AILA 2008 Research Symposium

posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany

The 15th World Congress of Applied Linguistics will be held in Essen, Germany from August 24 to 29, 2008. The conference theme is “Multilingualism: Challenges and Opportunities.” The congress is organised by the German Association of Applied Linguistics (GAL e.V.), the University of Duisburg-Essen, Congress Centre Essen (CCE), and further partners.

On behalf of the German Society for Foreign Language Research (DGFF), Prof. Dr. Karin Aguado (University of Kassel, Germany) and I will be co-chairing a full three-hour research symposium which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26, 16:00-19:00.

The symposium is intended as a forum for dissemination and discussion of current empirical research on foreign/second language learning and teaching in Germany. Its main objective is to present the breadth and diversity of large-scale, medium-scale and small-scale quantitative and qualitative research in this area to an international audience of experts.

The symposium will have three main sessions. Each session will be scheduled for a one-hour time slot. The individual sessions will be facilitated by renowned scholars as well as early career researchers and devoted to the following issues (arranged in the following order):

Current Research on Teaching and Learning Foreign/Second Languages in Germany

Session 1
Prof. Dr. Günter M.J. Nold (University of Dortmund, Germany) (60 minutes)

Sociopragmatic and grammatical awareness – findings from the DESI project

DESI (German-English-Student-Assessment-International), a large-scale assessment study commissioned by the German federal board of education, was designed and implemented by an interdisciplinary consortium of applied linguists and educational researchers. Two of the tests in the test battery that was developed were sociopragmatic and grammatical awareness tests (N=11.000; ninth grade students). The empirical results of these tests will be discussed both with an emphasis on theories of language awareness raising and on questions related to theories of second language acquisition in the fields of sociopragmatic and grammatical development.

Session 2
Prof. Dr. Marita Schocker-von Ditfurth (Freiburg University of Education, Germany) / Prof. Dr. Michael K. Legutke (University of Giessen, Germany) (60 minutes)

Task-based language learning in EFL classrooms

Research on task-based language learning has been running strong for 20 years now, but has been dominated by a psycholinguistic research paradigm for a long time. While some of these research findings have been important in terms of learning about the mental processes involved in second language acquisition, they were largely focused on isolated tasks of individual, usually adult learners, and therefore did not take into account the complexity of the contextual factors that influence learning in the foreign language classroom. The presentation focuses on the complex issues that arise when researching the methodological implementation of a task-based approach on the classroom level as well as on the level of teacher education.

Session 3
Prof. Dr. Grit Mehlhorn (University of Leipzig, Germany) (30 minutes)

Learning a foreign pronunciation – evidence from individual pronunciation coaching

Individual learner coaching focusing on pronunciation can reveal interesting insights in individual language acquisition processes. This talk reports the results of a longitudinal study with foreign students at a German university. It will be shown that the following factors influence the learner’s progress: first, an individual diagnosis of the deviations in the target pronunciation; second, an increase of the learner’s consciousness with respect to the foreign pronunciation and the choice of individual learning strategies; and third, permanent feedback on learning progress. These factors lead to an increased self-reflection on the part of the learners regarding their learning process, language awareness, and they also serve to foster learner autonomy.

Sevilen Demirkaya M.A. & Nazan Gültekin M.A. (University of Bielefeld, Germany) (30 minutes)

MIKI – Research of the pre-school language support program for ethnic minority children in Bielefeld, Germany

Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, this project focuses on examining the second language development of ethnic minority children who participate in a support program at the pre-school level.



One response to “AILA 2008 Research Symposium

  1. Good luck for your conference! I hope you can share a lot of productive discussions with participants. :)

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