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Nick Ellis                                                                                                   

Usage-based Language Acquisition:

Implicit and Explicit Learning and their Interface

Friday, 7 pm

Nick Ellis is Professor of Psychology, Professor of Linguistics, and Research Scientist in the ELI at the University of Michigan. His research interests include first and second language acquisition, cognition, emergentism, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, applied linguistics, reading and spelling acquisition, and psycholinguistics. Relevant books include: Usage-based Approaches to Language Acquisition and Processing: Cognitive and Corpus Investigations of Construction Grammar (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, with Römer & O’Donnell), Agendas for Language Learning Research (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013, with Ortega & Cumming), Language as a Complex Adaptive System (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, with Larsen-Freeman), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2008, with Robinson), and Implicit and explicit learning of languages (Academic Press, 1994). He serves as General Editor of Language Learning.

 Deborah Crusan

The Myth of the 5-Paragraph Essay:

When Good Writing Isn’t

Saturday, 4 pm

The myth that good writing is represented on standardized tests in the form of the five-paragraph essay (5PE) is perpetuated in classrooms across the world. Students are consistently drilled in the formula in order to produce a piece of writing that their teachers believe is necessary to obtain a high score. It’s no wonder—teachers are regularly reminded that their very jobs, not to mention their reputations, hinge on their students’ ability to score well on uncountable standardized tests that have become a mainstay in the day-to-day lives of teachers and students. Even teachers who believe that there is no place for the 5PE in (or out of) their classrooms might feel an external push. Often for reasons of job security, they feel compelled to follow a script that excludes all but the 5PE. They wonder how to resist or, at the very least, how to teach the formula as only one of many ways to compose. In this keynote, we’ll explore the issues at play in the teaching of the 5-paragraph essay, why it persists, and best practices to get ourselves out of this mindset.

Deborah Crusan is professor of TESOL/Applied Linguistics at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, where she teaches introductory linguistics, assessment, and grammar in the MATESOL program, preparing teachers for the language classroom and writing assessment for the English graduate program, and sometimes an L2 writing section of the required composition course. 

Professor Crusan's work has appeared in academic publications including Across the DisciplinesAssessing WritingThe Companion to Language AssessmentThe Encyclopedia of Applied LinguisticsEnglish for Specific Purposes, International Journal of TESOL and Learning, Language TestingTESOL QuarterlyThe Norton Field Guide, and edited collections about second language writing. Her latest publication, "Standardized testing pressures and the temptation of the five-paragraph essay," co-authored with Todd Ruecker, was published in Changing Practices for the L2 Writing Classroom: Moving Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay (2019, Michigan). Her research interests include writing assessment, writing teacher education, directed self-placement and its consequences for L2 writers, and the politics of assessment. With Todd Ruecker, she recently published The politics of English second language writing assessment in global contexts (Routledge). Her earlier book, Assessment in the Second Language Writing Classroom, was published by University of Michigan. She served as an elected member of the Board of Directors of TESOL International Association, 2016-2019.

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