In early June, we were delighted to welcome Dr Chris Leyland and Dr Alina Schartner to the ALC team. Many of us know Chris and Alina from their previous associations with the Section (as students, for example). But for those of you know don’t know them, I asked the latest members of our team a couple of quick questions recently. Here are Chris’ responses…
So, what brings you to Newcastle? What work has led to you being appointed as Lecturer in Applied Linguistics here?
Newcastle is my hometown so I have long wanted to work at this University! But it was a long journey to get to this point. After four years of working in Japan I came back to Newcastle in 2009 and did an MA in Cross-Cultural Communication & International Relations. I had planned to return to my old life in Japan after graduating, but I enjoyed studying in ECLS so much I decided to do a PhD here. Whilst doing the PhD I worked part time in ECLS’ Cross-Cultural Communication and Applied Linguistics and TESOL MAs. I did all the marking, teaching and supervising I could! My doctoral studies focused on the JET Programme in Japan, and how Japanese teachers use English ‘native speaker’ teachers as a resource for English language learning in school staffrooms. My interest in Japan continued and shortly after finishing the PhD I moved to Kobe and became a JSPS postdoctoral research fellow, working with Professor Tim Greerat Kobe University. In my postdoc research, I examined lesson planning meetings between Japanese teachers and JET Programme teachers from countries such as Canada, Australia and the USA. I returned to the UK at the end of March 2015 and was appointed lecturer in June. It is great to be back!
What work are you doing in your first year here?
I am currently supervising a large number of MA CCC students in their final research project dissertations (Research File 3) and planning my teaching for the upcoming academic year. I will lead two modules on the MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL, entitled Language Learning and TESOL for Young Learners. I will also be teaching on CCC modules from time to time. I have several research projects from Japan that I am continuing to work and present on. I submitted a paper recently and will be presenting it at the large conversation analysis conference, IIEMCA, at the University of Southern Denmark. The paper, co-presented with Tim Greer, examines how, during lesson planning meetings, JET Programme teachers and Japanese teachers use classroom artifacts and embodied actions to ‘pre-enact’ how these objects may be used in class. Additionally, I will be presenting a paper at upcoming Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice Conference 2015 in the University of Milan. This paper looks at how JET Programme teachers and Japanese teachers use classroom artifacts that contain text, such as a book or a computer screen, as a means of furthering the talk. Finally, I am doing the final preparations on a paper co-written with researchers from Kobe University. This paper looks at group speaking exams for university students taking English language courses, and focuses on how an examiner can prompt further contributions from the students.
What are your future plans and aspirations?
I have recently joined a small working group with Alan Firth and Adam Brandt in our Section, and am very excited to be planning various future projects. For example, we are investigating the use of body language and gesture as tools to achieve and maintain understanding in second language interaction. The interactional organization of English language speaking tests with small groups of students is also an area I will focus on more in the near future. I am also really keen to analyse and understand more about the kinds of interactional encounters that international students regularly experience in Newcastle. But right now I am just really excited to meet all the new students in ECLS and make it a really good year!