Sunday, November 03, 2013

taking the plunge

One thing I like about our department is that a good deal of emphasis is placed on professional development. I attended one "mini-conference" last month, in which three colleagues gave half-hour presentations. It was a very interesting way to spend two hours, but in the end, we all concluded that thirty minutes simply wasn't enough time in which to lay everything out. This month, we've got another mini-conference scheduled, and this time around, there will be only two presentations, each lasting 45 minutes. I've thrown my hat in the ring, God help me, and have responded to the call for abstracts by sending the conference coordinator the following blurb:

Kevin Kim

Effectiveness of the Round-robin Method in an EFL Context

Nearly four decades ago, Stephen Krashen put forth his influential Affective Filter Hypothesis, which posited the existence of an "affective filter," i.e., an emotional screen, in every student's psyche that could either facilitate or hamper in-class language learning. Simply put, a high degree of stress or anxiety (high affective filter) could negatively affect language learning, whereas a high degree of comfort and relaxation (low affective filter) could make learning easier—no matter the age group in question. The thesis of this presentation is that self-confidence is a major component in lowering the affective filter, and that self-confidence can be built by putting the students in positions of responsibility. Making the students responsible for their own learning, as would happen in most graduate-school seminars in North Atlantic culture, gives them the self-assurance to perform well in an EFL setting. To that end, discussion will focus on a "round-robin" teaching method that entails having students (1) prep lessons and (2) teach each other English in constantly shifting pairs of teams over several rounds, while the teacher's role is relegated to that of facilitator, guide (e.g., for modeling pronunciation), and perhaps referee. Other topics include a delineation of the round-robin method as well as a frank summary of the method's successes and failures. It will be argued that the round-robin method has generally been consistent with the emphasis, in current pedagogical praxis, on student-centered, task-oriented approaches to language teaching. Finally, potential objections to the method will be anticipated and addressed.

I present on November 20. The nice thing about these mini-conferences is that I get to share my ideas without having to write a full-length paper. The abstract, and my accompanying PowerPoint slide show, will be enough.

In the meantime, I'd been racking my brains in search of a better name than "round-robin method," but I couldn't come up with anything clever. If you think you have a good name to offer me, leave it in the comments, but first, please read up on the round-robin method so that you know what you're talking about.


1 comment:

Charles said...

At first I was thinking that 30 minutes is actually a good amount of time for a presentation--I haven't been to a conference in years that gave me more than 20 minutes to present--but then I realized that this is different, since you're not presenting on an existing paper but have to cover everything from scratch.

Also, what's wrong with "round-robin method"? I think it describes the method very well.