How learners are using corpora in EMI contexts

This talk was part of Cambridge University Press ELS Insights in Demand.

You can download my presentation slides here.

Here´s a list of the references I used in this presentation:

Biber, D. (2019). Text-linguistic approaches to register variation. Register Studies, 1(1), 42-75.

Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (2009). Register, genre, and style. Cambridge University Press.

Brian, A. (2020). A case study of corpus-informed ESP language learning materials for EMI psychology students at the University of Padova.

Curry, N. & Pérez-Paredes, P. (2021). Understanding Lecturers’ Practices and Processes: A Qualitative Investigation of English-Medium Education in a Spanish Multilingual University, published in Teaching Language and Content in Multicultural and Multilingual Classrooms, editedby Carrió-Pastor, M.L., & Bellés Fortuño, B. Palgrave MacMillan.

Dafouz, E., & Smit, U. (2016). Towards a dynamic conceptual framework for English-mediumeducation in multilingual university settings. Applied Linguistics, 37(3), 397-415.

Dafouz, E., & Smit, U. (2020). ROAD-MAPPING English medium education in the internationaliseduniversity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dushku, S. & Thompson, P. (2020). CAMPUS TALK. Edinburgh University Press.

Jablonkai, R. R. (2019). Corpus linguistic methods in EMI research: A missed opportunity?In Research methods in EMI. Routledge.

Kırkgöz, Y., & Dikilitaş, K. (2018). Recent developments in ESP/EAP/EMI contexts. In Key issues in English for specific purposes in higher education (pp. 1-10). Springer, Cham.

Kunioshi, N., Noguchi, J., Tojo, K., & Hayashi, H. (2016). Supporting English-medium pedagogythrough an online corpus of science and engineering lectures. European Journal of EngineeringEducation41(3), 293-303.

O’keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Street, B. (2004). Academic literacies and the’new orders’: implications for research and practice in student writing in higher education. Learning & Teaching in the Social Sciences1(1).

Timmis, I. (2015). Corpus linguistics for ELT: Research and practice. Routledge.

There are infinite ways of using language

Epistemological relativity, for an ELT professional, means that one accepts
that there are infinite ways of using language and that differences do not
automatically call for judgmental evaluation. (Leung, 2005: p. 138)

Leung, C. (2005). Convivial communication: Recontextualizing communicative competence. International Journal of Applied Linguistics15(2), 119-144.

Check other quotations here.

Some reflections at the crossroads of corpus linguistics research and L2 learning

Programa de Doctorado Interuniversitario en Estudios Ingleses Avanzados: Lingüística, Literatura y Cultura (IDAES) – IDAES Graduate Day

References

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018). Research methods in education. Routledge.

Dornyei, Z. (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. OUP.

Hunston, S. (2019). Patterns, constructions, and applied linguistics. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics24(3), 324-353.

Loewen, S., & Plonsky, L. (2015). An A–Z of applied linguistics research methods. Macmillan.

Lukenchuk, A. (Ed.) (2013). Paradigms of research for the 21st century: Perspectives and examples from practice. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

McEnery, T., Brezina, V., Gablasova, D., & Banerjee, J. (2019). Corpus linguistics, learner corpora, and SLA: Employing technology to analyze language use. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics39, 74-92.

Mitchell, R., Myles, F. & Marsden, E. (2013). Second Language Learning Theories. 3rd ed. New York/London: Routledge.

Rose, H. & McKinley, J. (2017). The realities of doing research in applied linguistics. In McKinley, J & Rose, H. (eds.) Doing Research in Applied Linguistics. Routledge.

Stefanowitsch, A. (2020). Corpus linguistics. Language Science Press. Online edition.

Tyler, A. E., Ortega, L., Uno, M., & Park, H. I. (Eds.). (2018). Usage-inspired L2 instruction: Researched pedagogy (Vol. 49). John Benjamins.

Incorporating corpora in teaching symposium, Mittuniversitetet, Sweden

Check out the programme here.

