Friday, November 9, 2012

Lecture by Ryuko Kubota on November 30

Foreign Language Education for Border-Crossing Communication: A Case of Japanese Expatriates in China

Ryuko Kubota, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia

Globalization has increased interaction among people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In global communication, English has been regarded as the international language par excellence indispensable in the neoliberal knowledge economy. This perception has promoted teaching and learning English for career advancement in many non-English-dominant countries like Japan. This trend, however, poses various paradoxes and contradictions. This talk will conceptually and empirically discuss how the neoliberal notion of acquiring English skills as part of human capital contradicts the multilingual reality in the global society and what communicative competencies might actually be required for transnational workers. Qualitative research conducted on Japanese transnational workers’ language use in the workplace revealed perceived importance of the ability to communicate not only in English but also in other languages as well as communicative dispositions, rather than English skills per se. Implications for language education and a neoliberal paradox will be discussed.

Friday, November 30, 2012
18:00 to 20:00
Collaboration Room 3
Fourth Floor, Building 18, Komaba Campus
The University of Tokyo
Cohosted by the Centre for Global Communication Strategies

Poster (PDF)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 4th KLA Presentation Meeting on Dec. 15

Dear All,

We are delighted to announce that the fourth meeting of Komaba
Language Association (KLA) will be held next month.

Date: December 15, Saturday, 2012
Time: 14:00-16:30
Location: 301 on the third floor of Building 10 (Note this is not the
same place as we had)

This time, we will be holding a workshop where four first-year
master's program students in the Department of Language and
Information Sciences will talk about some tentative plans of their
master's thesis projects, including motives of their studies,
conceptual frameworks, research designs, and methodological issues.

Below are the speakers, the language used in their sessions, and their
general topics (This is not the order of the presentations):

Kimie Yamamura (Japanese) Second language writing
Sayaka Meguro (Japanese) Teaching English to young learners
Masaaki Ogura (Japanese) Lexicography
Yusuke Kaimori (Japanese) Cognitive Linguistics (Cognitive
grammar/Construction grammar)

We are planning to have an end-of-year party (Bonennkai) after the
meeting on the day. Another message will be sent out to you on the party
We are hoping to see many people at the meeting and the party.

If you have any questions, please contact us at For further information, please see

Best regards,


Friday, September 28, 2012

Lecture by John O'Regan on October 20

English as a world language: some perspectives on teaching and learning in a globalized age

John O’Regan, Ph.D.
Institute of Education, University of London

Since the end of the Second World War the English language has developed into a global language of communication. In this talk Dr. John O’Regan of the Institute of Education, University of London, examines the development of English as an international language in an age of globalization. He considers some of the debates around the global dominance of English and how this affects perceptions of teaching and learning in the classroom. In an era of English as a lingua franca Dr. O’Regan welcomes the views of English language teachers and other interested persons regarding what English as a world language is and what kind of English should be taught in schools and universities.

Saturday, October 20, 2012
14:00 to 16:00
Collaboration Room 3
Fourth Floor, Building 18, Komaba Campus
The University of Tokyo

Open to the public. No reservations required.

Cohosted with the Centre for Global Communication Strategies

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lecture by Sandra McKay on October 8

Sandra McKay 教授公開講演会

Special Lecture by Prof. Sandra McKay
日時: 2012年10月8日(月・祭日) 14:00 - 16:00
Date and Time: Monday (National Holiday), October 8, 2012, 14:00 to 16:00
場所: 東京大学教養学部 駒場Iキャンパス
Place:   Collaboration Room 1, Fourth Floor
        Building 18, University of Tokyo Komaba I Campus

