged with the presenter in exploring the pedagogy and innovative best practices addressing issues pertaining to vocabulary teaching and learning.  Besides the working sessions, we want to allow time for the attendees to rub shoulders or network professionally in a less formal setting.  So, the schedule will include slots for "tea time" and lighter evening activities in the summer ambiance of West Michigan. 

As ESL instructors, we all have one goal in mind:  to lead our students to academic success.  But our students come in all shapes and forms.  That is to say, we have to meet our students where they are, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan for guiding our students to accomplish their goals.  We recognize that the students enrolling in our programs often don’t come fully equipped with all the necessary cognitive and study skills to rapidly acquire the requisite English in order to transition to their chosen fields of study at the university, which they have to accomplish within a limited period of time.  In this year’s symposium, we aspire to address one of the vital "gaps" in our students’ cognitive academic language proficiencies: Vocabulary.    David Wilkins succinctly made the case for vocabulary back in 1976:  "...without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed."

While there may be many "gaps" that an ESL instructor or an IEP program has to bridge in order to transition students to their chosen academic field, we intend to focus on vocabulary for these following reasons:

  • Research has shown that students with a greater vocabulary have greater reading comprehension
  • Improving students' basic and academic vocabulary as a means to spur faster acquisition of L2.
  • Better vocabulary means better academic success

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Jonathan Newton
School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Dr. Newton is a senior lecturer Director of the BEd(TESOL) programme in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked in language teaching and language teacher training for almost thirty years in both New Zealand and China where he began his teaching career. His research focuses on a range of areas including vocabulary teaching and learning, task-based language teaching, the interface of culture and language in language teaching and learning, and language/communication training and materials design for the multicultural workplace. He has published more than 45 articles in a range of books, and in journals including: Language Learning, Language Teaching Research. Second Language Research, The Journal of Second Language Writing, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, System, Language Teaching Research, Journal of Pragmatics, English Language Teaching Journal, and Modern English Teacher. He has co-authored two books, one with Professor Paul Nation, Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking (2009), and a second with Nicky Riddiford, Workplace talk in action: An ESOL resource (2010).

Keynote: Transforming learning outcomes through a principled approach to vocabulary teaching and learning in every part of a programme
As far back as 1976 David Wilkins made the well-known comment that "without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed‟. And yet many programmes still treat vocabulary as the poor cousin to carefully constructed grammatical syllabi or as a necessary hurdle to jump in order to achieve comprehension of a set text. But this need not be so. Findings from a large body of research on vocabulary teaching and learning over the past 25 years offer teachers a rich source of guidance in this area and particularly in relation to the efficacy of the often derided practice of deliberate vocabulary learning (e.g. memorization using word cards). In this talk I will tease out from this research a set of simple, practical principles that can help teachers transform their vocabulary teaching and ensure that rich vocabulary learning opportunities are present in every part of the programme (including the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing).

Workshop: Achieving vocabulary learning goals THROUGH classroom communication tasks
In communicative and task-based approaches to language teaching and learning it’s common for learners to meet unfamiliar words incidentally or struggle to find words for the meanings they wish to express as they pursue communicative goals. This can be off-putting for learners and teachers alike and can turn them both back to more traditional approaches to language teaching and learning, including the all too common but often inefficient ‘chalk and talk’ time at the whiteboard pre-teaching words the learners will meet or need. What are the implications of these challenges for the design of tasks and for improving the teaching and learning of vocabulary through a task-based curriculum? In this workshop we will explore some findings from research that has addressed this question. We will then critically examine a series of sample classroom tasks and together explore ways that they could be redesigned to ensure much richer vocabulary engagement opportunities. Our aim will be to highlight principled ways that teachers can help their learners to enlarge and enrich their vocabulary through communication tasks.

Dr. John D. Bunting

Dr. Bunting co-wrote Grammar and Beyond 4 (Cambridge University Press, 2013), revised Vocabulary in Use High Intermediate (McCarthy, O'Dell, and Bunting, Cambridge University Press, 2010), and wrote College Vocabulary 4 (Cengage, 2006). He is a senior lecturer in the Intensive English Program at Georgia State University, where he has been teaching academic writing to ESL students as well as grammar, technology, and practicum courses for Applied Linguistics MA students. His research and pedagogy interests include L2 vocabulary learning/teaching, the intersection of L2 writing and grammar, technology in language learning, corpus tools for language teachers, and teacher education.

Keynote: Innovation, vocabulary, and corpus tools
Innovation can often seem to be both a blessing and a curse for language teachers in their busy professional lives. However, innovation is rarely achieved painlessly, and the notion that innovation somehow typically proceeds in a linear fashion is false (Hyland & Wong, 2013). In the area of vocabulary acquisition, some claim that English language teaching is lagging behind other areas such as lexicography in the effective use of technology, specifically in the use of corpus tools. We will consider the various aspects of vocabulary knowledge (Nation, 2001; Schmitt, 2000) as they pertain to language learners, along with the practical considerations that language teachers must address when faced with the challenge of learning, evaluating, and implementing potential innovations in their classrooms (Bunting, Gobron, & Snell, 2013; Cortes, 2013). The emerging area of tools based on corpus data analysis, which has powerful implications for vocabulary learning and teaching, will be considered, from a perspective of the creators of the tools (Hyland, 2013) as well as from language teachers who are being asked to integrate them into their professional lives.

Workshop: Expanding vocabulary development through innovative use of corpus tools by classroom teachers
In this workshop participants will explore a range of tools (primarily connected to knowledge gained through the use of corpus tools) designed to help learners expand their vocabulary knowledge and make connections between vocabulary, grammar, and the successful process of writing in a second language. For each tool, we will examine what it is, how it works, the learning curve involved for teachers and for students, and the possible ROII (return on instructional investment), which varies from institution to institution and from instructor to instructor. Participants will reflect on how such tools could work in their own real classroom settings, and discuss ways to modify tools to make them more effective in their specific settings. We will also consider the role of various stakeholders in exploring and perhaps embracing innovation in vocabulary development for our learners. These stakeholders include our institutions, our administrators, teachers as a collective, teachers individually, and students.

Tentative Symposium Schedule

Symposium Schedule

Friday, June 20, 2014
9:00 – 9:15 AM Welcoming remarks by various individuals
9:15 – 10:15 AM Keynote: Dr. Jonathan Newton
10:30 – 12:00 PM First Workshop
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 PM Second Workshop
3:00 – 4:30 PM Tea Time
4:30 – 6:30 PM Third Workshop
6:30 – 8:00 PM Dinner
8:00 – 10:00 PM Evening Program
Saturday, June 21, 2014
8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15 AM Welcoming Remarks by various individuals
9:15 – 10:15 AM Keynote: John David Bunting
10:30 – 12:00 PM Fourth Workshop
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 3:00 PM Fifth Workshop
3:00 – 4:30 PM Tea Time
4:30 – 6:30 PM Sixth Workshop
6:30 – 8:00 PM Closing Remarks & Dinner
8:00 – 10:00 PM Evening Program