Rethinking learning in DDL

Plenary abstract

It´s 11 years now that Johansson´s (2009:41) claimed that more systematic studies are needed in order to test the benefits of DDL and to discuss ‘students’ problems with corpus investigation’. The meta-analyses carried out by Boulton & Cobb (2017) and Lee, Warschauer & Lee (2018) have cast robust results on the benefits of DDL.  Boulton & Cobb found average effect sizes of 1.50 for pre/posttest designs and 0.95 for control/experimental designs. Lee, Warschauer & Lee (2018) have reported a medium-sized effect of corpus use on vocabulary learning. Overall, these are medium or large effect sizes that support the use of DDL for language learning. The second claim presents researchers with different angles to exploit, and can possibly be studied using different approaches and foci. Chambers (2005:111) called for further research that looks at ‘the integration of corpora and concordancing in the language-learning environment’, and Pérez-Paredes et al,. (2012:499-500) noted that few studies have examined the interaction of learners with corpora and, as an extension, how learning happens. This study problematized the role of learners as researchers as it was found that only a small percentage of the searches either were effective or showed the minimum levels of sophistication needed to carry out the task at hand.

DDL research has paid considerable attention to measuring the outcomes of learning, but perhaps not so much to what learning and how learning takes place. Lee, Warschauer & Lee (2018) noted that using ‘pre-selected, comprehensible concordance lines appears more effective in supporting their corpus-based activities’ and so does learner-friendly concordancer software specifically designed for L2 learning’, something that had been pointed out in Pérez-Paredes, (2010). An emphasis on technology and tools is manifest. In this talk I will examine one of those angles that need further attention: learning. I will draw on the systematic review of the uses and spread of data-driven learning (DDL) and corpora in language learning and teaching across five major CALL-related journals during the 2011–2015 period in Pérez-Paredes (2019). This review examined 32 research papers published in high rank CALL journals and concluded that the normalization (Bax, 2003) of corpus use in language education has only taken place in a limited number of contexts, mostly in Higher Education, where language teachers and DDL researchers subsume overlapping roles. This finding echoes Boulton´s (2017) call to widen the scope of our research to a more comprehensive spectrum of learning contexts. I will outline a taxonomy of language learning focus, learners´ abilities and processes advocated in the body of research examined that can enhance our understanding of the role played by learning in future data-driven language learning theory or theories.

This talk seeks to contribute to previous work that has tried to bridge the gap between research and practice (Chambers, 2019). I will argue that DDL researchers need to move away from a technology-oriented DDL (Godwin-Jones, 2017) and pursue efforts that widen our understanding of the contributions of DDL to SLA, the contributions of SLA to DDL, and the in-depth analysis of the role of DDL in the broader language learning context, including the use of cognitive strategies (Lee, Warschauer & Lee, 2020).

Body of research examined

Pérez-Paredes, P. (2019). A systematic review of the uses and spread of corpora and data-driven learning in CALL research during 2011–2015. Computer Assisted Language Learning.

Learning targets identified (id provided) see file.

Form awareness, morphology, error awareness, register awareness
12
13
21
22
26
28
34
35
36
37

Clause patterns / patterns
7
15
30

Writing
10
12
31

Collocations
1
11
13

Concordancing
6
8
11

Dictionary skills
9
25

Corpus use
2
32

Linking adverbials
17
29

Paralell concordances 3

Compilation of a corpus 4

Searching frequency 5

Reading 13

Vocabulary acquisition 14

Idioms 18

Authorial stance 23

Abstract nouns 27

Passives 28

POS 30

A taxonomy of language learning targets

An agenda for a learning-driven DDL

Long quote 1: researching noticing

From Gutiérrez, A., Leder, G. C., & Boero, P. (2016). The Second Handbook of Research on the Psychology of Mathematics Education : The Journey Continues. Brill | Sense.

Noticing and Representing Pattern Structure

Pattern activities have been considered to be one of the main ways for introducing students to algebra (e.g., Ainley, Wilson, & Bills, 2003; Mason, 1996). From this perspective, algebra is about generalizing (Radford, 2006). Previous research has evidenced that visual approaches generated in tasks involving the generalization of geometric figures and numeric sequences can provide strong support for the development of algebraic expressions, variables, and the conceptual framework for functions (Healy & Hoyles, 1999). However, not all activities lead to algebraic thinking. For example, placing the emphasis on the construction of tables of values from pattern sequences can result in the development of closed-form formulas, formulas that students cannot relate to the actual physical situation from which the pattern and tables of values have been generated (e.g., Amit & Neria, 2008; Hino, 2011; Warren, 2005). This impacts on students’ ability to identify the range of equivalent expressions that can be represented by the physical situation.The patterns utilised in the 2005–2015 research encompassed both linear and quadratic functions that were represented as a string of visual figures or numbers. The activities students engaged in involved searching for the relationship between the discernable related units of the pattern (commonly called terms), and the terms’ position in the pattern. These reflect the types of activities predominantly used in current curricula to introduce young adolescent students to the notion of a variable and equivalence.