演題/Title: Globalization, Culture, and Language Education
        (使用言語:英語/Language: English)
講演者:  Dr. Sandra McKay  (サンフランシスコ州立大学名誉教授)
Speaker: Dr. Sandra McKay, Professor Emeritus San Francisco State University
Globalization is a much used and often loosely-defined term. This paper will begin by considering the various definitions of globalization and examine what these suggest for current language use and language teaching.  The author will argue that while English often serves as a lingua franca in the present-day globalized world, this is not always the case. However, when it is used as a lingua franca, it is typically used in cross-cultural exchanges in which cultural frameworks are complex and negotiable.
Given globalization and the complex linguistic landscape it generates, the author explores what this means for English teaching today.  What should be the cultural basis of English teaching?  What grammatical, pragmatic, and discourse norms should apply?  What should be the cultural basis of classroom materials and methodology?  These questions will be fully explored in the presentation. In closing, the presenter will argue that the goal of culture learning in English as an international language pedagogy should be to promote a sphere of interculturality (Kramsch, 1998) and an awareness of the hybridity of cultural identity today.

参加費: 無料, 事前申込不要
Free admission, no reservation necessary
共催: 科学研究費助成事業(基盤研究C12001418)「日本人にとっての英 語の資本性」
東京大学駒場言葉研究会 (KLA)
言語教育学・言語社会学研究会 (EASOLA)
Event jointly sponsored by
Grants-in-aid for Scientific Research 12001418 English as Capital for the Japanese
Komaba Language Association (KLA)
Education, Anthropology, and Sociology of Language (EASOLA)

問合せ: 東京大学 片山晶子  (研究室 03-5465-7614)
For further information, contact Akiko Katayama, University of Tokyo (03-5465-7614)

Prof. McKay Bio

Sandra McKay is Professor Emeritus of San Francisco State University. Her main areas of interest are sociolinguistics, English as an International Language, and second language pedagogy. For most of her career she has been involved in second language teacher education, both in the United States and abroad. She received four Fulbright grants, many U.S Department of State academic specialists awards and distinguished lecturer invitations.  Her books include Principles and Practices for Teaching English as an International Language (edited with L. Alsagoff, G. Hu & W. Renandya, 2012, Routledge), Sociolinguistics and Language Education (edited with N. Hornberger, 2010, Multlingual Matters), International English in its Sociolinguistic Contexts:  Towards a Socially Sensitive Pedagogy (with Wendy Bokhorst-Heng, 2008, Frances Taylor) and Teaching English as an International Language: Rethinking Goals and Approaches (2002, Oxford University Press, Winner of the Ben Warren International Book Award for outstanding teacher education materials).  Her articles appeared in such journals as the Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Harvard Educational Review, English Language Teaching, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Journal of Second Language Writing, System, TESOL Quarterly and World Englishes. She has published many chapters in edited books and given plenary talks at various international conferences, including the Asian International TEFL Conference in Korea, the Regional English Language Conference in Singapore and the EFL Asian Conference in Turkey.  She served as TESOL Quarterly editor from 1994 to 1999 and has served on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Second Language Writing and the TESOL Quarterly.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Paul Kei Matsuda 教授公開講演会


Paul Kei Matsuda 教授公開講演会

日時:2012年6月2日(土) 14:00 - 16:00
場所:東京大学教養学部 駒場Iキャンパス
内容:講演『Hasshin! Writing: Who Owns English Anyway?』
講演者:Dr. Paul Kei Matsuda (アリゾナ州立大学 教授)
参加費:無料, 事前申込:不要
問合せ:千葉大学 大井恭子 研究室 (043-290-2679)
E-mail: kyoko-oi <at mark>

Monday, January 9, 2012

What are good language learners?

This is one of the topics of inquiry that have historically caused a lot of controversy. I am sure all the readers of this blog are language learners, though your experiences somewhat differ from each other. And, since you have all engaged in the studies of language learning/teaching, what are the elements and components of being good language learners (GLL) more or less attracts you. That's why I wanted to pick this up this time on this blog.

