Call for Contributions: New Ways in Teaching With Corpora

Deadline: 14 May 2017 (Sunday)

If you would like your submission to be considered for inclusion in this volume, you must carefully follow the guidelines below. Please submit your manuscript(s) by e-mail (subject line: New Ways in Teaching with Corpora) to the book editor, Dr. Vander Viana with a short biodata.

Scope and purpose

The main purpose of New Ways In Teaching With Corpora is to provide readers with straightforward suggestions on how to teach ESOL informed by, based on, or with corpora. The contributions to be included in this volume will provide its readership with clear, practical and tested teaching activities that may be implemented in the TESOL classroom. The final volume will showcase how corpora may be used:

  • directly (e.g. by introducing students to corpora and getting them to work with concordance lines) and indirectly (e.g. by using the findings of corpus analysis to inform the design of pedagogical activities);
  • in several teaching contexts (e.g. schools, language institutes, universities);
  • in activities which require access to computers and the Internet as well as in those which no technology is required;
  • in the teaching of English for different purposes (e.g. English for general purposes, English for specific purposes) and of different English varieties (e.g. American, British, Canadian);
  • in the development of diverse skills (e.g. reading, speaking) and levels of language (e.g. vocabulary, discourse);
  • by students of all ages (e.g. from children to seniors) and proficiency levels (from beginners to advanced ones);
  • in the improvement of (pre- or in-service) teachers language awareness.

Audience

The book is for TESOL practitioners who would like to learn more about the use of corpora in the classroom.The selection of chapters will be aimed at providing an array of activities to cater for the needs of these practitioners around the world.

Format

The New Ways series offers at-a-glance, simple lesson plans. All contributors should follow the format indicated below as closely as possible.

Length

700-900 words

Section parts

  • Title (In about 10 words, provide your readers with a punchy title which clearly indicates the focus of your contribution.)
  • Contributor’s name
  • Level(s) (Use labels such as ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ level.)
  • Skill(s) (Indicate whether the proposal is aimed at developing students’ writing, speaking, reading and/or listening skills.)
  • Level(s) of language (Identify the level(s) of language being dealt with in the activity – e.g. vocabulary, grammar, discourse, and pragmatics.)
  • Type of English class (Specify whether the activity is suitable for English for general purposes, English for specific purposes, English for (general/specific) academic purposes, etc.)
  • Aims (In a bullet-point list indicate the learning objectives of your proposed activity – e.g. develop cross-cultural communication skills, practice speaking skills, and improve students’ knowledge of lexicogrammar)
  • Class time (Indicate the overall amount of minutes needed for the activity to be implemented.)
  • Preparation time (Estimate how many minutes readers will need in order to prepare the activity prior to its implementation.)
  • Resources (List all the resources/materials needed for the implementation of the suggested activity.)
  • Background and rationale (Briefly introduce your proposal by, for instance, explaining key concepts, discussing the pedagogical relevance of the activity, and/or indicating which research findings it is based on.)
  • Procedure (In a numbered list, describe all the steps that the readers have to undertake in order to implement the suggested activity.)
  • Caveats and options (Use bullet points to indicate (i) how the activity can be adapted to different teaching and learning contexts, (ii) which follow-up activities may be proposed, (iii) which issues may be faced and how they may be overcome, and so on.)
  • References and further reading (List all the sources cited in your chapter. You may also include additional reading sources which you believe are relevant for readers to learn more about the topic discussed in your chapter. All references must be formatted according to the APA guidelines.)
  • Appendix (Include other materials – e.g. worksheets, sample concordance lines, authentic materials with copyright cleared – as appropriate and if needed. If you decide to include images in your contribution, please note that these need to be high-resolution ones – i.e. 300dpi.)

Acceptance process

Contributors should follow the format of the New Ways series as closely as possible and use APA for formatting and referencing. Submissions should be meticulously reviewed and checked for clarity and accuracy by the contributor before submitting. All submissions will be carefully vetted and given a final review. There will be no automatic acceptances.

Copyright

TESOL Press asks all contributors to assign their copyright to the association. The author(s) will be asked to sign a contract after their submission is accepted. Please do not submit work that has been previously published, is currently under consideration elsewhere, or already under contract, and do not submit work for which you wish to retain copyright. All contributors will be given a TESOL Press permissions form to use and are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use previously published material and for paying any associated fees.

Sample contribution

Title: A thicker understanding?  Collocational patterns in English for Academic Purposes writing

Contributor’s name: Vander Viana

Level(s): From upper intermediate level (B2) on

Skill(s): Writing

Level(s) of language: Vocabulary

Type of English class: English for (general) academic purposes

Aims

  • Raise students’ awareness of collocational patterns in English for Academic Purposes.
  • Improve students’ analytical skills.
  • Develop students’ ability to make appropriate word choices in academic writing.
  • Familiarize students’ with different search strings in the interface for the Contemporary Corpus of American English.

