ALIS Newsletter - October 2015 (Plain Text Version)

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In this issue:
LEADERSHIP UPDATES
•  LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
•  LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
•  LETTER FROM THE INCOMING CHAIR
ARTICLES
•  A NEW ACADEMIC VOCABULARY LIST
•  PLAY AND COGNITION IN THE EAP CLASSROOM
•  LEARNING GRAMMAR BY EAR
•  MAKING HUMOR TEACHABLE: A FOCUS ON MICROSKILLS DEVELOPMENT
ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY
•  APPLIED LINGUISTICS INTEREST SECTION (ALIS)

 

LETTER FROM THE INCOMING CHAIR

Dear Applied Linguistics Interest Section members,

I am delighted to be writing to you in my role as chair-elect for our Applied Linguistics Interest Section. I have a long history of involvement with the interest section, starting in the 1990s when I was in graduate school and served as co-editor of the ALIS newsletter, and continuing through the time I served as the IS chair in 2004 and in the years that have followed. One of the things that I value most about the ALIS is the special role it plays in the international TESOL organization, as it brings together a diverse community of applied linguistics educators and researchers from around the world with a common interest in serving the TESOL field through the application of research. We bring expertise from a wide range of areas under the broad umbrella of applied linguistics, and the ALIS uniquely brings together researchers, graduate students, teacher trainers, and language teachers who share a commitment to useful applications of research to English language learning and teaching.

In way of introduction, let me say that I have taught English as a second and foreign language in a range of contexts, including college and workplace in Tokyo, ESL adult schools and adult basic education centers in Los Angeles, and ESL intensive institutes and universities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Bowling Green, Ohio. I have been on the faculty in the MA TESOL Program at San Francisco State University for more than 10 years and am currently coordinator of the MA TESOL Program. My interests include teacher training, functional grammar, discourse analysis, and the uses of technology in language learning.

I am very excited to announce the ALIS academic session that I am organizing for the 2016 convention: “Beyond Functions: Current Perspectives on Teaching and Learning Pragmatics.” This panel will present state-of-the-art research and pedagogy. As you probably know, pragmatics is the study of how people use and understand language as social action, including issues of politeness, making and responding to requests and invitations, and the full range of social actions we carry out through language, cross-cultural differences, the acquisition of pragmatic competence, and effective ways of teaching pragmatics. This panel will include Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig (contributor to our ALIS February issue), who has done extensive research on the use, teaching, and learning of pragmatics in EFL and ESL contexts; Noriko Ishihara, who has researched pragmatics and the assessment of pragmatics in EFL contexts and coauthored an excellent textbook for language teachers, Teaching and Learning Pragmatics; and Noel Houck and Donna Tatsuki, who have done research on pragmatics and teaching pragmatics, and who co-edited two TESOL Press teacher resources books on pragmatics, Pragmatics: Teaching Speech Acts, and Pragmatics: Teaching Natural Conversation. This promises to be an enlightening and informative session that will raise important questions for research and language education and will provide a wealth of resources for language educators.

I look forward to meeting you in Baltimore at the ALIS Business Meeting, and I hope you will be able to attend the academic session.

David Olsher