Let me briefly summarize the historical background of GLL studies. Rubin, in her 1975 seminal work entitled "What the "good language learner" can tell us?" (TESOL Quarterly, 9(1), 41-51), tried to figure out some commonality in learning styles among successful L2 learners. This is generally seen as the origin of GLL studies. In light of this, many applied linguistics have dealt with this topic of inquiry from various kinds of approaches. One of the popular studies includes Rebecca Oxford's study where she conducted some questionnaire survey, aka Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL), and categorized two categories of learning strategies: 1) direct strategies (including memory, cognitive, and compensation strategies), and 2) indirect strategies (including metacognitive, affective, and social strategies). As another notable study of this kind, Pintrich & De Groot (1990) is often referred to. They administered some questionnaire survey to investigate the correlation between some components of successful language learners, such as self-efficacy, intrinsic value, test anxiety, self-regulation, and the use of learning strategies. Likewise, Dornyei, a hungarian applied linguist, proclaimed that motivation is one of the elements that determines the L2 learning success and thus provided a model of motivation specific to L2 learning, which is very different from Gardner & Lambert model based on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation dichotomy. Wenger (1998), from a more sociocultural-theory-oriented standpoint, explained that the community of practice (CoP), where you have 1) joint enterprise, 2) mutual engagement, and 3) shared repertoire, will help you gain identity and thus enhance your study. By the same token, many applied linguists from all over the world have tackled the issue of GLL from various kinds of approaches.

The studies I mentioned above were some examples of popular studies of this discipline. There must be many more works you might want to cite in addition to these. I am looking forward to reading your comments about this. And, after the millennium, there appears some slight paradigm shift on methodology of this discipline (or, it looks like it in my impression). That is, the shift from quantitative approaches to more qualitative-oriented ones. The above works have all relied on quantitative methods, except Wenger who provided some theories of learning. And, many applied linguists have gradually begun to problematize that statistic approaches can help you capture only partial aspects of the complex reality of learning. And thus, they called for some alternative methodological possibilities that will guide them to take a holistic perspective of analysis, aka qualitative approaches. (And, please keep in mind that this is basically based on my impression, though it might be true to many other applied linguists.) One of the noteworthy study with qualitative approaches to GLL was conducted by Ushioda (2001), where she found out the time-model of motivational shift through longitudinal ethnographic observation.

I personally want to pay attention to the study conducted by Prof. Yoshifumi Saito, 『英語達人列伝』(Eigo Tatsujin Retsuden, meaning "The legend of English Masters' in Japan"). This seminal work of his has figured out some commonality of English learning styles of Japanese famous English masters, such as Nitobe Inazo, Okakura Tenshin, and Saito Shuzaburo. Prof. Saito's work employed a literature-reveiw approach to find out how those intellectual giants had mastered English, and thus I will define this as more qualitative. Gary Barkhuizen, whom I have personally paid a lot of attention to, also dealt with this topic by employing a narrative inquiry to figure out how learners interpret their learning experiences. In sum, it has been about 40 years since people started to discuss what GLLs are, however, it has been still so demanded. And, there is still some more room to explore in this realm.

I personally think all of these approaches are pretty important and thus appreciable. However, we still need to expand this to include the learners' actual linguistic performance under some condition of contingency, such as business meeting, presentation, and negotiation. In this light, I am thinking about having a look at successful language learners by combining macro (through qualitative-based narrative approaches) and micro (through conversation analysis) perspectives. As a result, I want to find out some commonality of learning styles in relation to the use of communication strategies. That is, I am interested in seeing how the difference in learning style of successful language learners will lead them to use different communication strategies in their actual linguistic performance. Based upon this finding, I will guide readers to the notion of strategy-based language learning, which I talked a little bit about with you last time in KLA. My ultimate goal is to develop second language learning curriculum based on this research finding.

Thank you very much for reading these long paragraphs. This is my idea. What do you think? How do you define GLLs? How do you tackle this issue yourself? I would love to hear from any of you very soon!

Yoichi Sato