Presentation at Japan Association of Educational Psychology
Like my previous post, this one is also a little late in getting on-line, but for the record, here it is. In November, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan together with some of my colleagues from the Center for English Language Education (CELESE) in Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering in order to conduct and present in a symposium at the Japan Association for Educational Psychology (JAEP). The title of our symposium was "Important issues concerning the communication skills development of students in higher education".
We focused on four somewhat disparate, but not unrelated topics. Emmanuel Manalo, the symposium leader, talked about students' use of diagrams during note-taking in order to comprehend the subject matter better; Chris Sheppard looked at factors influencing the failure rate in university level English courses; Fusa Katada considered how universities in Japan are prepared to deal with students with learning disabilities; and I talked about fluency development based on results from the Corpus of Hesitation Phenomena (pilot). Although the content of my talk was similar to that I presented a few weeks earlier at SLRF in Pittsburgh, I emphasized some results from the corpus which suggests that certain aspects of a learner's first language speech characteristics (especially speech rate), can be used to estimate their second language aptitude.
While very few individual students would struggle with all four of the issues we addressed in this symposium, most if not all educators who run university programs must make decisions about how all of these issues influence the design of their programs. We were able to attract a modest audience, many of whom stayed for the entire symposium. We had originally planned to spend our 2.5 hour block with thirty minutes for each presentation with thirty minutes left over at the end for general discussion. However, interest in each talk was so high that the respective Q&A times took longer and we had no time for the final discussion. All in all, it was a great experience and a valuable interaction.
The conference itself was one of those mammoth conferences with hundreds of (more than a thousand?) oral and poster presentations. Everything was run very professionally with strict attention to the clock in order to keep events synchronized all over the Ryukyu University campus where the conference was held. It was yet another stimulating experience.