Second Language Acquisition - Theory and Pedagogy: Proceedings of the 6th Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference.
May 12 - 13, 2007. Sendai, Japan: Tohoku Bunka Gakuen University. (p. i).


The 6th Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference was held at Tohoku Bunka Gakuen University in Sendai, Japan on May 12th and 13th, 2007. The articles in this collection give only a small glimpse of the many and varied presentations given that weekend. They represent the diverse perspectives of the various groups that sponsored this event.
The opening work by John Wiltshier considers the validity of using concepts derived from evidence-based practice theory to language teaching. The author suggests two different levels of evidence for education research. Whereas broad policy decisions should be supported by a high level evidence, ordinary classroom decisions can be based on less rigorous evidence.
Two studies from the world of materials writing provide important information about the practice of writing texts approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). Firstly, Clive Langham discusses the writing of textbooks at the high school level, providing a glimpse of the path that a text takes on its way through the writing process, including experiences in dealing with the MEXT screening committee and its requirements. Thomas Hardy then discusses junior high school texts, this time from the point of view of the stages and issues involved in designing such a text.
Martina Gunske von Kölln then discusses issues involved in teaching and learning Other Languages beyond English (OLE), which is distinct from English as a first foreign language. After mentioning some examples of ways to teach a second or subsequent foreign language like German in a Japanese university context and ways that English can cause unwanted interference in the acquisition of other languages, the author then mentions why it is worth learning foreign languages besides English.
Yo Hamada, Setsuko Oda, and Kazuya Kito then explore the possible relationship between classroom performance (as measured by two in-house tests) and avowed attitudes towards group dynamics (as measured by a 6-item questionnaire). They found a mild relationship (r = .22) between student performance and avowed attitudes.
Next Keiko Ikeda tells us something about how the use of "oh" in English and "ah" in Japanese differ. Based on an analysis of 20 oral proficiency interviews, the author argues against the habitual translation of "ah soo desu ka" in Japanese as "Is that so?" in English.
Takaaki Kumazawa then introduces a 25-item multiple-choice vocabulary test using a criterion-referenced, counterbalance pre-test/post-test design designed for two groups of Japanese university EFL students (n=87). The dependability indexes for these tests were low or moderate and evidence suggests there was a slight score gain after one semester of instruction, suggesting that most students mastered a modest amount of the target vocabulary.
The final three papers involve Rasch analysis. Gerry Lassche first cautions against relying too heavily on Rasch analyses to give "validity" to a test without sufficiently considering the theoretical assumptions behind each study. Discussing three of the presentations at some length, he concludes that care is needed lest users of the Rasch analysis become blinded by their own statistics. Next Christopher Weaver examined the possible influence of background knowledge on an EFL placement test. The results were interesting and surprisingly counter-intuitive: science majors did not perform better than non-science majors when dealing with scientific passages. Chris concludes with some possible future research questions that could be addressed using the same methods he employs. The third Rasch-related paper and final paper in this series by Yuji Nakamura describes an analysis of an in-house English placement test to stream incoming students at a university in Japan. Nakamura found that it was difficult to reliably and validly separate the students into more than two groups, but suggested ways to modify the test so that the desired separation into three groups could occur.
We'd like to offer special thanks to a number of persons who made the 2007 Pan-SIG Conference possible. Listed alphabetically, a big round of applause is due for these individuals who devoted so much time to making the 6th Annual Pan-SIG Conference a success: Andy Boon, Masahiko Goshi, Peter Gray, Tim Greer, Nicholas Gromik, Jeffrey Hubbell, Yuriko Kite, Yuka Onodera, Michiyo Matsuura, Anthony Robins, Rory Rosszell, Jim Smiley, and Peter John Wanner.

- Tim Newfields, Ian Gledall, Peter Wanner, & Megumi Kawate-Mierzejewska
2007 Conference Proceedings Co-editors
January 12th, 2008

2007 Pan SIG-Proceedings: Topic Index Author Index Page Index Title Index Main Index
Complete Pan SIG-Proceedings: Topic Index Author Index Page Index Title Index Main Index

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