Guest post: Joe Siegel, postgraduate researcher

Joseph Siegel has taught L2 English in Japan for several years at a variety of levels, and is currently Assistant Professor at J.F. Oberlin University, Tokyo, Japan. He is currently pursuing a distance PhD investigating L2 listening pedagogy.
In today’s post he reports on two conferences he attended this autumn:

It was an exciting Fall for me on the conference scene. I was happy to have my first opportunity to attend the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Conference at the University of Southampton in September. This was my first chance to attend a conference in the UK, and I was very impressed. It was great to be around like-minded colleagues from Europe and North America. And I was surprised to meet so many participants there from Japan! I also really relished the fact that the whole event was set up to make connections with other researchers (for example, all meals were served on campus, so there was plenty of time to meet informally and share ideas). I’m looking forward to BAAL 2013 in Edinburgh. Hopefully we can have a big contingent of Aston people there, too!

Then in October, back on home turf, I went to the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) annual conference. It was a great chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones as well. I’ve been to several JALT conferences over the years, and I was very pleased and impressed with the consistent quality of the presentations this time around. My primary research area is listening, and I presented some listening-related data from my Ph D course at Aston. I was also fortunate to meet a small group of other teacher-researchers interested in listening, and we’ve decided to form a small informal study group that will meet periodically in the future. We already have some ideas for group events like symposia and pair presentations on our listening studies. While at JALT, I also attended a presentation on strengthening qualitative research through “peer debriefing”, a technique similar to inter-rater checking. I plan to integrate this technique into my own Ph D thesis in order to (hopefully) enhance the credibility of my findings.

These two great Fall events renewed my enthusiasm for teaching this semester, provided me with new personal and professional connections, and gave me both practical teaching and research tips that I could immediately incorporate. Can’t wait for next Fall!

Joe Siegel was CLERA Researcher of the Month earlier this year. Click here to view his profile (follow the Archive link for August 2012).

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