Hi, folks. After a long day hopping between workshops, fraternizing with my peers, and viewing poster sessions, I am totally exhausted from information overload. As I stated earlier, it is exciting to meet and be around so many people in the same stage of their TESOL careers as I am, but that excitement can wear a body down. Luckily I’ve got an hour to kill before Howard Gardner’s plenary speech. Maybe I’ll find a quiet corner to nap in.
One of the highlights from the Graduate Student Forum for me was a demonstration of teaching vocabulary using pop culture and advertising pitches. Not only were the activities great, but I took away a great metaphor: vocabulary words are like buttons: the more thread you use to sew them on, the faster they will stay. (The thread is repetition of use, BTW.) I also really enjoyed a presentation titled “Teaching Pragmatics in Context” by two students from San Franisco State University. Pragmatics are one of the hardest elements of teaching or learning a language, but the presenters deftly outlined the major issues and some basic communicative strategies for addressing them. The third presentation that really stuck out for me was called “Developing L2 Literacy through Japanese Folktales.” The presenter, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, shared research using English translations of Japanese folktales with high school students in Japan. This strategy is helpful because the students already know the stories and the cultural schemata associated with them. Such familiarity allows the student to focus on form and vocabulary without unknown cultural information getting in the way.
I also saw a number of great poster presentations, including a few on English as an International Language (World English), strategies for teaching embedded clauses, pronunciation teaching, and extensive reading (a favorite subject of mine). All in all, the 2010 TESOL Graduate Student Forum seemed to me like a great success.
Signing off for now–check back tomorrow for a full report of the larger convention.