Mind the Gap: Bridging the Researcher-Teacher Divide @ Wells Hall, B-Wing
Apr 13 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

This mini-conference event brings researchers and teachers together in dialogue around the questions “Do teachers care about research?” and “Do researchers care about teachers?” Plenary session presentations by researcher Dr. Masatoshi Sato (Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile) and a language educator (TBD) will be followed by a mixer in smaller break-out rooms, where language researchers and language teachers will engage in guided but informal dialogue. The event will conclude with a Town Hall-style forum, facilitated by MSU’s Second Language Studies program chair, Dr. Shawn Loewen.

SOSLAP Movie Night: “Arrival” @ Wells Hall B210
Apr 18 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Come nerd out with us as we host another language-acquisition-themed movie night with the film “Arrival”

What: Movie night + free snacks and drinks

When: Thursday April 18th 4 – 6 pm

Where: Wells Hall B21

Who: all associated with the SLS and MA-TESOL program and their students, friends, and family!

C&C lecture by Dr. Nick Ellis @ Ernst Bessy Hall 307
Apr 19 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Coffee and Cognition will invite Dr. Nick Ellis as an invited guest speaker on April 19, 2019 from 1pm-2pm. He has also kindly agreed to meet and talk with students before and after the lecture. We are in awe of being able to invite a respected scholar such as Dr. Ellis. Everyone interested is welcomed and please mark your calendar!


Usage-based approaches to the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax

Usage-based approaches to language learning hold that we learn constructions (form-function mappings, conventionalized in a speech community) from language usage by means of general cognitive mechanisms (exemplar-based, rational, associative learning). The language system emerges from the conspiracy of these associations. Although frequency of usage drives learning, not all constructions are equally learnable by all learners. Even after years of exposure, adult second language learners focus more in their language processing upon open-class words than on grammatical cues. I present a usage-based analysis of this phenomenon in terms of fundamental principles of associative learning: Low salience, low contingency, and redundancy all lead to form-function mappings being less well learned. Compounding this, adult acquirers show effects of learned attention and blocking as a result of L1-tuned automatized processing of language. I review a series of experimental studies of learned attention and blocking in second language acquisition (L2A). I describe educational interventions targeted upon these phenomena. Form-focused instruction recruits learners’ explicit, conscious processing capacities and allows them to notice novel L2 constructions. Once a construction has been represented as a form-function mapping, its use in subsequent implicit processing can update the statistical tallying of its frequency of usage and probabilities of form-function mapping, consolidating it into the system.

Irina Zaykovskaya’s Dissertation Defense @ B243 Wells
Apr 25 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Dissertation Trailer:

Come and support Irina Zaykovskaya as she defends her SLS Ph.D. dissertation.

Title: Remarkable U.S. English LIKE on a university campus: Native and non-native usage, perceptions and attitudes

Date: April 25

Time: 11:00 am

Place: B-243, Wells Hall

Co-advisors: Suzanne Wagner & Sue Gass

Committee members: Patti Spinner, Peter De Costa

Khaled Barkaoui, Talk about analyzing test repeaters’ data @ B243, Wells Hall
Apr 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Dan Isbell’s Dissertation Defense @ B342 Wells
May 1 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Come support Daniel Isbell as he defends his Ph.D. Dissertation on Diagnostic Language Assessment. Dan will be back from South Korea where he spent a year with a Dissertation Support Grant from the U.S. Fulbright Program. The committee membership includes Dan’s Fulbright/Korean-site mentor, SLS alumnus Dr. Junkyu Lee (MSU SLS 2009), who is now Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of TESOL at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where Dan collected most of his data.


Guest speaker: Dr. Kristof Savski @ Wells Hall B243
Aug 20 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

‘Native only’ – examining how white privilege in TESOL is constructed, upheld and challenged in Facebook groups for migrant teachers of English in Thailand

Recent critical examinations of the concepts of ‘nativeness’ and ‘native speaker’ have underlined its embeddedness both in historically-conditioned geopolitical inequalities as well as its close association with ideologies of race. These play a key role in particular in TESOL, where ‘native speakers’ continue to be routinely seen as ideal teachers and models for learners. While such a preference is routinely critiqued as a manifestation of white privilege, it is important to note that such hegemonic ideologies are constructed and upheld through concrete actions in discourse, through concrete social actions, and that the discourse around them also opens windows in which such hegemony may be challenged. This presentation will focus on how such discursive struggle plays out around TESOL job advertisements in Facebook groups for migrant teachers of English in Thailand. While these groups cater to a highly diverse population of teachers, one which includes both traditional ‘expats’ (i.e. whites from Anglophone nations) as well as numerous teachers of other nationalities and ethnic backgrounds (i.e. whites from non-Anglophone nations as well as large numbers of Asians and Africans), the job advertisements posted in them largely favour the former, with many job offers explicitly stating that only ‘native speakers’ may apply. This presentation will share the preliminary results of a critical discourse analysis of language used in these adverts and the comments posted below them by group members. I will focus particularly on the discursive actions made by particular actors to enforce the hegemonic ideology – native-speakerism – and on the moves that attempted to subvert and challenge this ideology in different ways.

Pizza! & combined MATESOL/SLS Orientation @ B243 Wells
Aug 21 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Come to the combined MATESOL/SLS orientation on Wednesday, August 21, 11am – 1pm; Wells B243.  We will have pizza galore!

SLS New Student Orientation @ B243 Wells Hall
Aug 22 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

This session from 9 AM to 12 noon is for the new cohort of 2019 Second Language Studies (SLS) students. The SLS Faculty will join this group at 11 AM. Lunch and a meeting with the returning students will follow at noon, and a meeting with all students is from 1 to 2 PM. Potluck is at 5:30 PM. More info on the Potluck (where it is, how to get their, car-pool info) will be given out at the morning meeting. New students do not need to bring anything to the Potluck.

SLS Lunch @ B243 Wells Hall
Aug 22 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

All SLS students, faculty, and staff are welcome to lunch at noon! A meeting with all students follows from 1 to 2 PM. Potluck is at 5:30 PM. More info on the Potluck (where it is, how to get their, car-pool info) will be given out at the morning meeting. New students do not need to bring anything to the Potluck.