Students noticing and representing the pattern structure.

Fundamental to patterning activities is the search for mathematical regularities and structures. In this search, Rivera (2013) suggests that students are required to coordinate two abilities, their perceptual ability and their symbolic inferential ability. This coordination involves firstly noticing the commonalities in some given terms, and secondly forming a general concept by noticing the commonality to all terms (Radford, 2006; Rivera, 2013). Finally, students are required to construct and justify their inferred algebraic structure that explains a replicable regularity that could be conveyed as a formula (Rivera, 2013). At this stage the focus is no longer on the terms themselves but rather on the relations across and among them (Kaput, 1995).

Difficulties students experience in noticing pattern structure.

Emerging from the findings of this current research is that while young students are capable of noticing pattern structure and engaging in pattern generalization, they exhibit many of the difficulties found in past research with older students. As revealed in the findings of this research: young students have difficulties moving from one representational system to another such as from the figures themselves to an algebraic form that conveys the relationships between the figures (Becker & Rivera, 2007); students tend to be answer driven as they search for pattern structure (Ma, 2007); they engage in single variational thinking or recursive thinking (Becker & Rivera, 2008; Warren, 2005); they fail to understand algebraic formula (Warren, 2006; Radford, 2006); and, they have difficulties expressing the structure in everyday language (Warren, 2005). In addition, initial representations of the pattern (e.g., pictorial, verbal and symbolic) can influence students’ performance. This is particularly evident as 139 10 and 11 year-old students explored more complex patterns (Stalo, Elia, Gagatsis, Teoklitou, & Savva, 2006), with pictorial representations of patterns proving easier for students to predict terms in further positions and articulate the generalization

Capabilities that assist students to notice structure.

Adding to the research is a delineation of the types of capabilities that assist young students to reach generalizations. The ability to see the invariant relationship between the figural cues is paramount to success (Becker & Rivera, 2006; Stalo et al., 2006). The development of specific language that assists students to describe the pattern (e.g., position, ordinal language, rows) (Warren, Miller, & Cooper, 2011; Warren, 2006) and fluency with using variables (Becker & Rivera, 2006) help students to express and justify their generalization. In addition, Becker and Rivera (2006) found that students who had facility with both figural ability and variable fluency were more capable of noticing the structure, and developing and justifying generalizations. By contrast, students who fail to generalize tend to begin with numerical strategies (e.g., guess and check) as they search for generalizations and lack the flexibility to try other approaches (Becker & Rivera, 2005). This has implications for the types of instructional practices that occur in classroom contexts. It is suggested that instruction that includes verbal, figural and numerical representations of patterns, and emphasises the connections among these representations assists students to reach generalizations (Becker & Rivera, 2006). An ability to think multiplicatively has also been shown to assist students generalize figural representations of linear patterns (Rivera, 2013).

Theories pertaining to noticing structure and reaching generalisations.

Results from Radford’s longitudinal study of 120 8th grade (typically 13–14 year-olds) students over a three year period delineated three types of generalization that emerged from the exploration of figural pattern tasks: factual; contextual; and symbolic (Radford, 2006). The first structural layer is factual: ‘it does not go beyond particular figures, like Figure 1000’. The generalization remains bound at the numerical level. Expressing a generalization as factual does not necessary mean that that is the extent of student’s capability. It may simply be that this level can answer the question posed by others or the context in which algebra is needed (Lozano, 2008). The second layer is contextual; ‘they are contextual in that they refer to contextual embodied objects’ and use language such as the figure and the next figure. Finally, symbolic generalization involves expressing a generalization through alphanumeric symbols. The suggested criteria that can be used to assist teachers to distinguish these levels of early algebraic reasoning are: the presence of entities which have the character of generality; the type of language used; and, the treatment that is applied to these objects based on the application of structural properties (Aké, Godino, Gonzato, & Wilhelmi, 2013). The latter refers to how students express this generality. Aké et al. (2013) suggest that algebraic practice involves two crucial aspects, namely, being able to use literal symbols as a general expression and relate this expression to the visual context from which it is derived. In addition, with growing patterns gesturing between the variables (e.g., pattern term, pattern quantity) in conjunction with having iconic signs to represent both variables (e.g., counters for pattern term and cards for pattern quantity) helped 7–9 year old Indigenous students to identify the pattern structure (Miller & Warren, 2015)

Some references

Boulton, A. (2017). Corpora in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 50(4), 483-506.

Boulton, A., & Cobb, T. (2017). Corpus Use in Language Learning: A Meta‐Analysis. Language Learning, 67(2), 348-393.