Class time: 15 minutes

Preparation time: Not applicable

Resources: Computer lab and Internet access

Background and rationale

University students are frequently evaluated through the medium of writing and are expected to follow academic writing conventions.  Writing in English for academic purposes requires these students to become familiarized with a range of expressions and collocational patterns.  The present task examines an unusual adjective-noun combination in the writing of a user of English as a foreign language and indicates how corpus exploration may be used to raise one’s awareness of appropriate adjectives to be used with the word ‘understanding’.

Procedure

  1. Pair students and ask them to identify an unusual occurrence of adjective + noun in the following sentence: “The planned data triangulation will strengthen the findings by providing a thicker understanding of the subject matter.”

     

  2. As a class, check that all pairs have identified “thicker understanding” as their analytical focus.

     

  3. Invite students to visit the Contemporary Corpus of American English (http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/).

     

  4. Instruct students to type “thick* understanding*” in the search string as shown in Figure 1.  [If the students are not familiarized with search strings in COCA, they might need to be told that the asterisk works as a wild card.  In this specific search, the interface will retrieve all instances of a sequence of two words where the first starts with ‘thick’ (e.g. ‘thick’, ‘thickness’, and ‘thicker’) and the second starts with ‘understanding’ (e.g. ‘understanding’ and ‘understandings’).]

     

    Figure_1                                                                                   Figure 1: Search string containing two words

  5. Under “Sections”, ask students to select “Academic” in the first box, that is, the one to the left (cf. Figure 2).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Figure_2                                                                                            Figure 2: Section selection                                                                                                                
  6. Ask students to click on “Find matching strings” (see Figure 1).

     

  7. Get students to report how many instances of the search string were found in the academic section of COCA (i.e. only 2) and to reflect on what these instances mean in a 520-million-word corpus.

     

  8. Ask students to click on “POS list” and select “adj.ALL” from the drop-down menu which will appear on the screen.  The code “_j*” will automatically be included in the search string.  This should be followed by the word “understanding*”, which needs to be typed by the students.

                                                                                                                                                                    Figure_3                                                                              Figure 3: Search string containing a part-of-speech tag and a word

  9. Check that the students understand that they are searching for all instances of a two-word sequence where the first is an adjective and the second starts with ‘understanding’.

     

  10. Ask students to study the list of two-word sequences carefully and to read some of the concordance lines for the results they found.

     

  11. Encourage students to rewrite the sentence in Step 1 by using a more natural adjective + noun combination to refer to the type of understanding alluded by the person who wrote the original sentence.

     

  12. Invite students to share their sentences with the class.

Caveats and options

  • The COCA interface is free of charge; however, after 10-15 searches, one is asked to register.  To be on the safe side (as technology can always go wrong), it might be best to ask students to complete their registrations prior to class.
  • The procedure described above assumes that students (i) are already familiarized with relevant concepts (e.g. corpus and concordance lines) and (ii) have a general understanding of COCA.  If this is not the case, it is useful to (i) explain the concepts briefly and (ii) introduce COCA and its composition in a few words.  It is important to remember that students are not studying Corpus Linguistics, but are using it to help them with language learning.  For this reason, time should not be wasted with unnecessary theoretical considerations and/or explanations.
  • If students need extra practice, they can repeat the steps described in “Procedures” with the British National Corpus (http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/).  The results will be similar to those found in COCA.
  • If this activity is conducted as part of an English for General Academic Purposes class to students of different fields, they can be asked to select “Chart” under “Display” (see Figure 3) and repeat the search described in Step 8.  Once they click on the word “Academic”, they will see a breakdown of where this sequence is most (i.e. Philosophy/Religion) and least (i.e. Medicine) used.  Clicking on any of the bars will show the concordance lines for that specific disciplinary grouping.
  • As a follow-up activity, students can be asked to search for a word starting with ‘thick’ which is followed by a noun (i.e. “thick* _nn*”) in the academic component of COCA.  They will see that the most frequent option is “thick description”.

References and further reading

Coxhead, A. (2010). What can corpora tell us about English for Academic Purposes? In A. O’Keeffe & M. McCarthy (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics (pp. 458-470). Abingdon: Routledge.

Jones, C. (1999). The student from overseas and the British university: Finding a way to succeed. In C. Jones, J. Turner, & B. Street (Eds.), Students writing in the university: Cultural and epistemological issues (pp. 37-60). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.