2021-2022 schedule

Upcoming talks:

Thursday, October 28th, 3:30-5:00 pm via Zoom: https://temple.zoom.us/j/94924776493

Professor Yuko Goto Butler, The University of Pennsylvania 

Title: Researching with children as an opportunity for active and interactive learning: Lessons from a digital game design project 


Despite the growing interest in research with children among researchers, a number of the methodological and ethical concerns in applied linguistics surrounding research with children have yet to be sufficiently addressed (Pinter, 2014). In this paper, using a task-designing project that I completed with Japanese children (Butler, 2021), I discuss both the opportunities and challenges experienced through this project. I focus on two major issues in child participatory research: (1) power relationships between children and adults (researchers and teachers); and (2) the complexity of representing children’s voices in research (Horgan, 2016).

In my project, I asked children working in groups to design computer game tasks to help them learn English vocabulary. The aim of the project was to better understand the elements that, from the children’s points of view, are both attractive and effective for foreign language learning. The participants were 82 sixth-grade students (ages 11-12) enrolled in a public primary school in Japan. The children first discussed and identified game elements (attractive elements) and vocabulary learning elements while examining existing games. Next, they worked in groups to design computer games based on the elements that they identified, presented the game designs in class using storyboards, and evaluated their own games design and those of their peers.

The merits of conducting research with children included maintaining their motivation, giving them opportunities to think about and discuss their own language learning, and allowing researchers to understand their own assumptions. However, a number of dilemmas were also identified. These included: how to resolve the power imbalances between adults and children and among the children themselves; how to conceptualize the role of reflection in research with children; and how to shed light on individual differences among children in participatory research.


Yuko Goto Butler is a Professor of Educational Linguistics at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Director of the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program at Penn. Her research primarily focuses on the improvement of second/foreign language education among young learners in the U.S. and Asia in response to the diverse needs of an increasingly globalizing world. She is also interested in identifying effective ways to use technology in instruction as well as in finding assessment methods that take into account the relevant linguistic and cultural contexts in which instruction takes place for young learners.


Wednesday, November 9th, 3:30-5:00 pm via Zoom: https://temple.zoom.us/j/3341947590

Professor John Levis, Iowa State University

Title: Technology and the future of pronunciation teaching


Pronunciation teaching, perhaps more than any other aspect of spoken language, has benefitted from the use of technology. Technology makes the ephemeral nature of speech permanent by making it possible to record and play targeted speech samples back. Technology also makes speech visible, allowing us to visualize the energy, duration, pitch levels, and harmonic formants of the phonetic and phonological features in spoken language. More generally, through voice recognition, technology can represent speech signals in written language. Furthermore, technology allows us to create new voices, synthesized speakers that can pronounce written text in a wide variety of accents or who can match the voice quality of an L2 speaker but with nativelike pronunciation. As technology develops, possibilities for developments in pronunciation teaching are almost limitless in scope. However, these uses of technology must be driven by research-based pedagogical goals rather than technological novelty. 

This talk evaluates key uses of technology for the teaching of pronunciation to develop a framework for innovative, research-based computer-assisted language learning materials for pronunciation teaching. Specifically, the talk first explicates pedagogical goals for the teaching of pronunciation that result in increased comprehensibility and intelligibility, then uses those criteria to evaluate how current technological tools (such as Automatic Speech Recognition) to help meet those goals. Second, the talk imagines new technologies to help address unmet goals, such as automatic diagnosis of pronunciation needs. Finally, the talk examines how technology can help one of the greatest needs in pronunciation teaching, that is, the training of pre-service and in-service language teachers. 


John Levis is a professor of Applied Linguistics and TESL at Iowa State University. He has published articles in many top journals, and is the author of Intelligibility, Oral Communication, and the Teaching of Pronunciation (Cambridge University Press)He initiated the Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference in 2009, has been the editor of most of its conference proceedings, and is founding and current editor of the Journal of Second Language Pronunciation. His primary interests are pronunciation teaching, suprasegmentals, and speech intelligibility. 


Tuesday, September 28th, 3:30-5:00 pm via Zoom: https://temple.zoom.us/my/dr.swavelyzoomroom

Valeri Harteg, Education Program Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania

Topic: Refugee Resettlement in Philadelphia: Examining Lived Experiences and Implications for Teaching and Learning 


In this talk, we will discuss various pathways that bring individuals and families to the US with a specific focus on the journeys of displaced people and refugee resettlement. In examining the experience of refugees who begin new lives in Philadelphia, we will consider their strength and resilience as well as the challenges they face when it comes to navigating unfamiliar and complex systems related to health care, housing, employment, and education. We will reflect on how this information can help inform our work as educators who seek to offer trauma-informed and culturally sensitive instruction in a safe learning space, whether virtual or in person. To do this, we will examine real-life scenarios from an Adult ESL class for newly arrived refugees and from a family’s experience enrolling their children in school. Finally, we will review additional learning resources on this topic and ways that you can advocate and show support for newcomers in Philadelphia.


Valeri Harteg is a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, and currently works as the Refugee Education Program Manager at HIAS Pennsylvania. She attended Franklin and Marshall College, where she studied psychology and took on several leadership roles in campus organizations, including a student-run human rights advocacy coalition. Valeri received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant that took her to Guatemala after graduating from college in 2011. In addition to developing her passion for teaching while living abroad, Valeri also furthered her interest in intercultural relations and human rights advocacy. Soon after returning to the US, she began an M.S.Ed. program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Temple University and was able to combine her love of teaching with her interest in supporting immigrant populations through her work as a volunteer ESL instructor for refugee English classes. At HIAS Pennsylvania, Valeri continues to teach English to new Americans in addition to coordinating two after-school programs for refugee youth in Northeast Philadelphia. She is deeply grateful that she can live out her passion for education while being a voice of welcome to refugees in Philadelphia.