Chambers, A. (2005). Integrating corpus consultation in language studies. Language Learning & Technology 9(2): 111–125.

Chambers, A. (2019). Towards the corpus revolution? Bridging the research–practice gap. Language Teaching, 52(4), 460-475.

Crossley, S., Kyle, K., and Salsbury, T. 2016. A Usage‐Based Investigation of L2 Lexical Acquisition: The Role of Input and Output. Modern Language Journal 100.3, 702-15.

Flowerdew, L. (2009). Applying corpus linguistics to pedagogy: A critical evaluation. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics14(3), 393-417.

Gillespie, J. (2020). CALL research: Where are we now? ReCALL, 32(2), 127-144. doi:10.1017/S0958344020000051

Godwin-Jones, R. (2017). Data-informed language learning. Language Learning & Technology, 21(3), 9–27.

Gutiérrez, A., Leder, G. C., & Boero, P. (2016). The Second Handbook of Research on the Psychology of Mathematics Education : The Journey Continues. Brill :Sense

Johansson, S. (2009). Some thoughts on corpora and second-language acquisition. In Aijmer, K. (Ed.). Corpora and language teaching. John Benjamins Publishing, 33-44.

Lee, H., Warschauer, M., & Lee, J. H. (2018). The Effects of Corpus Use on Second Language Vocabulary Learning: A Multilevel Meta-analysis. Applied Linguistics.

Lee, H., Warschauer, M., & Lee, J. H. (2020). Toward the Establishment of a Data‐Driven Learning Model: Role of Learner Factors in Corpus‐Based Second Language Vocabulary Learning. The Modern Language Journal.

Leung, C., & Scarino, A. (2016). Reconceptualizing the nature of goals and outcomes in language/s education. The Modern Language Journal100(S1), 81-95.

Long, M. H. (1991). Focus on form: A design feature in language teaching methodology. Foreign language research in cross-cultural perspective2(1), 39-52.

Ortega, L. (2014). Ways forward for a bi/multilingual turn in SLA. In S. May (Ed.), The multilingual turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education (pp. 32-53). New York: Routledge.

Pérez-Paredes, P. (2010). Corpus linguistics and language education in perspective: Appropriation and the possibilities scenario. In Harris, T., & Jaén, M. M. (Eds.). Corpus linguistics in language teaching. Peter Lang, 53-73.

Pérez-Paredes, Pascual, María Sánchez-Tornel, Jose María Alcaraz Calero, and Pilar Aguado Jiménez. (2011). Tracking Learners’ Actual Uses of Corpora: Guided vs Non-guided Corpus Consultation. Computer Assisted Language Learning 24.3, 233-53.

Perez-Paredes, P. eta al. (2012). Learners Search Patterns during Corpus-based Focus-on-form Activities: A Study on Hands-on Concordancing. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 17.4, 482-515.

Pérez-Paredes, P. (2019). A systematic review of the uses and spread of corpora and data-driven learning in CALL research during 2011–2015. Computer Assisted Language Learning.

Pérez-Paredes, P., Sánchez-Tornel, M. and Alcaraz Calero, J.M.  (2012) Learners’ search patterns during corpus-based focus-on-form activities. A study on hands-on concordancing. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 17:4, 482–515.

Interpreting Effect Sizes in L2 Research

Plonsky, L. and Oswald, F.L. (2014), How Big Is “Big”? Interpreting Effect Sizes in L2 Research. Language Learning, 64: 878-912. doi:10.1111/lang.12079

Abstract

The calculation and use of effect sizes—such as for mean differences and for correlations—has increased dramatically in second language (L2) research in the last decade. Interpretations of these effects, however, have been rare and, when present, have largely defaulted to Cohen’s levels of small (= .2, = .1), medium (.5, .3), and large (.8, .5), which were never intended as prescriptions but rather as a general guide. As Cohen himself and many others have argued, effect sizes are best understood when interpreted within a particular discipline or domain. This article seeks to promote more informed and field‐specific interpretations of and by presenting a description of L2 effects from 346 primary studies and 91 meta‐analyses (> 604,000). Results reveal that Cohen’s benchmarks generally underestimate the effects obtained in L2 research. Based on our analysis, we propose a field‐specific scale for interpreting effect sizes, and we outline eight key considerations for gauging relative magnitude and practical significance in primary and secondary studies, such as theoretical maturity in the domain, the degree of experimental manipulation, and the presence of publication bias.

URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/lang.12079