Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reflections on AAAL 2011 Chicago--Sunday morning

On Sunday, I could not wake up early so the first presentation I attended was Kubota's.
Kubota, Ryuko (University of British Columbia,
Seeking refuge: Language learning as a means to escape
Language learning is linked to not only sociocultural or psychological perspectives but also symbolic meanings such as desires, emotions, and values. This qualitative research in Japan revealed how two Japanese women who experienced personal difficulties sought emotional refuge in language learning. Issues of popular culture, gender, and race are discussed.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 • 9:25 am - 9:55 am • Mayfair • LCS
This interesting presentation made me think about what English means to me. Is it a refuge for me too? In many ways yes it is and I have to admit I like my English identity better. Perhaps that's why I do not wish to come back to Turkey after I graduate. Considering the job opportunities in the US, I will probably end up in Turkey. Since I'm in Turkey now I feel like my English identity, which I invested in so much, meticulously built from scratch and carefully nourished, is fading. I'm worried that I might lose that identity forever. It's like a ghost limb to me right now. But anyway, this whole issue seems to be a candidate for another blog entry. Let me go back to the conference.

The nest presentation I attanded was Larsen-Freeman's lecture as the recipient of the AAAL Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award, Emancipation of the Language Learner. It was quite interesting to listen to the development of the field through the eyes of Larsen-Freeman though I have to say it was not so much about emancipation so maybe the title was not that appropriate for the presentation. I thought it was a good presentation though and I enjoyed being there with people I either knew in person or by their work. At the end of the presentation a person asked what the difference between the sociocognitive approach and complexity systems approach Larsen-Freeman advocates was, implying that these two approaches were too similar and thus we did not need them both.  I thought it was more like a comment rather than a question and that it was rather rude. But that's just me. I prefer to shut up if I do not have anything nice to say and if I want to give negative feedback then I prefer to do it in person not in front of a room of people. Anyway, as I said it's just me. To me the difference between the two approaches is quite clear but for people who are interested in the differences I recommend the book Alternative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition.
I think these were the only presentations I attended before lunch that day but I am not certain.

To be continued...

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